Campbell County students and community members had a chance to tell the school board what their priorities are for the upcoming budget season Tuesday.
At its Feb. 10 meeting, the Campbell County School Board held a public hearing to discuss the division’s 2020-21 operating budget. Eleven members of the community addressed the board, including middle and high schools students from the county.
Brookville High School senior Madison Muncher was the first of many members of Brookville Theatre to ask the board to remember the arts as budget discussions are held in the coming weeks.
Muncher said she has been a member of Brookville Theatre since transferring to Brookville High as a freshman. Since then, she’s been in 15 productions.
“It is not easy to run a program that does not get funded by our county,” Muncher said. “The arts are very important to me and our school.”
Muncher said she came out to speak not only for herself, but for the future of the Brookville Theatre program.
Reed Rosenbaum, a senior at Brookville High, said he’s been involved in the theater program for six years. In that time, Rosenbaum said he’s helped with the Brookville Theatre camps for elementary and middle school students. Rosenbaum said these camps allow students the chance to be introduced to the world of theater, but they’re also how the program gets its funding.
“All of our costumes, sets and everything else we do for our shows is funded completely through money we raise ourselves,” Rosenbaum said.
He said the program’s fundraisers allow it to put on shows and give back to the community through service projects such as canned food drives.
“Imagine how much more we could do with even just a little bit of funding from you, the school board,” Rosenbaum said.
Emily Emanuel, a seventh grader at Brookville Middle School, said the theater program has been like “one big family” for her. Anna Harrison, eighth grader at Brookville Middle, said theater has allowed her to grow her confidence and given her the opportunity to find a group of friends who all support one another.
In addition to several other Brookville Theatre members, parents also urged the board to support the arts programs in the county.
Steve Harrison said he has two daughters who have been involved in theater for the past five years. He said he believes their involvement in theater has given them leadership and public speaking skills and confidence.
Board Chairman Mark Epperson and several other board members thanked the students for coming out and sharing their thoughts. Board member Barbara Rypkema said she would be sure to keep their comments in mind moving into the budget season.
Two members of the division’s special education advisory committee advocated for the board to support special education funding this budget season. Amy Witt said the committee has seen a continued increase in the district’s special needs population.
“In order to accommodate these needs, the special needs community needs more special education teachers,” Witt said. “It’s people that are going to be making the difference in the classrooms for these kids.”
Witt urged the board to allocate funds for more special education professionals in the district.
Superintendent Robert Johnson gave a short presentation updating the board and public about the status of the state’s 2020-22 biennial budget, which included the governor’s proposed budget with a 3% salary increase over the two years and improving the ratio of school counselors to students.
The school board’s budget is due to the county administrator March 25 and will be presented to the Campbell County Board of Supervisors on April 14. The county budget is scheduled to be adopted by the board of supervisors May 12.
The school board will have a joint meeting with the board of supervisors Feb. 18.