MPS working to minimize impact of cuts to arts programs

Updated: Jun. 26, 2019 at 9:23 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery Public Schools is making necessary adjustments to lessen the impact cuts on the Baldwin Strings program as a result of the MPS budget deficit and recent cuts. A reduction in force forced more than 140 positions to be cut based on state funding.

Tuesday, Adam Strickland spoke before the Montgomery Public School Board as a parent, musician and advocate for the Baldwin Strings Program.

“Let’s don’t kill something that is a bright spot in our community," said Strickland. “The fact the program has doubled in size within the span of two years is a testament that other students see the good things that are occurring and inspired.”

This magnet school’s strings program was in jeopardy, but work has been going on behind the scenes to make adjustments.

“We should be able to keep that program going because we will have a person that actually can be shared between Baldwin and BTW,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore.

Moore says every school, including the magnet schools, lost teacher units in order for the system to come in alignment with the state allocations based on student population. Since magnet programs - like the arts - have fewer staff and students, they feel the cuts more deeply.

“Sometimes you end up having bare minimum, but we know in the magnet schools sometimes it requires a little bit more to offer the programs you offer,” said Moore.

She points out for schools receiving more than 10 mills, the minimum required by the state, things would be most likely different, but with the current financial state of MPS they don’t have the flexibility.

“The important piece for everyone to know and understand is we are juggling because of the millage that we have. I always use this example: when your local funds are at a higher rate than you can offer maybe four, but when it is low you may be able to off the one required,” said Moore.

Moore is optimistic once they stabilize student enrollment they will be able to offer perhaps as much as they can, and make sure the magnets are beneficial for students who have special interest.

The MPS board recently hired a tax attorney to gather information regarding possibly moving forward with a request of voters to increase the property tax in Montgomery County to better fund the school system.

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