By Maggie Thurber | for Ohio Watchdog
The Cuyahoga Falls High School marching band accepted an invitation to play at Disney World, with a lesson in Marxism thrown in.
After two years of working, fundraising and saving, the only thing left for the band members was official approval from the school board.
On Jan. 21, the board voted unanimously to approve the field trip, which cost $1,250 per student. But here’s the catch. If a student can’t go and cites “financial hardship,” the program must come up with the money.
Either that student goes, or no one does.
Students and their parents are doing what they can. According to news reports, one student sold entertainment books and worked as a pet sitter. Another sold various items to raise the cash.
Band director Brandon DuVall said every band member had access to enough fundraising money to cover the costs.
But now, thanks to the school board, a student could claim financial hardship – at the last minute. Either the rest of the band would have to come up with the money, or they all would suffer.
The school board said two policies led to the decision. Educational opportunities should not be restricted based upon a student’s inability to pay, and, second, students cannot be charged for transportation costs on a school day.
The board, which got conflicting legal opinions, ultimately decided the trip would not violate the transportation policy. DuVall and Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols were left to deal with the transportation issue.
Financial hardship, they decided, would be defined by eligibility under the National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. Any student who qualifies for free or reduced meals would pay 50 percent of the participation fee. The Instrumental Music Patrons charitable organization and the school board would pay the balance.
“From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.” — Karl Marx
This might not have been the lesson the school board intended to teach, but it’s the one the band members learned – the hard way.