8/7/2014 2:55:00 PM Band realignment discussed by school board
by Nora Bryson
The question of whether to realign the music department or continue looking for a full-time elementary teacher was the main topic at the Monday night, July 28, Cannon Falls School Board meeting.
The board approved the resignation of current instructor Andrew Urban at its July 22 meeting; Urban has accepted a position in Apple Valley, closer to his home.
The administration recommended realignment because, having only received four applications since last Thursday, it feared the candidate pool was smaller. They felt better candidates could be found if they waited until next March to post the position.
In the meantime, only band Instructor Joel Bryan possesses an Elementary teaching license. They felt the Middle School and High School Band Program could still be adequately covered. However, the 0.3 FTE at the ALC (Alternative Learning Center that Bryan had been covering) would need replacing, despite the fact that the guitar class had been hugely successful. Superintendent Beth Giese stated several times that the intention was NOT to cut a position and that the move was merely temporary.
Board Member Rob Siebenaler inquired about the number of students in band. High School Principal Tim Hodges explained that the numbers had hovered between 132 and 124 the last four years, but noted there were always 20-30 more kids in choir and the band instructors were able to team-teach.
Board Member Brenda Owens pointed out that students would once again have to be pulled out of class for their band lessons. She felt it put too much pressure on the instructors and students. She also felt it would "be a shame" to lose Bryan at the high school level; indicating the potential devastating effects, particularly to the steel drum program.
Board Member Jerry Reinardy asked the directors in the gallery for their input. Mike Legvold, being the only one present, asked that the board not consider him "unprofessional" if he stated bluntly, "It will not work out well at all....I don't see Mr. Bryan happy at the elementary."
Board Chair Bob Brintnall asked that the discussion "be brought back to a board - only conversation" with the Administration restating their recommendation.
Giese emphatically stated that she did NOT want to pursue any candidate currently under contract with another district. She felt it was unethical.
Siebenaler concurred that, indeed, teacher contracts were morally, ethically, and legally binding agreements that should not be broken. He felt the district needed to "protect" itself from being short-handed should there not be a large enough candidate pool.
Reinardy felt there was a real possibility Bryan might quit if confronted with such an assignment---"then we'd be out two teachers!"
Hodges said that as a "matter of scheduling, I can accommodate one band teacher."
Reinardy finally made a motion, seconded by Owens, "to keep the band instructors in their current positions and to continue looking for an Elementary K-5 Classroom Music Instructor." The motion passed 4-1, with Siebenaler the only "nay" vote. This required the withdrawl of agenda item "H" that asked the board to consider posting and hiring a 0.3 FTE at the ALC for 2014-15.