Parents hold fundraiser to save music programs

May 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
This is hardly the first time Californians have had to do more with less. School districts have been cutting jobs and programs for years, forcing parents of those students to take measures into their own hands. They have fundraising down to a fine science in Redwood City schools.

Among the world's classical standards, none gets played more often than Pachelbel's Canon. Learn it well and you can probably work every Saturday for the rest of your life, as 13-year-old Ronnie Anderson is already well aware. Anderson already knows she could play at weddings.

She and Alana Puerto will have that option because they still receive music training at Redwood City's public schools, but one look around at Friday night's event, would show that they don't take the program for granted.

"We don't have enough tax revenue," said parent Terry Jacobs.

Hence the spaghetti dinner and the auction, since this is another district with music on the chopping block. The budget shortfall is $315,000 for music programs in 17 different schools. The parents figure that if the state won't give them the money or the district, they'll raise it themselves.

"It's called "Pay To Play" and it's up to parents to start paying what the state is not providing," said fundraising chair Georgia Solkov Jack.

Grassroots fundraisers have become quite common around the state. They pay for everything from books, to P.E., to the arts. When a kid like Anderson aspires to play in, say, the Stanford Band, you encourage it.

"You get to wear a bunch of different costumes and pound on a drum and stuff," said Anderson.

On Friday night, she got a good look at them up close. The Stanford Band came to their fundraiser, partly for their own survival. They figure that if kids don't learn music in elementary, middle, and high schools, then who's going to play at football games?

"We need kids for bands like ours. If we don't get them, we won't be around. It will be the end of band," says Stanford drummer Edward Beaux.

Or it could be the end of popcorn classics played live at heartfelt nuptials.


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