Rob's Journal

Sunday, November 4, 2001...... This Tuesday, local voters have the opportunity to pass a $ 150 million bond referendum which would significantly boost arts programs within the school system. The passage of the issue would pencil in $ 13.5 million to update, enlarge or build arts facilities for the county's eight high schools. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, "school superintendent Don Martin says the project's exact specifications have not been determined." Prior to this year, I taught in the local system, at East Forsyth High, for two years. During that time, my five theatre classes were taught in the school's cafeteria for 50% of the time. The reason was not due to space limitations, but because the administration placed a low priority on the program I fought to develop and, ultimately, to maintain. The acoustics in the auditorium at East are terrible. and have been since I graduated from the school in 1976. Two years ago, the lights flickered on and off intermitently. Through negotiations, I was able to get the lights fixed. The attention was then turned to the acoustics, which were blamed on a sound system, even though the equipment had been replaced three years earlier. The second-class chorus class met in the mobile unit during my two years. It was understood that the choral director would have the larger bandroom space for her specialized singing groups, and beginning chorus would never see the room, unless approved into her program. Renovations may update facilities, but does nothing for this line of thinking. A person not involved with the school system has no concept of the inner political structure which exists. West Forsyth, Mount Tabor and Parkland High Schools do need new auditoriums. There's no argument there. They seat houses in the 300-350 range. But, if I have my way, none of my money will go towards building them, or renovating East Forsyth. At the end of my two years at East Forsyth, after a lack of administrative support, I opted out, and was traded for someone else. Thus far, I have yet to see a notice of a fall production and I have been told that there will not be a spring musical. When I was brought in, I was told that I had no choice in that matter. A person votes with instinct, persuasion and conviction. On Tuesday, my vote with respect to the school bonds package will be a resounding NO.

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