The band director at Good Hope Middle School in West Monroe last week asked the Ouachita Parish School Board to consider expanding the band program at her school and others.

Amanda Terry, who is the band director at Good Hope, is scheduled to transfer to serve as the band director at West Ridge Middle School later this fall.

During the School Board's July 13 meeting, she told the School Board she would prefer to stay at Good Hope, requiring more money be allocated for the band program.

“If you can possibly come up with some way to save the band program at Good Hope, I would appreciate it,” Terry said.

According to Terry, school bands were as necessary to a person's experience at a football game as the football team.

“I love to watch football games. We all do,” Terry began, “Think how much that Rebel band is adding to that experience at West Monroe.”

According to Terry, sports coaches have done a “better job” than band directors of promoting the importance of their position, especially when it came to approving a budget.

“We have all these students,” Terry said. “They're playing different instruments. They're playing at different levels.”

“You'll never see a band director and a spare,” she added later. “You'll never walk into our band room and see one of us working and the other playing Solitaire on the computer. Never.”

Terry argued the lack of enough band directors and band program staff also could be a liability.

“When you only have one band director, you're setting yourself up for problems,” Terry said.

On another front, the School Board signed off on salary increases for certified and non-certified staff during the 2020-2021 year. According to formulas approved by the state, certified staff will receive an $800 raise while non-certified staff will receive a $400 increase.

In other business, the School Board adopted the rates for millages to be levied by the board during 2021.

“There's no change in any of these millages from the prior year,” said Regina Mekus, the parish school system's business manager.

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