Budget Cuts and Music Instruction

The Fine, Applied, and Performing Arts (FAPA) Department of the Watertown Public Schools has benefited from strong community support and advocacy over the past nine years. Often the arts suffer during economic downturns, but Watertown has been able to reverse the damage and emerge with a strong, comprehensive program. Friends of Watertown Music is committed to raising the voice of musicians and keeping music integral to the curriculum – as it should always be!

Here is some history dating to the inception of Friends of Watertown Music.

Due to FY11 Budget Cuts, the following were NO LONGER OFFERED:

  • Stage Band at the Middle School  (restored with Jazz band in FY13 through Friends of Watertown Music initial funding and now incorporated into budget)
  • 7th grade general music
  • Full Orchestra at the Middle School
  • Guitar Workshop at the High School (restored in FY13 through creativity and willingness teachers to travel among all 5 schools)
  • Electronic Music at the High School
  • Composition at the High School
  • Full instrument selection at each elementary school (only certain instruments are offered in 4th grade due to lack of teacher staffing; 5th grade students cannot begin an instrument)

Status of Teaching Positions:
FY10: 6.7 teaching positions, including curriculum coordinator
FY11: 6.2 teaching positions
November 2011, FY12: 5.2 positions* (upon retirement of Middle School band and music teacher)
FY 13:  5.8 teaching positions*
FY 14:  5.2 teaching positions*
FY15:  5.6 teaching positions*
FY16:  6.6 teaching positions, including restoration of curriculum coordinator^
FY17:  7.9 teaching positions
FY18:  9.2 teaching positions
See the WPS FAPA department page for a full list of offerings and teachers.

^Restoration of the Fine, Applied, and Performing Arts (FAPA) Curriculum Coordinator in the 2015-16 school year meant that the music department could be guided by a vision again rather than having to react to crisis.

*Although the School Department showed its commitment to the music program by restoring the Elementary School instruments program to its FY12 budget and adding a 0.6 teaching position (with partial funding from Friends of Watertown Music) for FY 13, there was not enough money in the budget to maintain full staffing and programming.  Indeed, in FY 14, the 0.6 position was lost.  A 0.4 position was added to the FY15 program (with partial funding from Friends of Watertown Music).  During this period, the music teachers were traveling among the schools to preserve as much of the program as possible.