Music program changes draw comments from community

    While at least five people spoke against the CCS band and choir assignments for 2017-18, administration is standing firm on its decision to make some changes.
    Discussion on assignments for Randy Hayes and Agnes Strand took up a good portion of the May 9 school board meeting, which about 40 people attended.
    Those speaking asked that Hayes retain his current assignments as grade 7-12 choir and show choir director and Strand as grade 5-12 band teacher/director.
    The 2017-18 schedule has Hayes directing the performing groups in grades 9-12—band, jazz band, choir and show choir (9th St. Singers) with no junior high.
    Agnes Strand, who currently teaches band in grades 5-12, will continue with grade 5-8 band in 2017-18, as well as grade 7-8 vocal music.
    Hayes was first to speak at the meeting, saying he is “really concerned about the future of our music program with the current schedule we have for next year.”
    He said there will be problems with his 9-12 assignments and Strand teaching in the middle school.
    He’s concerned that Strand “will not be doing junior high show choir next year,” which he feels will impact the high school programs.
    Hayes said he’s not afraid of taking both 9-12 band and choir but, logistically, it will make it difficult to prepare for contests.
    He believes moving to one grade 9-12 music teacher will make them less competitive in the SPVA conference, where all others have two high school music teachers, he said.
    Kathy Christensen, who was on the agenda to speak, said when Strand was hired the band program “was in shambles,” and she’s built it back up.
    She said having teachers who are “passionate” makes the programs at CCS excel. She asked the board and administration to leave Hayes and Strand where they are.
    Richard Munson, a former CCS band teacher, also encouraged leaving the assignments as they are, predicting it will weaken the programs.
    Another parent, Kelli Richardson, asked for reconsideration on the assignments, citing the benefits her junior high son has received with Hayes as his vocal music teacher.
    Ryelee Christensen, the board’s student member, noted the structure for vocal music is learned in junior high and supported keeping Hayes there.        Supt. Joey Lefdal said his job is to run the budget and “make sure my teachers are teaching.”
    Saying Hayes does a tremendous job, Lefdal also said multiple teachers have approached him this year, asking why Hayes is teaching half-time and getting paid full-time.

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