School board silences All-City Sing

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007
— The All-City Sing, that extravaganza in which all of the city’s public-school fourth- and fifth-graders provide an evening of entertainment for family and friends, won’t go on as originally planned next spring.

The Janesville School Board voted 7-1 Tuesday for a one-year moratorium.

The administration asked for the moratorium after music teachers requested it. Their numbers were reduced in this year’s budget because of lower numbers of elementary school students.

The loss of music teachers meant some teachers have to travel between buildings, and some of them teach only the younger grades, not the fourth- and fifth-graders, officials said.

But all of the teachers are needed for the performance, so that would mean hiring substitute teachers and figuring out how to schedule all the teachers’ time, officials said.

The moratorium would give the staff time to figure out how to schedule the musical performance in years ahead, Director of Instruction Donna Behn told the school board.

School board member Tim Cullen called the moratorium a bad idea. He pointed to the fact that the elementary librarians also dropped their sponsorship of Battle of the Books after their numbers were cut.

The Hedberg Public Library has since taken over Battle of the Books.

People like the All-City Sing; they’ve become accustomed to it, and it’s enjoyable, Cullen said.

Board member DuWayne Severson noted that the school board turned down a motion earlier this year to restore some music-teaching positions, which might have helped.

Board member Amy Rashkin said that the administration should consider staffing for the event when it puts together next year’s budget.

Board President Debra Kolste said programming suffers when staff is cut, so she was willing to give the teachers the extra year.

The All-City Sing has been a biennial event. The administration had proposed cutting it entirely in this year’s budget, but the school board said no to that idea.

It wasn’t clear how much money was saved by not having the All-City Sing. A figure of about $10,000 was used in the past, but some teachers have suggested re-using the rights to previously purchased shows, which could cut costs considerably.

Cullen was the lone “no” vote. Todd Bailey was absent.

Last updated: 2:39 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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