New bill limits marching band’s transportation budget


Ema Dorsey

Buena's music department may lose funding as a result of the passing of AB 1575. Credit: Stevi Pell/The Foothill Dragon Press
Buena’s music department may lose funding as a result of the passing of AB 1575. Credit: Stevi Pell/The Foothill Dragon Press

Buena High School’s marching band budget has become a source of anxiety this year for instructor Daniel Algazy. This is because a new piece of California legislation may jeopardize Buena Music Department‘s transportation budget.

Assembly Bill 1575, which was recently signed into effect by Governor Jerry Brown, reinforces an existing law that prohibits schools from charging students fees for classes and extracurriculars, an idea that, according to the bill, is written in California’s constitution. Now under the new law, the district will only be allowed to ask for donations and have fundraisers in order to raise money.

“The idea is fair,” said Algazy “but it takes a lot of choice to make real educational opportunities happen.”{sidebar id=60}

All five of Buena’s marching band competitions are in distant areas and require transportation provided by the Ventura Unified School District. In the past, Buena has charged transportation fees, but now if the band class does not raise enough money, they will not be able to participate in any competitions.

“Any [marching band] events needing transportation may be canceled,” Algazy said. “We will ask the students to make donations, but if the families can’t cover these things and we don’t have enough funds, then the events will be canceled.”

In order to cover the difference, the department has planned a funnel cake sale at the Banana Festival in the Port of Hueneme and a See’s Candies fundraiser.

Sophomore marching band student David Gonzalez understands the positive side of this new bill, but he is also upset.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous not to make anyone pay, but I think it’s also good for people who can’t afford too,” he said. “But for a lot of people who have a lot of money and don’t want to pay, well, they get away with that.”

Although the new bill has caused some backlash, some counselors see the bill in a positive light.

“I think the positive side is there would be fairness among students. The bill will distribute fairness across the board,” Foothill counselor Debbie Freeman said.

What do you think?