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Parish bands getting more money

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / January 19. 1998

EDGARD – Band members at four St. John the Baptist Parish schools shouldsee some big improvements in the band equipment just in time forCarnival season.

The St. John School Board decided at its meeting Thursday night at WestSt. John Elementary to allot East St. John High, West St. John High, LeonGodchaux Junior High and Glade School a $1,000 sum in addition to thenormal $500 that the bands are budgeted yearly.

But this decision wasn’t come to easily by the board. With two substitutemotions withdrawn from the table and the board finally settling onsomething members could all agree on, the proposal submitted by RussWise was on the table for almost an hour and finally carried 11-0.”Our fine marching bands need some things in the way of uniforms,instruments and what not,” Wise said.

“I had the opportunity to go to some of the football games this year andsaw that some of the bands were in need,” Superintendent ClevelandFarlough said, agreeing with Wise.

East St. John Principal Debbie Schum expressed her concern about theupcoming Mardi Gras parades and the need for the money, but added thatthe funds would have nothing to do with buying uniforms. She said thatsometimes the uniforms cost $200 to $300 apiece, while the extra $1,000would cover maybe a new instrument.

“Uniforms aren’t the issue here,” board member Leroy Mitchell agreed.”$1,000 will cover shoe laces and sheet music.”

The original motion to give the bands a one-time allotment of $1,000apiece was made by Wise and seconded by Mitchell.

At that, Aleitha Bardell piped in and made a substitute motion, requestingthat bands receive the $1,000 allotment this year and continue to receive$1,500 in years to come.

C.J. Watkins voiced his concern about the money the board was looking atspending over the coming years and the lack of planning and research thathad been done.

“Here we are again spending money at the board table without any plan atall,” Watkins said.

So Watkins made a substitute to Bardell’s substitute motion that theboard pay the four school bands the one-time $1,000 allotment butauthorize Farlough to do research on the subject to see what an adequateamount to give the bands would be.

Bardell said she had already conducted her own study, and she insisted thebands need the money.

So, Watkins withdrew his motion, followed by Bardell withdrawing hers,but other board members continued discussion of the topic by voicing theirconcerns about more money for larger bands. “Allocation per band memberis the only way we can be fair,” board member Dowie Gendron said.

Matthew Ory agreed with Gendron’s sentiment. “Larger bands should getmore money,” he said.

“I think we need to vote and move on and let the superintendent do what heneeds to do to get the monies together,” Mitchell said after over 45minutes of discussion.

So Bardell ended the discussion with yet another substitute motionallotting the bands the $1,000 extra sum this year and giving school boardadministrators the permission to continue research on the matter.

The motion was seconded by Felix “Pappy” LeBouef and carried 11-0.

Board member Clarence Triche’s plea to Farlough was simple. “Mr.Farlough, dig a little deeper into the budget next year and see if you canfind those extra funds,” he said.

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