On Thursday, March 3, Mike Quilling, vice president of Kansas Music Educators (KMEA), was one of dozens of Kansas music teachers who attended the Arts Day at the Capitol in Topeka to discuss the importance of arts education with their legislators.
The KMEA delegation on March 3 with Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (center) on Arts Day at the Capitol in Topeka. Delegation members included Susana Kingsley, Mrs. Kansas 2011; KMEA Advocacy Chair Fred Burrack; Lori Supine, owner of Senseney Music Store (Wichita) and member of the NAMM Board of Directors; USD 434 (Santa Fe Trail) band director, Lance Quilling, and KMEA Vice-President, Mike Quilling.
KMEA members joined other arts educators in the effort organized by Kansas Citizens for the Arts. KMEA members participate annually as an advocacy event during MENC’s Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®). Rebecca Bollig, the KMEA MIOSM coordinator, said their efforts this year have taken on some urgency.
On February 7, Governor Sam Brownback issued an executive reorganization order eliminating the Kansas Arts Commission effective July 1. He proposes that the Kansas Historical Society be responsible for carrying out arts programs, and that the society should form a private foundation.
According to a press news release from the governor’s office, Brownback’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012 would allocate $200,000 through the Kansas Historical Society to assist in the transition from a state agency into a private organization.
“We are very concerned about what this will mean for the arts and arts education in Kansas,” Bollig said of the March 3 advocacy efforts in Topeka.
On March 3, 2011, the Kansas Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs, chaired by Senator Pete Brungardt of Salina, heard testimony on the resolution introduced by Senator Roger Reitz of Manhattan to oppose the Governor’s Executive Reorganization Order. During Kansas Arts Day at the Capitol, Reitz spoke to arts supporters.
Some legislators oppose eliminating the arts commission, however. Kansas Senator Roger Reitz of Manhattan presented a resolution on Thursday, March 3, to the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee. If passed by the full Senate, the resolution would override the governor’s executive reorganization order eliminating the Arts Commission.
"The Kansas Arts Day at the Capitol 2011 was a huge success. At 10:30am, the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs, chaired by Senator Pete Brungardt of Salina, heard testimony on the resolution introduced by Senator Roger Reitz of Manhattan to oppose the Governor’s Executive Reorganization Order, Bollig said.
Twenty-one votes are needed in the Senate to override the governor’s proposal. Hopefully in a few weeks we will know whether the Kansas Arts Commission has been saved. The emails/letters have made a difference and our voice has been heard,"she added.
At KMEA’s MIOSM booth at the state In-Service Workshop in February, Bollig worked to remind members that March MIOSM events are a perfect time to advocate for school music programs.
She played the 2011 World’s Largest Concert® (WLC®) DVD, passed out MIOSM buttons and MIOSM information, and urged members to participate in the Arts Day advocacy event at the Capitol.
The WLC, which will be held Thursday, March 10, is an MIOSM centerpiece, but MENC also encourages members to use the month of March to advocate for their music programs
KMEA paid to produce a public service announcement featuring a popular local weathercaster, who used a KMEA-written script. The spot began running on KAKE-TV10 (Wichita) in late January.
It will appear through the end of April (442 times over 13 weeks), which coincides with the Kansas legislative session.
KMEA also is working to get the message about the national arts education funding crisis out to members. The association added an MENC video of MENC Executive Director Michael A. Butera discussing the national arts education funding crisis to the home page of the association website.
March has just begun, but it is not too late to plan an event. Look for suggestions on MENC’s MIOSM page (link below).
In addition, follow state MIOSM advocacy activities throughout the month of March.
- MENC Legislative Memo
- Music In Our Schools Month
- The World’s Largest Concert
- MENC Round-Up of state MIOSM Activities
- KMEA Home Page
- KMEA MIOSM Page
- KMEA Advocacy Page
—Roz Fehr, March 4, 2011. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education