Arts slighted for athletics

For approximately 25 consecutive years, I tuned and serviced the 12 pianos in the McDuffie County school system. The Board of Education always paid the bill.

In 2010, I was informed that the funds were not available to have the pianos tuned that year. The same was true in 2011 and this year.

I realize there have been drastic budget cuts in most school systems throughout Georgia. However, it makes me sad that several hundred dollars are not available to have the pianos tuned, but $3.8 million is available to do work on the football field in Thomson.

I realize this money is coming from special-purpose local option sales tax funds, and that it was designated for the purpose of making repairs and improvements to the football stadium. I often wonder what it would take for some of the SPLOST funds to be designated to tune the pianos in the school system.

I like sports about as good as anybody. My youngest son played on a AAA state championship football team for coach Luther Welsh in the 1980s. I have three grandsons playing baseball and/or football in Thomson.

There is a wonderful movie titled Mr. Holland’s Opus. Mr. Holland (played by Richard Dreyfuss) gets a job teaching music appreciation at John F. Kennedy High School. He intends on teaching for only several years; however, he ends up staying there for about 30 years.

Near the end of the movie, Mr. Holland is forced to retire because budget cuts to the music program. On his last day at the school, he and the football coach are talking. The coach is somewhat concerned about his job, too. Realizing his concern, Mr. Holland tells the coach that “the day they cut the football budget in this state will be the end of Western civilization as we know it.”

What a true statement. Sports has become one of America’s gods. How sad, and what a shame.

Tommy Burnley

Thomson

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