Budget cuts hit extra-curricular programs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Budget cuts hit extra-curricular programs

August 19, 2003

 Albany- Friday night football wouldn't be the same without high school bands. And Albany High School Drum Major SabrinaHardy knows it.

"We're like the biggest cheerleading section there is at a football game," Hardy said after practice Tuesday.

Band supporters say a football game without the band just wouldn't work.

 "We just got a touchdown, where's our fight song," said Michael Hardy, Sabrina's brother and a band booster. "Some of these kids would be like, a football game with not band. It's just a boring experience."

The reality is that many school programs are feeling the money crunch of the Dougherty County School System. Tuesday, a decision to cut costs by not sending bands to non-region football games was changed. Now the principal and band director will decide when the band will go.

Bands will also be limited to four trips this year for competitions. Any other trips will have to be paid for by band boosters.

 "I guess people don't think it's as important as football, basketball, cheerleading," Hardy said. "But those of us who do it, we think it's really, really important."

 But administrators say hard decisions have to be made in hard times.

"We have to cut across the board here to try to make things work for the taxpayer in Dougherty County," said Ted Horton, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

They do know the importance of all fine arts programs.

 "It's not easy to be a band student and march out there in the afternoon in the hot sun," Horton said.

 And they know how hard these students work.

"It would be so easy for us to go home after school, but we give it our all and do everything we can to make it great and they cut our funding," said Amanda Meadows, a flute player in the band.

Band programs are getting less money from the system than they did last year. And they'll have to work even harder on even more fundraisers.

"We work just as hard as any sporting team out there," Hardy said.

And they prove it, with superior scores in competitions everywhere they take their superior talent.

posted at 11 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com