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South Bay Digest

The Peninsula

October 10, 1985

The Palos Verdes Peninsula school board agreed this week to reinstate instrumental music instruction for elementary students after a community group raised $31,600 to help pay for the program this year. The trustees had earlier eliminated the program in a cost-cutting drive to balance the district's 1985-86 budget.

Brigitte Schuegraf, president of Friends of School Music, said the group still must raise about $16,000 by the end of the school year to complete its pledge to the district. The group is planning two fund-raising concerts in early 1986, said Schuegraf, who received a standing ovation from trustees and the audience at a board meeting on Monday night.

District officials said the total cost of the program for the third, fourth and fifth grades is about $80,000, mainly for the salaries of two teachers. The district will absorb about $30,000 of that cost by assigning one salaried teacher to the classes, which are scheduled to start next week.

About 400 students, or 25% of eligible youngsters, are expected to participate in the program, which has been an annual target for elimination in district budget-cutting efforts since 1979. Schuegraf said she hopes community pressure will persuade the school board to spare the program in future budgets.

"We must promote a greater awareness that instrumental music instruction is not an educational frill," she said. "It is a vital element in our community's cultural life and it helps the students develop skills that apply to many other areas of learning, such as math, science and languages."

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