Orchestra students sway district

LISD community sprung to action after consolidation announcement


Valerie Benzinger

Students from across the district pose together in celebration after the board of trustees announced it would reconsider the decision to consolidate orchestra programs on Monday, Nov. 11.

The district announced it would be retracting its decision to consolidate the orchestra programs at Durham Middle School, Lamar Middle School and Creek Valley Middle School on Friday, Nov. 15. This decision was influenced by students, parents and staff members from across the district who flooded the board of trustees meeting on Monday, Nov. 11 to fight against the proposal.

The plan would have removed orchestra education from Durham Middle School, Lamar Middle School and Creek Valley Middle School and relocated the programs to Hedrick Middle School, Downing Middle School and Arbor Creek Middle School, respectively.

“I want to be very clear – the reasons we considered selected sites for orchestra consolidation still remain valid in my opinion,” LISD superintendent Kevin Rodgers said in the Nov. 15 orchestra update. “However, after hearing concerns from parents, students and staff, we believe it is in the best interest of our students – which is always our focus – to further examine orchestra in LISD.”

In addition to attending the meeting, petitions went around to show support for the orchestra programs, with the widespread ones earning upwards of 3,000 signatures. The community rallied around the orchestra programs, showing support in any way it could.

“I felt like they needed everybody who cared’s voice to be heard,” senior orchestra member Chris Alspaugh said. “I felt like the more people that got up and talked would increase our chance to get something done about it.”

Upon hearing the announcement, orchestra members felt proud to have persuaded the district to reconsider its decision. Though the proposal to consolidate orchestra programs was not entirely removed from the radar, the students involved feel they made progress by showing the board how much they care.

“It made me really happy because us going there and talking had worked and changed their opinion, or at least delayed their plans,” senior orchestra member Garrett Hicks said. “Going into the meeting, I thought that whether or not there would be an impact would depend on how many people ended up coming. Once I saw how many people were there, I thought there would be some kind of impact. I wasn’t expecting them to delay their plans so soon, though.”