Aid boost lets Mayfield district bring back art, music

Monday, April 1, 2013
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— A small boost in state education aid will allow the Mayfield School District to bring professional art and music instruction back to the district’s youngest students.

The district’s Board of Education approved a $16.76 million budget figure for the 2013-14 school year on March 29.

The board will be refining numbers and developing the tax levy and tax rates this month, officials said.

Preliminary estimates of $8.774 million in education aid for Mayfield in the newly approved state budget reflects an increase of just over $279,000 compared to current funding.

That boost, in part, will allow the district serving about 1,000 students to reverse the trend that’s seen 31 lost positions over the past three years.

Among the losses were part-time music and art teachers for kindergarten through second grade, a move that irked parents, Superintendent Paul Williamsen said.

“It wasn’t a popular move,” Williamsen said.

“They wanted that program for our kids, and so did we. It came down to what went was things that are not mandated. Now we’re at a point where we can start bringing back some programming,” he said.

Young students weren’t completely without art and music instruction — the elementary teachers themselves took on the responsibility, Board of Education president Ernest Clapper said.

“They’re good people doing a lot of good things, but the problem is how many things can they do,” Clapper said.

“We’ve really kind of trimmed back our program and that was grudgingly because our school board really wants to provide these programs for our kids,” Clapper said.

More sturdy finances will also allow the district to bring back junior varsity sports and an additional pre-kindergarten section to open up this coming school year.

Clapper said enrollment for Pre-K was steady during the prior few years but there were too few slots to accommodate growing registrations for the 2013-14 year.

Without the additional section, the pre-K would only be available through a lottery system, leaving one-third of eligible students out.

“We are in a better position now than we were a year ago and we’re thankful for that,” Clapper said.

The Mayfield Board of Education will meet again on April 16.

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