To the editor:
I write this Letter to the Editor on behalf of the Park County Arts Council Board of Directors expressing our concern regarding the school board’s decision to eliminate two visual arts positions at the K-5 level.
We know and understand the monumental task facing public education to meet the upcoming budget cuts and respect the difficult work the school board is tackling.
However, cutting the arts staff returns the teaching of art to the regular classroom teachers, as it was more than 20 years ago. As mentioned in the Cody Enterprise article, the Art on a Cart program was started to address the need for help teaching art. Some teachers are comfortable teaching art but many are not and it was evident that many needed the assistance provided by Art on a Cart. The value of this program was incentive for the district to create the two visual arts staff positions.
These two instructors provide arts education to every K-5 grade student in the district. The benefits of having arts-educated instructors has certainly impacted our students. Education rich in the arts contribute to improved student success academically and behaviorally.
Although the school board’s preference to maintain the small class size has great value, we question the impact of eliminating these beneficial positions to the quality of the education provided our children.
The making of art uniquely teaches creativity. Recent studies conclude creativity ranks among the highest attributes desired by employers. Providing the benefits of the arts, establishing their value at the elementary level is crucial in laying a positive foundation for future generations.
(s) steve schrepferman
Park County Arts Council