The Suburbanite
  • Coventry saves the music

  • Voters, on Tuesday, approved the Coventry Local Schools combined 5.99-mill bond issue and permanent improvement levy. Passage ensures the construction of a new high school and avoids significant cuts to music and athletic programs across the district.

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  • The music won't be stopping after all.
    After a contentious campaign over a 5.99-mill combined bond issue and permanent improvement levy, Coventry Local Schools received the news district officials, teachers and students had been hoping for.
    Voters, on Tuesday, approved the ballot issue, Issue No. 5, by a margin of 2,184 votes (55 percent) to 1,771 votes (44 percent). Passage ensures the construction of a new high school and avoids significant cuts to music and athletic programs across the district.
    “We are thrilled,” Superintendent Rusty Chaboudy said. “It feels like the first day of school all over again. I couldn’t sleep last night and I couldn’t wait to get in this morning.”
    The news was received positively in the halls of Coventry High School, especially the remote corner of the building where the school's music programs are based. Instrumental music teacher David Scalise and his band classes prepared for Comet Stock, their upcoming mini-music festival featuring performances from all of the school's music groups, with the knowledge that those same groups would still be around next school year.
    "If they levy hadn't passed, then the staffing for the music department would have been cut from seven to two and that means they would have eliminated elementary music and then also all performing ensembles at the high school and middle school," Scalise said. "When I heard the levy passed, I was really relieved because we have a great music tradition here at Coventry and it's going to continue. There are so many kids that participate in these programs and it's a social thing, it's an educational piece and it's maturity piece that they would have missed out on."
    Choir teacher Julie Strebler, who splits her day between the middle and high schools, talked about meeting with fifth-graders Wednesday morning and telling them that the levy had passed and that music programs would still be available next year.
    "I started today with the fifth-graders and they knew that they're starting middle school next year and they knew that they wouldn't have any choir or any band if this levy didn't pass," Strebler said. "They came in today and the first thing I got to do was let them know that this had passed and everything is on for next year and they were all excited to meet their new director and sing next year."
    Junior Brandon Carmichael, a member of the school's men's choir, was happy to see the levy pass not only because of his own involvement in the music program, but also for his younger sister who will be coming to the high school in a few years.
    "I was excited because I made our school's chamber choir for next year and it also made me excited because my sister loves music, too, and hopefully, she'll be able to be in choir or band when she gets up to high school," Carmichael said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Another member of the men's choir, senior Danny Clemente, was able to vote on Tuesday and cited the social and musical benefits of being in the choir for all four years of his high school experience.
    "I was very excited because for one, I had voted in it, and for choir, I have been in it since sophomore year and it's meant a lot to me, the camaraderie and everything between the boys," Clemente said.
    With Comet Stock set for May 18, Scalise pointed to the event as a chance for the community to attend and see what passage of the levy means to the school and the students who will benefit from the result.
    Reach Andy at 330-899-2872 or Andy.Harris@TheSuburbanite.com.
    On Twitter: @aharrisBURB

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