I am not a resident of Taylor County, but I have worked in this county since I was 18. Saying that, I feel that I have some interest in what goes on in this community. I am writing this letter concerning the recent job cuts in the Taylor County School System.
My son is the Taylor County band director. His wife is the assistant. In the last few weeks, there has been a concern that the assistant's position would be cut from the program.
I am deeply concerned over this for many reasons. The first one is that they have a family. My grandchildren depend on their parents to take care of them. Second, the school is losing a very valuable asset. Nobody can really evaluate her job. Nobody unless you're involved in the program can possibly have a clue as to what her position involves.
I can personally say I know how hard it is being a booster of a band program, being that I was that from the time both of my children started in the Green County program until the end of their education. I was a band student in school, too. I know the experiences that you have in band. The discipline you obtain. It's a very fun and rewarding program. But don't think that it's all fun. It's a lot of hard work. It takes dedication to be involved in a band program, not only for the students but for the teachers as well.
I can't imagine having to put in the time that my son and daughter-in-law put into their job. My job ends after eight hours. They spend lots of hours at the school working and then at home preparing. They work long hours all year, but during marching season there are even more hours involved.
Most teachers put in their five days and are free on the weekend unless they are planning for the next week. That's not the case with the band program. During the marching season, they get up early on Saturday morning and return home late. When they return after a competition they both stay at the school until every child has left or been picked up by their parent or guardian before they leave to go to their home.
I know this because I see this. I baby-sit for them when they are doing after-school rehearsals, band competitions, concerts, trips, etc.
Even though they don't get as much sleep and they have really long days, they love it. Both of them decided early in high school what they wanted to do with their lives. They both wanted their careers to be teaching music.
After saying all of that, the third reason that I'm concerned is the students. Which is the first and foremost concern of the band director and the assistant.
They both have excelled greatly in their music careers, from high school all the way through college. They are dedicated to the Taylor County School System and their goal is to make the band program a well-known organization. They love teaching music; their lives center around music and their children are already involved in music. They have many responsibilities to the band program and the students, not only teaching, but their safety, too.
So my question to the community is this. Do you want to see music cut out of your children's lives? Do you really want to see talented young men and women give up something that could be their life's dreams?
Why do we pay taxes? Hopefully, to be able to educate our children and provide for them the best possible education. Of course, not every child is going to be musically involved. But for the ones who are, is it fair to them to have to tell them, "I'm sorry you can't be in band, because we can only have so many. Because they made our program smaller and we can't take as many students now as before."
I dare say that there is not one parent who hasn't had to tell their children, at some point in time, "We're sorry we can't get that for you now" or "We can't do that now," but to tell them that they can't learn something, that's ridiculous.
I realize that they are not the only ones facing this kind of situation. There are other teachers and teacher's aides in Taylor County and the surrounding counties who are facing the same dilemma. As of right now, they have been left hanging. They don't really know what their job status is.
It is my understanding that the choir is also losing a teacher.
So my question is this: Why are two of the biggest organizations losing teachers, yet organizations that are smaller are not? I know that I cannot do anything to help Taylor County because I live in another county.
But I do encourage the residents of Taylor County and surrounding counties to write your State Representative and any other state officials that you can to let them know that we as Kentucky citizens do not want education to be shoved on the back burner. That it should be first and foremost on the minds of our state officials. So that any kind of money that can be put into education needs to be.
Paula F. Bishop
u Taylor County Superintendent Gary Seaborne declined to comment.