PCSSD Band Programs Running Out of Instruments, Outgrowing Transportation

District officials hope for increase in Fine Arts Budget

PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. - Band is hitting all the high notes with students in Pulaski county.

Monday, cases come unhinged inside the band room at Fuller Middle School.

"I learn new songs every day," Amiyah, a 6th grader, says.

Amiyah can be seen sitting front row, behind a clarinet.

But, empty cases and a full room serve as a prelude to a problem for the PCSSD.

Band is booming. It's up nearly 300 students in five years despite an overall drop in enrollment and after Jacksonville broke off from PCSSD, according to officials.

"The difficulties that is causing is we are running out of the more expensive instruments," Jo Ann Koehler says.

Koehler works as the Fine Arts Director for the district.

As participation approaches a crescendo, Koehler says the challenge stretches beyond buying tubas and baritones.

"We are taking more buses," Koehler says.

We obtained an e-mail from October that Koehler sent to district officials. She stated she has about $26,000 in the transportation budget for all fine arts competitive events this year.

She goes on to say, last year, more than $31,000 was spent.

"Well, I am very hopeful that I can get an increase in my budget," Koehler says.

Daniel Cooper works as Assistant Band Director at Fuller and Band Director at Mills High.

"Band can be a whole lot more than us just sitting in here playing in class," Copper says.

He hopes those in charge can pull some strings to keep seats open and cases full.

"Extra dollars are going to give our kids opportunities that they would not have had otherwise," Cooper says.

A growing budget for a growing program that's striking a chord with more kids like Amiyah.

"I think everybody should go to band," Amiyah says.

"Because they'll make new friends and they can have friends there."

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