Students at Kansas City high school pushing for marching band

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Students at East High School are asking for a Marching Band. The group of students wrote a letter to the Kansas City School District Board of Directors asking officials to consider funding the program.

In the letter that was read aloud during the public comment period of the budget discussion for the next school year, students listed several reasons why a marching band would benefit the entire school.

Mike Meyer, one of the founders of FOX4’s Band of Angels agrees.

“Study after study has shown it provides more attendance in school, better grades and it gives kids an outlet for creativity which sparks their other education,” Meyer said.

Manny Abarca, Treasurer for the KCPS School Board read the letter in the meeting. He says he would like to see his colleagues vote to fully fund arts programs in the district.

“Arts are as important as any other extracurricular activity, “Abarca said. “So, as you look at athletics, we invest in football fields, we invest in lights, and jerseys and shoes, we need to do the same thing for our bands, our choirs, our debate teams. It’s been something that I’ve been advocating for since my time on the school board.”

FOX4 asked the district if East High School would get a band. KCPS Spokeswoman Kelly said in a statement: “We’ve been working with a group of students on this throughout the year. We love their ask and have been working through several scenarios to help make it happen. We are still in the budgeting, planning, teacher/curriculum, feasibility phase of exploring this option for our students.”

Mike Meyer says the cost of marching band typically falls on the student, FOX4’s Band of Angels works to make sure financing isn’t a barrier.

“Whether you’re in a rural community that doesn’t have a lot of funding, or you are in the urban core where they’ve completely eliminated a program, we want to target and find those kids that want to learn, want access to the arts and provide them with the tools and instruments to be able to do it,” Meyer said.

Board Treasurer Abarca recommends students, parents, community members and other stakeholders continue to reach out to their School Board Representatives to express how they would like to see the board spend the budget.

“The budget has not been approved. Although, we did have a public hearing, you can reach out to your members of the school board at any point in time and talk about budget issues,” Abarca said. “And if not this budget, we can look at next year’s budget, right? This is a process that happens every year.”

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