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To many, the day the music died was February 3, 1959.
But to those in a tiny northern Michigan school district, it's been changed to June 27, 2011.
Monday night, the Forest Area Community School district, serving Fife Lake (pop. 466) and South Boardman (unincorporated) with two elementary schools and a 7-12 high school announced that they are discontinuing music education for the 2011-2012 school year due to budget cuts that most schools in Michigan are facing.
The announcement was made in front of people protesting the decision by superintendent John Smith in the band room at the high school in Fife Lake. He said that he didn't want to cut the program, but with the district's $260,000 shortfall, it had to happen.
Many students are upset over the decision, including Sara Bevis who told Traverse City NBC affiliate WPBN that if it weren't for the program, she would have dropped out of school. Her sister even stated that the program helped her express herself and showed people her talents.
It seems that the Fife Lake/South Boardman area has had its share of bad luck. After all, Forest Area Schools were created in 1975 when the two towns' schools - both only K-7 - merged because neither Kalkaska nor Manton schools accepted their 8th grade students. Today, if you're a teen in those two towns, you're already in a sea of nothing to do since the nearest fast food's 10 miles away in Kalkaska, the closest movie house is 30 miles away in Traverse City, but, hey! You have a bowling alley out in the sticks and a few bars and restaurants that appeal to drunks and old people!
At least Fife Lake has a fairly new supermarket, Fife Lake Village Market. In 2003, the town lost it's then-sole grocer, Kimball's - which had been in business since the early 1900's - thanks to competition from other towns and an apparent lack of interest from its then-owners to keep the store running. The Village Market opened two years later bringing a nice, fresh, new store in town, but sadly, they're now probably planning to stock up on condoms since, well, the only thing for teens to do in Fife Lake is to screw like crazy.
Same goes for South Boardman's Country Store/Marathon gas station, a former IGA that no longer sells meat or produce (although their butcher's block is still intact in the back). Say, don't they still sell Hustler? (innocent whistle followed with a Cheshire grin)
Point is, the youth of Forest Area need an outlet for their creativity, and it's been taken away from them. Guess who took it from them? The Forest Area school board pointed their fingers at none other than "state leaders". Translation: the tough turd.
Yep! Gov. Rick Snyder is mainly to blame for Forest Area's silence because he slashed 10% of its budget and other school districts for the 2011-2012 school year, or about $715 per student. Yet, he's given the state's wealthy $1.8 billion in tax breaks.
So, while a 16-year-old in South Boardman will never learn how to play the trumpet and will probably resort to teenage pregnancy thanks to a lack of anything to do, the DeVoses will plan another LipDub in a nice part of Grand Rapids. Yeah, yeah, Snyder only took a $1 salary for this year, but it's not enough to boost his reputation.
Here's some simple math: a 14-year-old today will be how old in four years? RIGHT! 18! If today's 14, 15, 16 and 17-year-olds are getting screwed educationally thanks to Snyder today, they can all help chip in to help vote this loser out! Now that's a concept!
But, he'll probably find a way to screw that up. Maybe he'll hire Justin Bieber (or any teen star of 2014) to help with his campaign that year. Hey! He spent over $10 million of his own money to get into the Michigan White House (competitor Virg Bernero spent nowhere near that), so anything's possible.
Once again in the end, don't blame me, I never voted Republican in my life.
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