The Day The Music Died: LA School Protests Budget Cuts

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Dozens of students and teachers made a lot of noise outside a local middle school on Thursday to protest against budget cuts that could silence its musicians.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports as many as seven teachers could lose their jobs at Florence Nightingale Middle School, which could be a death blow to the school’s music program.

The demonstration, which took place before classes started outside Florence Nightingale Middle School, was aimed at the latest budget-balancing decisions by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Math and science teacher David Meyerhoff, who is also the teacher’s union chapter chairman at the school, said these cuts should not be blamed on a lack of funds.

“We are calling upon the district to rescind all layoffs of LAUSD employees” Meyerhoff said, adding that the district should not be spending money on consultants and administrators while cutting positions in the school themselves.

The cuts were anything but expected for longtime music teacher Jennifer Elliot.

“Absolutely not,” Elliot said. “Not after ten years in the district.”

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • I See!

    They District fat cats and people who are saying teachers are bad have no idea of what it’s like to teach us students. I can say that as a current student at an LAUSD school, we the students choose to act like fools at times. We know that we are hurting ourselves by not taking advantage of our education, but figure we are young and can make up for it later. I’m sure that they were not perfect students growing up. The mayor also thinks he knows everything. If he was such a great student, then why didn’t he pass his lawyers exam? Test will not tell you how smart I am. Especially if I know its just used to make fun of us.

  • Joshua

    I See, speak for yourself. You knucklehead. Just because you didnt listen in school doesnt mean others dont. I attended Thomas Jefferson High, and a cut to the music programs in lower grades such as middleschool is a shot at our programs in highschool. When kids come to highschool they dont even know the school band exsist untill 10-11th grade, by this time teaching a student to play against other schools who are better funded, they are already 4-5 years behind. Also if these educational clubs werent cut back so badly kids would find joy in school, and would look foward to a long day in school just to go to band class

  • bdj

    Any cut to public education is a cut to the future of the state of California and the growth potential of the current crop of students. The state must find ways to not cut funding to public education, and LAUSD must stop cutting teachers. If LAUSD must cut, first start by cutting unnecessary administrative staff, and by cutting salaries to district administrators. Next, stop spending money on third party out of district contractor and consultants, and find the appropriate people in the district instead. LAUSD needs to have a librarian and a registered nurse on each and every school campus. If cut are to be made to sports, music, and theater programs, they must be at a very minimum.

  • Bill White

    I am the son of a Teacher and m\usician. My Father was both. I learned to play the trombone in the LAUSD system. I have a B.A. in Music because of the start that the music programs in my Junior High and High School gave me. Of course, I had two dedicated music teachers too. I now play in the Los Angeles Doctor’s Symphony Orchestra. I also play Guitar, Electric Bass, Piano, and sing. But I got my foundation in Classical music because of the programs that LAUSD had in the 1970’s. I don’t know if I would be where I am now in music without my formal education. Music builds strong math skills by the students learning to keep time, and ealing with different rythms. My Father also taught Math for LAUSD becides Music. The principal flutist in the LADSO is a Math professor at USC. Music also helps build communication skills. I could go on ande on, but you get the idea. We need a music program in the LAUSD.

  • Lou

    pe. band, home ec. arts, social studies unnecessary.math,science,history,biology are essential.

  • vee

    Why can’t the parents of the students find ways to raise funds so that they can pay some (if not all) the expenses of the school music program? I know that raising funds these days are hard but it is worth a try. A few dollars a week from each parent can raise a substantial amount of money for the school. Everybody should start squeezing their pockets instead of squeezing the government for funds. I am sure many of you will not agree with me but there are times when if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.

  • Sistagirl Young

    Becasue, in my opinion, people are only concerned when their personl inerests are threatened. I went to school over 40 years ago. It was great. Compared to what is happening in the schools of today–it was paradise. Save the children,if there is to be any future. Thanks Vee.

  • Sistagirl Young

    Like Marvin Gaye said,Makes me wanna holler,throw up both my hands.Complain, grouse,bewail,this is what we’ve been reduced to. Unfortunately,the children suffer. If, those with an adequate salary would be willing to donate a percentage of their icome to a special fund,would that work? Maybe. Provided it wasn’t managed by some unscrupulous individual who figured this was his own personal bank account and take the money and run. There ain’t no easy answers. I’m sorry people.

    • bdj

      Sistagirl Young,

      I don’t remember the proposition number, but the state of California had passed a law that required the state to have a minimum funding for education. I believe that that funding law was some how bypassed by the legislation and the people’s voice was ignored. In every budget battle that I can remember, whether it was the Democratic or Republican Party in power, the education budget is the first to be cut. Maybe it’s time to make substantial change to the way money is allocated in Sacramento.

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