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Lewes, Delaware
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June 19, 1998     Cape Gazette
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June 19, 1998
 

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14- CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, June 19 - June 25, 1998 Cape district vocal program falls below state standards By Kerry Kester Despite the Cape Henlopen School District's music program meeting or exceeding the state standards in most areas, lack of staffing is keeping it the only dis- trict in the state without middle school choral programs• That de- ficiency means the district also falls below state standards. According to Walt Hetfield, who presented the new music cur- riculum to the school board June 11, one of every five high school students participates in the Cape Henlopen High School band; 90 students are in chorus. Hetfield, a Rehoboth Elementary School mu- sic teacher, said 40 percent of the students in his school participate in band. "Music, in general, is on the up- swing in this district," said Hetfield. The district's mu- sic teachers used the state' s draft standards while devel- oping the new curriculum; EIETF1ELD the Delaware State Board of Education granted provisional approval for the state music standards, until June 30, during its June 18 meeting. Few changes were expected. Included in the standards are ex- pectations for vocal music in the elementary and middle school grades• None of the middle schools in the Cape district have Cape board tackles roofing issue; district to apply for $1 million By Kerry Kester The Cape Henlopen School Dis- trict is in the process of applying to the Delaware Department of Education fo/: $1 million in capital improvement funds• The funds will be used for school roof re- pairs. Deadline for the depart- ment receiving the application is July 15. Should the state grant Cape the funding, the state will provide 60 percent of the money; the district will provide 40 percent. "The [school] board has to decide how it is going to fund its portion," said Andy Brandenberger, direc- tor of business operations. The board's options are to use funds from the reserve account or go to referendum. 'q'he idea is to fund the local portion from reserves, because we do have enough for that," said Brandenberger. The reserve account now has approxi- mately $667,000; the district will need $400,000 for its portion, he said. Reserve accounts may be used in any way a district chooses. Typically, however, they are not used for any recurring expenses, such 'as staffing or utility bills, ex- plained Brandenberger. He said that there are districts in Delaware that go to referendum, may gain as much as $8 million or $10 million, then use the reserves for recurring expenses. When the funds run low - usually in about three years - the districts must hold another referendum to re- plenish the account• "They have to do negative spending to main- tain operations," he s.aid. "We haven't had to do that•" The roof damage in Cape schools is quite severe in some buildings• The state did provide $300,000 for minor capital im- provements in the FY 98 year. Those funds are being used this summer to make repairs on Re- hoboth Elementary School and Cape Henlopen High School roofs. "We're completely replac- ing some sections and we're re- pairing other sections," said Bran- denberger. He said the district is also antic- ipating another $300,000 state contribution to the minor capital improvement budget for FY 99. Those funds, he said, will not af- fect the district's plan to ask the state for the major capital im- provement funding, The immediate roof repair or re- placement needs in the district are as follows: Rehoboth Elementary School buildings, roof replace- ments, $175,000; Cape Henloixm High School, repair and replace- ment work, $65,000; H.O. Brit- tingham, repairs and replacement, $15,500; administration building, $500; Lewes Middle School and maintenance building, $8,000; Milton Middle School, $20,000; Shields Elementary School, $15,000; and Sussex Elementary Consortium, $9,000. The district will learn in November whether the funding has been granted; if it is, the funding will be available for FY 00. Brandenberger said the practicality of making the re- pairs is after the 2000 school year, during the summer months• RBVFC participates in Truck Safety Week Program Members of the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company joined the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Delaware State Police Truck Safety Team and the Delaware Office of Highway Safety at the Re- hoboth Beach Bandstand on Thursday, June 4, to celebrate Internation- al Truck Safety Week. The purpose of the event was to educate the pub- lic on safer ways to share the road with larger vehicles. Displays includ- ed information on the "no zones" around larger trucks, which are the large blind spots that exist for the drivers of larger vehicles. The fire company displayed its 1995 Simon-LTl aerial truck and the public was allowed to sit in the truck and experience the areas around and behind the truck where the driver cannot see other vehicles. vocal programs. According to Brian Smith, the only full-time music teacher at Milton Middle School, general music is offered to fifth- and sixth-graders, and the school has a band program• How- ever, a staffing deficiency pre- cludes a seventh- and eighth- grade music program• "I believe we're the only district in the state that does not have mid- dle school chorus," said Barry Eli, Cape High music teacher, during the school board meeting• "To be honest with you, we're understaffed," said Hetfield to board members. "We need a cou- ple more music teachers. Right now, I'm teaching band on my planning period•" That practice is not unusual, he said, noting sever- al of the district's teachers use their own time or their planning time to provide instruction to stu- dents• "We could use a little help," he said. Hetfieid said that while the mu- sic teachers were writing the cur- riculum, they found that the dis- trict was meeting the state stan- dards in its general music pro- grams; it was exceeding the stan- dards in its instrumental pro- grams. The only deficiency the music teachers found was in the vocal instruction at the elementary and middle school levels• At the board's May 28 meeting, Dr. Rama Pert, a district parent, brought the problem to the atten- tion of the board. Pert suggested the board consider the following reasons to hire vocal teachers: vo- cal music is available to all stu- dents, because all have the "in- strument"; chorus capitalizes on the talents that many Cape district students have; a strong vocal pro- gram will keep students from leaving the district to attend pri- vate, choice or charter schools that offer vocal programs; music, of any kind, is a means of expression and enhances critical thinking; and as a parent, her expectation of a good education includes strong programming in the arts. Cape board members showed concern for the problem and will consider the issue as they develop the FY 99 budget• The budgeting process begins this month; the board will discuss the budget at 8 p.m., Thursday, June 25, in the Cape Henlopen High School li- brary. ...a lot closer. A! i.g. Burton Imports, you re never too far from the luxury you can afford. 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