Schoolpower Carries the Tune for Student Musicians

The school district’s music program received a critical lifeline this week when Schoolpower officials announced Tuesday the organization will donate $78,000 towards the purchase of new instruments.

Previously, most parents rented instruments for their children participating in the K-12 music program. But this year the burden of supplying instruments to band members fell to the district as a result of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the State of California challenging the fairness of school districts imposing fees or requirements on parents for student participation.

As a result, the district has been leasing instruments for $6,500 per month since September, said Supt. Sherine Smith. District officials determined that purchasing instruments outright, priced at $165,000, would prove more cost effective, but lacked about half the amount needed. Hence a recent urgent request to SchoolPower, the nonprofit that has raised enrichment funds for Laguna schools for years, to bridge the gap.

The nonprofit’s endowment board met on Nov. 4 and approved the request. “Everything just fell into place,” said SchoolPower president Marcus Skenderian. Usually such requests take longer, but supporters wanted to act quickly so that the district could avoid incurring more rental charges.

“We are very grateful for the generosity and support of SchoolPower and the endowment,” said Smith, adding that the district will establish a reserve fund for repair and replacement of future instruments.

“It’s exciting, it’s another way we can help out,” said Skenderian. SchoolPower has also started a “Play It Forward” campaign to seek donations of new and gently used musical instruments for student use. Donations can be dropped off at the SchoolPower office, 733 St. Ann’s Drive, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays between Nov. 28 and Dec. 3.


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