What does your school provide for band?

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    I’m struggling to understand new laws (maybe just in CA? I’m not sure) that prevent schools from asking parents or families to purchase materials. I understand the point, that if a textbook or lab notebook is necessary for a course that a student is required to take, then the parent shouldn’t have to shell out extra for a public school requirement. But, to what extent does this effect our band programs?

    My administration has told me that I cannot ask families to purchase method books or supplies (reeds, valve oil), which has caused my budget to balloon and be kind of out of control – and of course this limits my ability to purchase new repertoire, pay for festivals, etc since I’m providing every child with a method book to take home and unlimited reeds. The books of course are paperback and get destroyed in backpacks, so many cannot be re-used year to year….. The school is also working to raise an incredible amount of money to purchase enough instruments to furnish our entire program (160+ kids) with school instruments so we don’t have to ask families to rent anymore. Amazing, yes! BUT I’m very worried now about having to track, clean, maintain, and repair a HUGE instrument inventory – and it’s just me over here. I teach in an affluent area and have NEVER had a complaint about the cost of instrument rental. We have enough school instruments to provide them to students and families that express a financial need of course, which happens every once in a while, but I feel providing all instruments to all children is maybe going a bit overboard? I also hate the idea of saying, “Sorry, I know you really want to play flute, but we are out, so here’s this trombone…”

    I don’t know of any other schools in the area that are doing this. Does anyone have any clarification of this law or know where I can find information? I can’t decide if I’m thrilled about this change (I mean of course, new instruments!) or incredibly stressed out!

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