Our View: School district should help pay for band expenses
With a unanimous vote and the flick of some pens, the Douglas County commission has thrown down a $15,000 gauntlet for the school board.
The commissioners were pleased to pledge $15,000 from the county’s general fund to send the Douglas High School band to Washington, D.C., to be part of the Presidential Inauguration. But the unspoken challenge was as obvious as the lettering on the band members’ jackets: the school board had also better step up.
There will be naysayers, protesting the use of tax dollars to send a select group of people on an exclusive trip. There will be skeptics, pointing out that the school district has a lot of requests that go unfunded because there just aren’t enough dollars.
True, but there are never enough dollars to do everything. This is also the very sort of thing contingency funds are intended for – the difference is that instead of an unexpected crisis, the money will fund acceptance of an honor that was extended to only a handful of high school bands in the Western United States.
While it would be nice if the private sector jumped in and handled the full $65,000 cost of the trip, that’s an unrealistic expectation. Besides, public dollars pay for a lot of things that benefit a few and aren’t used by the majority; why not pay for an exceptionally positive cause that does nothing but showcase Douglas County and Nevada?
The school board, which has had its share of public relations blunders in recent months, has a chance to remove some of that tarnish when it meets Tuesday. Band Director Bill Zabelsky plans to be there, along with some of his musicians, asking for money. The school board should match the county’s pledge.