Hear My Song

By: Mike Tolbert
By: Mike Tolbert

For Ft. Walton Beach High School’s freshman Brittany Hammock, music is more than just a class.

"For me music is like my getaway. It’s like where all my troubles and everything and I can just focus on music."

Unfortunately when money gets tight, elective programs like music and choir are usually the first to go. The state funds school districts around $3,600 for every student enrolled, but a new University of Florida study shows the six largest of the state's 67 school districts receive substantially more money than everybody else.

If the current school funding model is not changed, students could see cuts in music and the arts. Because of this new study, State Rep. Ray Sansom is proposing legislation that will level the playing field.

The bill will increase funding for those 61 school districts over eight years without taking any away from the six large districts. That would cost about $30 million the first year alone.

Okaloosa school District superintendent Don Gaetz says it's the fair thing to do.

"Let’s pay tribute to the teachers and parents and students of northwest Florida for what they've done being good stewards of scarce resources. Let's imagine what could be done if we had fair funding."

But if the bill doesn't pass, it could be the students who feel the effects, students like Brittany.

"Music is a part of my life and many other kids here. There are lots of kids who are dedicated to music and it would e really disappointing for music to be taken out of schools.”

Less music in school is a song these students don't want to hear.


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