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Local

District 428 to vote on DeKalb middle school schedule changes

DeKALB – DeKalb School District 428 board members are expected to vote today on proposed changes to the district's middle school schedules.

Under the proposal, a nine-week general music class would be eliminated from the curriculum to make way for an expanded mathematics period. The band and orchestra ensembles, which were considered for elimination, would remain.

"It maintains all musical programs. There's a lot of misinformation out there; it maintains the ensembles," said Doug Moeller, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum & student services. "The only thing that would be cut is the general music, which is one of the nine-week rotations."

If approved, the changes would go into effect for the 2014-15 school year and three full-time teaching positions would be cut. Several local parents and residents attended the July 16 meeting when the proposal was discussed.

Under the current schedule, middle school students have an encore period, which includes nine-week classes in art, computers, health and general music, and an exploratory period, which consists of full semesters of band and orchestra ensembles, choir and extra help in math or language arts.

The proposal would combine the encore and exploratory periods into a single elective period to make room for a double, 88-minute period of math. The proposal can be seen through Board Docs on the district's website, moss.dist428.org.

While art and computer classes would be lengthened to fill a full semester, and health classes would be folded into the physical education curriculum, the proposal makes no room for general music.

Mark Barwegen, an art teacher at Huntley Middle School, said the changes would be detrimental to students.

"The art program will be cut down from every student having nine weeks, to only a small percentage being able to choose art for a semester," Barwegen said. "But that percentage, if they choose to take band for example, would eliminate themselves from the option to choose art. ... They're not going to have a chance to be exposed to some vital subject matter."

If you go

What: DeKalb School District 428 board meeting

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: The Forum Room at DeKalb High School, 501 W. Dresser Road, DeKalb

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