A number of concerned community members voiced their opposition Monday, March 12 to proposed curriculum changes they felt could affect the Olivet Community Schools band program. The Olivet school board received a proposal that showed a slight change to how electives were scheduled at the middle school level.

Olivet Community Schools Superintendent Rocky Aldrich said the crux of the issue centered on the elimination of fifth grade band, which he said was never on the table.

“Fifth grade band was never going to be cut,” Aldrich said. “I think there was some misunderstanding. We’ve already developed a schedule the band director can support.”

Aldrich said changes to the schedule were necessary to allow for more electives for the middle school students.

Members of the teaching staff and community spoke passionately March 12 about the need for a successful band program in the district and its impact on student achievement.

Olivet teacher Randy Smith, who has had four children go through the band program said, “When I hear a proposal that has the potential to reduce the amount of engagement not just academically, but some of the social and behavioral pieces, I’m really leery of when we have something that works really well then we are thinking of maybe solving a short term problem, but maybe we’re creating a long term problem down the road.”

Aldrich said he appreciated the passion shown for the band program and is happy to report band director Dave Funk will have fifth grade band students three days a week.