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Final measure for fourth Monroe music instructor?
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MONROE - It's been three years since a community group formed to raise money to pay for an additional band instructor for the Monroe School District.

Now, the commitment from that group, called CHIME (Community Helping Instrumental Music Education), is ending and it's time for the school district to decide if it wants to pay for the fourth band instructor position, or cut it.

CHIME formed after budget cuts forced the district to eliminate one of four band instructors in the district. The district has two instructors at Monroe Middle School and two at Monroe High School for about 400 students enrolled in the band program. The group's goal was to raise $140,000, the cost of salary and benefits for a fourth position for the three years.

Now, as the 2008-2009 school year draws to a close, it leaves the question of whether the district will retain that position.

The district administrative team will be considering the position as it looks over budget figures for 2009-2010. Superintendent Larry Brown said the administrative team is working to have a recommendation on the band position, as well as other additions to next year's budget, to the school board for its March 23 meeting.

In the meantime, the board voted Monday to issue a preliminary layoff notice to Dan Henkel, the MHS band instructor hired as a result of CHIME money. The notice is required if a district anticipates it may need to lay off instructional staff. It is not binding should the district decide to fund the position.