Thriving Fine Arts Programs Lose Funding

Mr. Crouch, Wilde Lake High School choir teacher, directs his chamber choir class.

This year, the choir department increased in size from 88 students to 130. At the same time, according to Choir Director, Mr. Crouch, its budget was cut by $300. 

This represents a trend of school-wide budget slashes, forcing departments to lean on patron donations or student fundraising. 

“The arts are kind of thriving at Wilde Lake right now,” says band teacher, Mr. Green, “and it’s only more challenging for us to financially and space-wise support the growing need and desire, and we’re looking to continue to offer as many opportunities for everybody. Inclusiveness- that’s what’s important.” 

The choir department uses its budgeted money to buy new sheet music, concert attire, and guest musicians. 

In fine arts departments around the country, teachers are defending what they do. Both Mr. Green and Mr. Crouch agree that the arts provide a learning experience that is different from the typical core classes. 

“I think fine arts teaches us how to be people. They teach us how to work together, and look at each other for our similarities,” Mr. Crouch says.

A choir and theatre student, Sydney Cox feels that choir provides her with a creative outlet.

“It’s awesome to just be able to sing for 50 minutes,” Cox says. “The feeling of creating music and having the ability to create something that can impact other people in a way that normal speech can’t is what makes choir so special.” 

Chloe Angel, choir president at Wilde Lake, has been involved in choir since she was in elementary school. She feels that having a leadership position in the group and working closely with Mr. Crouch has provided her with a unique viewpoint on the effects of budget cuts. 

“It is really disheartening that they’re taking [funds] away, because it doesn’t just affect what we can read and what new things we can use as learning examples; it affects what music we can make all together,” she says.