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INDEPENDENCE – The president of the Grayson Highlands Parent Teacher Organization has asked the county school board to consider putting art classes back into the elementary schools in the upcoming budget.
Amy Donnely was the only speaker during a public hearing on the proposed 2013-14 budget for the Grayson County Public Schools System last week.
“Art is such an interval part of what the students do each day,” Donnely said. “I know there is a reason it’s gone, but I think it should be one of the first things to come back if the opportunity presents itself.”
Donnely noted that art benefits students because it gives them an outlet for their creativity and allows them to express themselves in ways they might not normally be able to do so when focused on learning other things.
Donnely added that it also benefits the teachers, who must find time to squeeze in art between other lessons.
“[Art] would be a 30-40 minute block of time where the students are gone doing something that is beneficial to them,” and it would allow the teacher time to work on planning.
Donnely said that while she was representing the PTO, she also had a personal interest in bringing art back. Her daughter is an elementary student, and Donnely said she regrets that her daughter doesn’t have an official art class with a professional teacher leading the way.
Donnely also pointed out at the hearing that Grayson Highlands is the only elementary school in the county that doesn’t have any athletic facilities or ball fields.
Donnely said the PTO is working on raising funds, but needs the school board to help out if it can.
“We understand it’s a multi-year process,” Donnely said.
In the PTO, much of the hard work put in by parents won’t benefit their own children currently enrolled in the school, but their efforts will benefit future students. “We feel strongly that the accessibility of athletic facilities is important for the community and our students.”
Donnely referenced a speech earlier in the meeting, in which Division Superintendent Kevin Chalfant pointed out that school board members have an effect on the present and future lives of the children. She added that both art and athletics have an effect on that, as well.
The school board will hold its first budget work session on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. in the Grayson County Courthouse Boardroom. The board will hold a second budget work session on March 4 at 6 p.m. in the Independence Middle School Library.
Both meetings are open to the public, but public comments will not be heard.