NEW MILFORD — The school district looks to enhance its band program by purchasing new equipment and replacing instruments and uniforms.
These requests are part of the band’s five-year capital plan in the superintendent’s 2022-23 budget proposal. The plan lists those three items at a cost of $5,000 each — which, over the next five years, would amount to $75,000.
In regard to instrument replacement, New Milford Superintendent of Schools Alisha DiCorpo said there’s already a line item for $24,000 a year in the band’s operating budget.
“Those funds cover our main refresh cycle for instrument purposes on a multi-year cycle but still reside within the operating budget as they are essential to the continued operation of the program,” DiCorpo said.
However, David Syzdek, New Milford High School’s instrumental music director, is asking for $5,000 a year over the next five years for individual instrument replacements, outside of the annual $24,000. This gives the district an extra cushion for the purchases, DiCorpo said.
DiCorpo said there have been times, over the last few years during periods of budget cuts, when Syzdek was not able to replace items such as music stands and field equipment “that are well beyond their usable life at this point,” DiCorpo said.
Each uniform, meanwhile, costs about $500 but increases with inflation, she said.
That’s why, she said the district would like to begin to add uniforms each year to replace those that are worn out.
She said she would like to make sure the district keeps up with the band’s needs “so that we don’t get in a situation where things snowball and the board is exercising a large amount of funding out of capital in order to replace large amounts of uniforms.”
The district recommends starting a fresh cycle in band so that the cost for instruments, uniforms and equipment are all in one place and “are upfront on what it takes to really run the type of band program that we have and the instrumental lessons that we afford kids to have the opportunity to take as part of the coursework,” DiCorpo said.
All band capital items will be discussed further at the January Board of Education hearings in front of the full Board of Education. All items and amounts listed on the capital plan are subject to change. The board can consider new capital projects at any time.