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Florida Trip Earns Board Approval

By Staff | Aug 20, 2009

Recognizing that financial challenges may prove to be the biggest obstacle to overcome, the Emmetsburg Community School Board gave its’ approval to a trip for the high school music department to Florida next April. The action came during the August meeting of the school board on Monday, Aug. 17 in the high school library.

High School Vocal Music Instructor Dave Fog explained that the appearance in Festival Disney at Walt Disney World in Orlando would take place April 22-25 of 2010. Both the choir and band would take part in the trip and perform during the festivals, but that in looking at such a major trip, financial considerations were paramount.

“I really think that the expenses of this trip, roughly $950 per student, are within striking distance right now,” Fog said. “Since we first looked at this trip, the cost of airfare came down from $450 to $230 per person. We would avoid the luggage fee by sending the instruments and baggage down in a trailer like we did with the Colorado trip last year and it’s my understanding the booster club would cover that expense.”

While Fog admitted that there will be a certain number of students who may not consider going due to financial concerns, most would welcome the opportunity. “Anytime that you take a trip with a performing group, who want to take the whole group,” Fog said. “You don’t want to leave anyone behind. I feel that we can get the financial concerns licked for the people who have concerns.”

High School Principal Jay Jurrens explained to the board that he has polled the parents of high school musicians as to their feelings about the trip over the past few weeks, and that in almost every response, parents agree the trip would be most worthwhile.

“I personally really believe in these trips, because they do have a value for the students,” Jurrens said. “As I polled the parents, I promised to keep their responses confidential, and I’ve learned a lot in that time. Some parents really are facing financial hardships and very difficult times right now, and for that reason, I’m really wrestling with this.”

Jurrens continued, “Overwhelmingly, the majority of people who responded felt this would be a good trip for their kids. I’m like Mr. Fog, I want every single kid possible to go on this trip, and the way it sounds, I’d agree with Mr. Fog that the financial things could be addressed through fundraising. I’d recommend the board approve this trip, even though I know that some kids just will not go, no matter what kind of trip or where you would go.”

Fog told the board he had met with the incoming high school choir officers recently to discuss the trip and alternatives, should the financial concerns become too much. “They officers said it would be a great trip, but that they felt the kids would be content with any trip to an alternative destination. They understand that times are rough right now, too.”

“If this would whiplash back and we would have only 20 or 25 kids that wanted to go, we would back out and go for a different destination,” Fog told the board members. “If we can’t represent Emmetsburg and ourselves well, we’ll go another route.”

A question was asked as far as a timeline for finances, and Fog estimated that an initial deposit of $50 per student would be required up front to hold the air transportation, and that some kind of payment schedule would then be established for the full cost of the trip.

“I’m not sure, but I’d guess we could back out as late as November, and the original $50 would be refundable,” Fog said.

“You should know by November if you’ll have enough kids to make it a viable trip,” observed Superintendent John Joynt.

“I don’t think you’ll see a deal like this come around again for a long time to come,” agreed Board Member Dave VanOosbree, who presided over the meeting.

Jurrens pointed out that the only potential conflict with the trip would be the Drake Relays, as in past years, “but we are aware of it and would have to address it at that time.”

With little further discussion, Board member Laure Egland moved to approve the choir and band’s participation in the Festival Disney trip to Orlando, Florida April 22-25 of 2010. A second by board member Linda Tienter resulted in a unanimous 5-0 affirmative vote, with board members Karla Anderson and Don Hagen absent and not voting.