Because of a lawsuit brought against the state of Idaho, educators in our state are facing a huge paradigm shift. We are no longer allowed to charge any kind of fee or require students to supply materials for classroom instruction. In the classrooms, for example, students can no longer be asked to bring two boxes of Kleenex at the beginning of the year to share with classmates.
In Band, I am no longer permitted to charge a rental fee for using instruments. In the past, I’ve charged $50 per year and assumed all reasonable maintenance costs. I supply method books, and sell reeds to students at approximately half-price. After this ruling, if a student wants to join band, and an instrument is available, I am required to give her / him that instrument. If none are available, I am required to make room for the student in the percussion section. Now, should the child want to play the trumpet and only the trumpet and I no longer have any to rent, that becomes what is called an ‘enhanced’ situation, and the parent is responsible for providing the instrument.
I’m reeling, to say the least. I can provide instruments, but don’t know how I’ll repair them when the need (inevitably) arises. We’re still not clear as to whether we will be required to supply reeds at no cost. I can still charge admission for concerts, which will alleviate some of the burden. I have not had to fundraise in the past because rental fees generally covered the costs associated with my program.
My superintendent has told me I am permitted to limit the size of my ensembles (which is a real concern; 40 students with horns in my room is just about too many).
I’m hoping to receive input from others as we struggle to implement this ruling. Can you please help? Thanks.