October 25, 2005 > And the Newark school bands play on!
And the Newark school bands play on!
by Sabrina Mahajan
If you were impressed with the marvelous performance of the Newark Memorial High School band and the Newark Junior High School band at the Newark Days parade, you would be surprised to know that the band is only two years old. The music program at the Newark school district was almost halted several years ago when the district made cutbacks due to shortfalls in funding. Requires multiple costly elections
Two years ago, the city of Newark, where many high profile city officials are great music lovers and patrons of the arts, stepped in and formed a partnership with the Newark School District to fund the band program. One of the new music directors, Kevin Hanson is very appreciative of the fact that the city supported the program with a grant of $300,000. The funding was used toward replacing old, worn out equipment and all costs associated with rebuilding the music program at the elementary and junior high levels. The district now has three fulltime dedicated band directors: Andre Ehling, (elementary), David Jackson, (junior high), and Kevin Hanson, (high school and sometimes elementary schools).
"It is a proven statistic that kids who are involved in the music programs always test at a higher level on standardized testing. Music, benefits students in core subjects as well as expanding the minds and horizons of young people," said Hanson.
Bringing over 18 years of solid experience in instrumental as well as vocal music, Hanson worked and performed with U.S. Army bands all over the world. His last stint was in Japan where he played trumpet and was a conductor. He decided to leave the military to return to a career in education because of his great love of teaching. Prior to his tenure in the military, he taught for nine years in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania where he had successful and award-winning bands.
As a passionate band leader, Hanson praises the positive attitude of his students. He is dedicated in rejuvenating the band program and building community support. With this in mind he started the Newark Area Symphonic Winds, where musicians comprised of everyone from high school students to amateur and professional musicians from the Tri-City area come together to play music. They rehearse every Monday evening and perform at various events throughout the year.
Typically the band program at Newark starts in the elementary schools at the fourth grade level. These participants are then absorbed into the band program at in middle school. By the time these students enter high school they are highly trained on their instruments. Although it is hard to believe by their performances, many of the students in the high school band currently have only a year of experience due to the lack of funding in the previous years.
The band performs at the school sites, various community events, and football and basketball games. This year, at the homecoming game on Nov. 4, the band will perform during the halftime show. Most students will be performing in this medium for the very first time. The band will also be involved in various performances throughout the city especially during the holiday season, performing Christmas carols and concerts.
Last year, more than 200 students participated at the elementary level. At the high school level, currently, there are about 40 students in the band, of which 10 are enrolled in the color guards. The band program is open to all students who are willing to learn techniques and practice hard. Hanson anticipates that in the next five years, the marching band will have at least 150 students. He also plans to start a jazz band.
Newark Education Foundation is provides support and funds for the music program. If you would like to help support the band please contact Jim Reese at (510) 793-1400.
ided to balance the budget.
Proposition 76 will cut funding for schools, health care, police, and fire. It undermines our democratic system of checks and balances by giving the governor awesome new powers without any oversight. And it opens the door to higher taxes.
Proposition 76 overturns the minimum school funding protections approved by California voters when they passed Proposition 98. Proposition 76 allows the Governor to permanently reduce school funding without a vote of the people.
Our students and schools lost three billion dollars when Governor Schwarzenegger broke his promise to repay the money he took from education. Proposition 76 "terminates the repayment requirement," meaning the Governor will never have to return this money to our schools' minimum guarantee.
Proposition 76 will permanently reduce the money schools will get by over $4 billion-$600 per student. That means teacher layoffs, larger classes, fewer textbooks, less classroom materials, poorly paid teachers, and overcrowded schools. Proposition 76 keeps California behind states like West Virginia and Kentucky in per pupil education funding.
Proposition 76 deprives cities and counties of hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding needed for police, fire and health care. Incredibly, if a "fiscal emergency" is declared, this initiative requires funding be cut for vital services like education, health care, fire, and police, but actually prevents cutting "pork barrel" road projects.
Proposition 76 attacks California's system of checks and balances by placing too much power in the hands of one person - the governor. Even if you trust this Governor, who knows what future Governors might do with this unlimited new power.
Under Proposition 76, any Governor could declare a "fiscal emergency" simply by having his own staff overestimate state revenues. Once a fiscal emergency is declared, the Governor would be free to cut vital programs without voter approval and without oversight.
This initiative gives state legislators new power to make mischief. Just 14 of 120 legislators could block passage of the budget indefinitely, putting government spending on autopilot. This could allow the Governor to declare a "fiscal emergency," giving the Governor sweeping new powers to make state spending and budget decisions "at his discretion," with absolutely no oversight or accountability
Proposition 77, if passed, will change the process of redistricting California's State Senate, State Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts, transferring the implementation of redistricting from the Legislature to a panel of three retired judges, selected by legislative leaders. (Constitutional Amendment)
Background from Legislative Analyst:
Every ten years, the federal census counts the number of people living in California. The California Constitution requires the Legislature after each census to adjust the boundaries of the districts used to elect public officials. This process is called "redistricting" (or sometimes "reapportionment"). The primary purpose of redistricting is to establish districts which are "reasonably equal" in population. Redistricting affects districts for the state Legislature (Assembly and Senate), Board of Equalization (BOE), and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Typically, redistricting plans are included in legislation and become law after passage of the bill by the Legislature and signature by the Governor. In the past, when the Legislature and Governor have been unable to agree on redistricting plans, the California Supreme Court oversaw the redistricting.
This measure amends the California Constitution to change the redistricting process for the state Legislature, BOE (Board of Equalization), and California members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
This measure requires that a three-member panel of retired federal and/or state judges ("special masters") develop redistricting plans. The measure requires that the judges meet a number of criteria, including that they have never held partisan political office.
The measure adds new requirements regarding the drawing of district boundaries. Among these requirements are:
* For the Legislature and BOE, population differences among districts cannot exceed 1 percent.
* Senate districts must be comprised of two adjacent Assembly districts, and BOE districts must be comprised of ten adjacent Senate districts.
* The plan must minimize the splitting of counties and cities into multiple districts.
In addition, when drawing boundaries, the panel could not consider information related to political party affiliations and other specified matters.
The time for accountability is now. Proposition 77 will:
* Guarantee fair election districts for Californians.
* Give voters the final say in the process.
* Reduce special interest influence and money in politics.
California's flawed election system allows partisan politicians to draw the boundary lines of their own districts-splitting up towns and even neighborhoods for personal gain. The result: there is no accountability because the incumbents rig the districts to ensure they have no serious competition, guaranteed re-election, and are not accountable to voters.
1. Voters will be able to vote on the new redistricting plan. That gives the people of California more power and the special interests less.
2. To ensure district lines that are competitive and fair, a panel of retired judges-selected through a bipartisan process with no political agenda-will draw new district lines according to strict guidelines.
3. Voters then may approve or reject the lines. That puts us, Californians, in charge of our elections.
4. Neighborhoods and communities will matter again. Incumbents will no longer be able to draw their own districts, splitting up towns and neighborhoods in an effort to guarantee their own re-election.
Don't be fooled! Read the fine print. This undemocratic and unfair redistricting scheme has huge loopholes.
1) Voters lose their right to reject redistricting plans before they go into effect.
2) Politicians select the judges to draw their districts for them.
3) 3) Prop. 77 costs taxpayers millions each time they reject redistricting plans.
4) 4) Only 3 unelected judges will decide everything. That's not fair or balanced.
5) 5) This unworkable scheme will be cemented into our constitution.
6) Redistricting plans made from Prop. 77 automatically go into effect with no approval from voters. That's backwards. Voters should approve plans before they take effect, not afterward. By the time voters have a say, the damage is done. Why won't they let voters approve the plans first?
7) Politicians are still in control
8) Under Prop. 77, politicians in the Legislature choose the judges to draw their political districts. Politicians get the best of both worlds-they still pick their voters and now they can hide behind judges. There's no accountability!
If voters reject redistricting plans, the entire process starts over-new judges, new plans, more elections and more political bickering-wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. This could go on indefinitely with election after election until voters finally approve all at taxpayer expense.
What effect would this have on regional issues like water rights and transportation funding?