Musical Instrument Replacement
Instrumental music instruction has been a valued component of the Ann
Arbor Public Schools for more than five decades. It began as a „pull
outš for interested fifth graders, and then became a required class for
fifth graders in the late 1990s.
Fifth graders now play violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, saxophone,
cornet, trombone, baritone, French horn and percussion. In the sixth
grade students begin switching to larger, more complex instruments
including double reed instruments, bass clarinet, tuba, string bass, and
various saxophones. These are the instruments needed to fill out the
bands and orchestras.
A large portion of our instrument inventory needs to be replaced,
- The oldest instruments, some of which are more than 50 years old
- The most complex instruments with many small parts
- Those frequently in need of adjustment, repair or replacement
- The most expensive instruments
Approximately $94,840 per year is designated for the replacement of
instruments and repairs. In the 1990‚s, 2 mill funds were used to
replace the larger instruments at the secondary level and to restock the
central and elementary inventories. Unfortunately, that funding source
is no longer available, and repair bills have skyrocketed. More than
half of the music budget is now spent on repairing instruments Ų many of
which should have been retired.
An attempt was made to address the retirement issue three years ago with
the proposal of a 20-year replacement cycle under which five percent of
the inventory would be replaced annually. Because of funding problems,
the proposal was never implemented.
At many sites music directors are turning to fundraising to help
purchase new instruments.
Results and benefits of the bond proposal
An allocation of $2 million would allow for the replacement of
approximately one-half of
the district‚s instrument inventory. Financial benefits would include
lower repair costs and the redirection of fundraising efforts. Equally
important would be the benefits realized in the form of greater student
satisfaction, equity for all students and schools, and higher levels for
our award-winning programs.