The corporation is organized for charitable and educational purposes including, but not limited to, promoting appreciation of music and its fundamental importance to the community and enriching, sustaining and developing music programs in the Watertown Public Schools of Watertown, Massachusetts.
In order to enrich offerings within the public schools, funds raised will support essential elements of the music program beyond the means of public funding, including the following: teacher stipends (and, in the event of a critical need, salaries); course offerings; teacher grants for continuing education and/or classroom enhancement; ensemble groups; instrument purchase and repair; scholarship fund for instrument rental; materials and supplies; visiting performers; and student field trips. Funds raised shall only be used for purposes delineated above.
The Superintendent of the Watertown Public Schools or any teacher currently employed by the Watertown Public Schools may request funding for any of the purposes listed above. The Friends of Watertown Music Board of Directors will evaluate the request within 60 days and decide whether the request is consistent with the mission of the fund and if there are sufficient monies to grant the request in whole or in part. The Board of Directors will meet annually and as often as necessary to consider requests during each fiscal year. Each year Friends of Watertown Music will distribute funds to the School Department specifically for the most urgent music program needs which are brought forward by the Superintendent in response to Requests for Proposals by Friends of Watertown Music.
Friends of Watertown Music formed in the summer of 2011 in response to the economic recession that began in 2008. Consecutive years of dwindling state contributions to town budgets on the heels of limited tax revenue and rising costs contributed to great difficulty maintaining services within the school budget. The music program (general music, chorus, band, and orchestra) lost its curriculum coordinator for the 2010-11 school year (FY11) and was threatened with losing an additional 1.5 of 6.0 full-time equivalent teaching positions for fiscal year 2012, including not filling the music position at the Middle School upon the retirement of long-time teacher Art Wallace and also the elimination of the elementary instrument program.
While the remaining music teachers have tried creatively to continue the instruments program that begins in fourth grade, the breadth and depth of the program is in jeopardy, from general music and enrichment offerings at all levels to enhanced opportunities within the instrument program such as the stage band and full orchestra. Parents and students have advocated strongly throughout the budget process for preserving the program. Additionally, the Middle School needs its own band director, and supporting that role will allow continuation of full orchestra, stage bands, and music courses at the middle and high school levels. In future years, the program might be expanded to include ensemble groups. Most importantly, it is the hope of those creating this fund that the music program will remain comprehensive: it will not require students to be performers but will allow all students to encounter music as an essential part of their education throughout all grade levels.
July 2011: Priorities for Fiscal Year 2012 (Academic year 2011–2012)
Keep the Watertown Music Program intact.
- Support funding for the 0.5 FTE position for general music at the Cunniff Elementary School. This will allow the elementary band and string instruments program to continue in both 4th and 5th grades across all three elementary schools.
[As of 8/15/2011: Currently accomplished through WPS FY12 operating budget!!]
- Support funding for another 1.0 FTE position in order to maintain FY11 staffing levels in the music program. This will allow continuation of general music, full orchestra, and stage band offerings at the middle school and nonperformance music offerings at the high school.
- Save any additional funds for the FY 2013 budget. These monies would be used toward first, keeping the program intact as delineated above, and second, funding scholarships for student instrument rentals, supporting activities of the students such as the NYC Heritage Festival and ensemble groups, and repair or purchase of instruments and equipment for the program.