Cuts to Orchestra Might Come from Public Schools

by ekramer on December 12, 2008

The Louisville Orchestra has taken cuts from the city and its budget may be taking hits from Jefferson County Public Schools. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Earlier this month, the city announced the orchestra would receive only half of the $220,000 it had pledged for this fiscal year.

The cut meant the orchestra had to cancel its free Martin Luther King concert scheduled for January and sent it scrambling to find more than $70,000 it had planned to spend on the orchestra’s 68-year-old program called “Making Music.” The program, which brings classical music to public schools system, has a $300,000 budget.

Robert Birman is the Louisville Orchestra’s chief operating officer.

“We’re working behind the scenes to do what we can stave off the severity of the cuts,” Birman says. ‘With the school district, we really put a priority on saving our education programs because of all the things that the orchestra does for the public, we feel those are the most valuable.”

Birman says he is worried about a recent proposal from the Jefferson County Public Schools to cut its contribution to “Making Music.” The school system recently released a plan for the next school year that proposes cutting $20,000 from its scheduled $60,000 contribution to the program. The school board is expected to vote on the proposal in an upcoming meeting.
¼br /> Birman says the orchestra began scrambling to make adjustments after the city announced its funding reducations.

“We’ve already made cuts to public performances, largely in the area of free concerts, for instance the Martin Luther King concert,” Birman says. “We’re looking at mainly reducing variable costs, like advertising, promotions, general overhead and costs like that.”

The concert Martin Luther King concert had been scheduled for Jan. 18.

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