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Facing the music

As noted in Tuesday's story about cuts to the Buffalo school district's instrumental music programs, music teachers are making noise about major cutbacks to the district's band and instrumental music lesson offerings. They contend - based on direct coversations with building principals - that 14 of the district's remaining 28 instrumental music programs are going to be eliminated next school year.

Instrumental music teachers said that in many cases, music lessons offer Buffalo school students one of the few remaining opportunities they have to form close relationships with their teachers in small-group settings.

"I become their mom," said instrumental music teacher Amy J. Steiner. "I’ve become more than a band teacher for them. They come to you for everything all day long."

The superintendent and district spokeswoman have questioned the teachers' findings but have not provided The News any contrary information or allowed The News to speak with anyone in a position to verify or dispute the teachers' list of school music cuts.

According to the music teachers, the following schools are slated to lose their instrumental music programs next school year:

  • McKinley High School
  • Riverside Institute of Technology
  • Bennett High School
  • Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence
  • Southside Elementary
  • Native American Magnet School
  • Hillery Park Elementary
  • Bilingual Center
  • Lovejoy Discovery School
  • Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet School
  • Discovery School
  • Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy
  • International Preparatory School
  • Community School

Teachers said the following four schools will have their instrumental music programs reduced:

  • East High School
  • School 81
  • West Hertel Academy
  • Math Science Technology Prep School
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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |