Steelpan facing axe at schools

By Gerald V. Paul

With steel pan music, among others, about to be kicked to the curb out of the Toronto public board’s elementary school music programme, Canadian stars including Anne Murray and Guns N’ Roses are coming to the rescue with an international petition.

Some 24 instructors who coach music and 83 others who teach steel pan, strings and band, could be affected by the move if the music programme is shut down.

Staff proposed the music cuts to help battle the board’s $27-million deficit, and the cuts were detailed in a document presented at a recent budget committee meeting where they were voted on by trustees.

Under the provincial curriculum, elementary teachers must cover some form of instrumental music between grades 5 and 8.

The board hires the 24 musicians to coach teachers side by side in class over two years as a form of “staff development.”