Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Pam v. The School District (Round # 3)

The e-mail posted below was circulated by the boss throughout the office after he overheard portions of my phone conversation this morning with the school district’s Fine Arts Director.

I'll give him credit, the gentleman had thoroughly rehearsed his performance. He began with what appeared to be a reading of his resume and carefully placed name-dropping. All courtesies had been extended after listening to 10 minutes of his sales pitch, and I just had to interrupt him to tell him every word had fallen upon deaf ears.

“Oh, didn’t you call about the grants?” he asked.

I replied, “I called with a specific question about the use of the grants and an article published in The Item. Have you read the article?

He insisted that he had read the article, and continued with his rehearsed lines, which eventually voiced his convictions that instruction of the fine arts in our schools were a major benefit.

Again, I interrupted, and asked, “Are the funds meant for an extracurricular school activity being used to provide private dance instruction?”

And yet again, he revereted to his prepared lecture instead of answering the question.

I'm a country girl...a well-read, educated country girl, but a country girl just the same. I don't use the big words I've learned to confuse anyone in conversation or writing, and I lost my patience with the obvious theatrics when I was told how much "personal time" he alone had sacrificed to further this great cause.

It was then that I believe I very clearly conveyed to him:

(a) I understood the importance and benfits of instructions in the fine arts all too well, for I have a child for whom I have sacrified to provide dance instruction for 7 years;

(b) I believe it is the intent of the grants to provide dance instruction for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise be allowed the opportunity;

(c) I found it odd that an instructor, also retained under a grant, about whom an article was published in The Manning Times, who has trained with prestigious dance companies in Germany and New York, could drive over 50 miles to teach those disadvantaged children, while another who obtained a degree roughly 25 years ago, and offered limited dance instruction locally, could not drive across town to teach children in the same situation; and,

(d) I wanted to know if public funds were being used to provide private instruction for only a select few as the article in The Item clearly leads one to believe.

for he finally answered the question.

No. Ms. Prothro "misspoke". Ms. Prothro has requested that the students chosen after audition for roles in a recital for the school be allowed to receive additional instruction after the regularly scheduled classes at her studio, but the school district has not approved this request.

I demanded to be told whether or not the grant allowed for the transportation of the students to and from the school to the dance studio.

It doesn't.

I asked if by placing the requirement on the disadvantaged to travel from the school for an extracurricular school activity defeated the sole purpose of the grant.

It does.

I only hope I've made a difference for only one child who might have otherwise been wrongfully denied an opportunity.

By the way, Boss of Mine, I wasn't that tough on the guy...'tempted as I was, I didn't even cuss :D


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