Stamford Public Schools’ budget cuts could silence elementary music programs

Proposed budget cuts of $10 million in the Stamford school system could mean not only a reduction in staff, but also the elimination of some very important programs for students.
One program could be silenced.
The arts and music are a major hit for fifth graders at Roxbury Elementary School in Stamford.
"It's really vital for us to have every opportunity for students to be creative," said Roxbury Elementary School Principal Mark Bonasera.
But the program, and others like it at Stamford's 13 elementary schools, could be cut affecting 1,800 students.
"We're running slim as it is with instrumental music in the district and the fact that they are even considering cutting elementary level instrumental will have devastating effects for the whole city," said Roxbury Elementary School band director Graham Leftwich. 
The school system's proposed budget cuts include reductions in teachers, security and office staff that could amount to a hundred positions. The city says federal dollars have dried up. The mayor hopes music programs like this one can continue with an increase in education cost sharing in the state.
"It's devastating to think about those programs being cut and some of our students being short changed.  So we're going to do everything we can to advocate for more funding in our city budget and more funding from the state so we can preserve those positions," said Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons.
Stamford Public Schools released the following statement to News 12 Connecticut:
"If our proposed operating budget is cut by the Boards of Education, Finance, or Representatives, we will have to make difficult decisions about any number of programs and services during the budget reallocation process.  To be clear, no decisions have been made as to which programs and services would be cut through reallocation."
The community will have a chance to speak directly to members of the Board of Education about the District's proposed operating budget during the board's public budget hearing on Feb. 1.