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"Restorations" to music programs in Buffalo schools not so restorative

UPDATED BLOG POST WITH REVISED CHART.

OK. So Tuesday morning, Mayor Brown gathers a group of instrument playing school kids around him and announces that the city is giving the district $400,000 to restore "all" of it's instrumental music programs. Superintendent Pamela Brown also refers to restorations to "all" schools. That's good news, but not QUITE as good as the public has been led to believe.

Even though most schools that had eliminated band programs will have those programs restored to some degree, most aren't getting their programs restored to last school year's levels. And, contrary to what we reported in today's paper, it appeared TWO high schools -- Riverside and Bennett -- weren't getting their band programs restored at all.

At least, that's the conclusion I drew based on the information initially provided to me by the Buffalo school district. Since our story and blog post ran today, and since obtaining further information from the district this afternoon, there have been some changes. Instrumental music was restored to Riverside High School. Chief Financial Officer Barbara Smith also provided more updated information regarding other music program cuts.

One thing she explained, for instance, is that Bennett High School opted to exchange its full-time instrumental music teacher for a full-time vocal music teacher instead. So Bennett currently has no instrumental program, but presumably more kids will be able to participate in other types of music classes.

The district didn't mention this at all, but music teachers have informed me that the money provided by the city will also restore the fourth- and fifth-grade Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra educational concert series for this coming school year. So that's good.

Below is the revised school-by-school chart, based on the latest district information, on how instrumental music teaching positions are being allocated at each school that suffered cuts in the 2013-14 budget. Be aware that decimal numbers refer to part-time positions. Many full-time instrumental music teachers teach part-time at more than one school:

Chart of instrumental music positions restored

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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 | djgee@buffnews.com


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 | tlankes@buffnews.com


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 | stan@buffnews.com


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 | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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