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Orchestra Program Cut at Hart

Fledgling class was too small.

Posted: February 25, 2008 3:46 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2008 5:02 a.m.
The fledgling Hart High School orchestra has been eliminated as an academic course, with Principal Collyn Nielsen citing budget cuts as one of the reasons.

"That is somewhat affected by the budget cuts as well as other staffing issues," Nielsen said. "It is a small class with just a handful of students, and with the current staffing allocations and the condition of the budget, it's not feasible to have classes that small anymore."

The program was founded in 2005 for string players whose instruments are not part of the band. Students were notified by Nielsen in late January that the course would not longer be offered at the school.

"I think they were disappointed," Nielsen said. "Any time we take an opportunity away from students, it's not a fun experience."

Bill Barrett, whose daughter, Alessandra, is in the orchestra program, said that while the school hosts rallies for its sports programs, the orchestra didn't really get promoted.

"The arts seem to be the first thing to get whacked in these tough budget times," Barrett said. "It's just a sad thing."

Being one of the only high schools in the district with an orchestra gave Hart a certain distinction, Barrett said, plus the program met the needs of students coming to Hart from Placerita Junior High.

"The sad part about it is that there's a huge orchestra program at Placerita Junior High, so all those kids are going to come out of there and come to Hart and not have a program," he said.

With the elimination of Hart's program, West Ranch High School is now the only high school in the William S. Hart Union High School District with an orchestra.

Vicki Engbrecht, assistant superintendent of educational services for the Hart district, said she had not heard about the elimination of the Hart High orchestra, but attributed it more to the small class size than to the proposed cuts to the budget.

"Any class that has less than a certain number of students, we look at those every year," Engbrecht said. "We have not yet made any decisions that will affect arts education based on the budget."


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