CHICAGO (CBS) — Cutting arts, like band programs, is becoming increasingly popular in schools due to a lack of money.
Now, that scenario is playing out in real life at two grade schools in northwest suburban Norridge. As a result, two parents whose children once played in the Norridge band are working to privately raise $110,000 by June 1, 2018 to save the program.
“It was sad and depressing, to say the least. Probably one of the saddest moments of my administrative career,” said Dr. Paul O’Malley, Norridge District 80 Superintendent.
“They compete, they do individual, they go group, and they are outstanding. Outstanding,” said Beth Ringelstein, a band supporter.
Residents voted down tax increases to save the program, twice. So Ringelstein, with the help of fellow mom Noreen Witkowski, took action.
“Somebody wrote on Facebook ‘we should do something.’ And that’s kind of my pet peeve. ‘Don’t say it, but do it,'” Ringelstein said.
In turn, they made a Facebook page of their own: “Save the District 80 Band Program.”
“We felt sorry for those students who will not have that opportunity to be part of something bigger than they are,” Witkowski noted.
Ringelstein and Witkowski’s children are older, and therefore no longer attend either grade school. However, their kids were in band, and both moms say they know the benefits it can provide.
“They help each other. They lead. It’s so positive,” Ringelstein said.
Their efforts have won the admiration of O’Malley, who said, “They are amazing. Amazing, to say the least.”
They’d like to see another referendum put before voters, so they can decide whether or not to fund the band.