Eliminating the chorus class at West Mecklenburg High School causes concern

Eliminating the chorus class at West Mecklenburg High School causes concern

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The decision was made not to have chorus offered at West Mecklenburg High School next school year.

Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) District says it is expected there will be a decrease in student enrollment next year and that means there will be a decrease in funding for the school.

CMS sent this statement.

"Enrollment declines have meant tough choices have to be made at West Meck to retain core subjects such as language arts, math, science and other courses that are required for graduation…"

That decision is prompting people in the community to wonder if CMS is serious about its priority of making schools more equitable.

"West Mecklenburg presents itself as a comprehensive high school," Charlotte Black Political Caucus Chair Arthur Griffin said. "So it should have all of the program opportunities for the children that they have at the other comprehensive high schools."

The district recently released an equity report detailing how some low poverty schools have more resources and opportunities than high poverty schools.

West Mecklenburg High School is a high poverty school and students there will soon not have what other schools have - a chorus.

"We speak well of the whole child," Griffin said. "But when it comes down to spending money on resources then we pull back on that commitment of equity and it makes no sense to take away chorus."

West Mecklenburg High School's chorus teacher will be reassigned to another school. The principal says other teachers will be reassigned too because of funding.

Students are disappointed. They say being in chorus motivated them to come to school every day.

"Helps me escape situations," Student Tyresse Ellies said. "Bad ones that I could possibly be in if it wasn't for chorus."

Ellies sings tenor in the chorus. He believes there will be more enrollment problems if chorus is still not present at the school.

"It's most definitely going to be a problem next year if you take away chorus," Ellies said. "Because a lot of people aren't going to go to West Meck next year."

Students have started a petition on Change.org.  They will take the signatures to board members and hope it will be enough to bring chorus back.

Arts and Science Council is weighing in on the decision to eliminate chorus next year at West Mecklenburg High School.

"We are disappointed about enrollment challenges," Arts and Science Vice President Education Barbara Ann Temple said.

"Arts is an essential part of a sound basic education that infiltrates every subject. It is not just an enhancement."

CMS says the Associate Superintendent over West Mecklenburg High School will identify gaps next school year and then will decide what to do to help students who are missing chorus.

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