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updated: 8/27/2011 8:48 AM

District 26 parents want music, art back in classrooms

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Angela Alfe remembers when her daughter, Makayla, used to bound into the house, eager to show off the drawing or painting she had completed that day. But Alfe says her 9-year-old daughter's exuberance for art has faded in the year since Cary Elementary District 26 cut programs for art, music and physical education.

The district cut specials as part of a plan to reduce a $5.3 million deficit in the 2010-2011 school year.

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Now Alfe and about a dozen other parents are working to introduce supplemental art and music lessons for students in each grade in the district. For now, art is the focus as it requires more volunteers for hands-on attention.

"Makayla is very musical, very artistic and her favorite times of the day were music and art but she's not getting that anymore," Alfe said. "She would talk about new songs they learned and would bound into the house with her latest artwork. But now the pride isn't there anymore and that's a concern for me."

Parents will meet from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Cary Area Public Library, 1606 Three Oaks Road, Cary.

Mary Jo Marshall, a Cary resident whose two oldest children have graduated from the district, while the youngest is in the sixth-grade at the junior high school, said specials like music, art and physical education are important outlets for students.

"They have made the school day longer and now they are taking away the subjects that make the day go faster for a lot of kids," Marshall said. "These cuts are severely missed by kids."

Additionally, Marshall said the district has created an environment of the "haves" and "have nots."

"Parents now have to come up with the money so kids can participate," Marshall said. "That's what concerns me the most and angers me the most. There are kids who might want to try something but can't."

Not only are students missing out on subjects that they enjoy, Marshall said art and music can help students grasp other subjects.

"You have to use both sides of your brain," Marshall said. "Art and music can be incorporated into everyday subjects like math, history and even science. It just blows my mind that the district does not consider art and music important subjects for kids to get a rounded education."

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