Bay Area high school needs more instruments and funding

TAMPA, Fla. — Tattered Trombones and worn down woodwinds — one of the largest high school bands in Hillsborough County hopes the community can help with their growing needs.

"It completely just broke off of this. It’s supposed to have one of these,” said Robinson High School Freshman Ana Elizondo, as she points out the broken strap on her instrument case. 

"I just can’t play those high notes,” she said, referring to the broken key on her instrument.

She shares an instrument that’s several years old. Dozens of other students have used it in the past. But she can’t afford her own, neither can Bryce Buckland.

"I couldn’t afford to pay $1,000 a year to be in band that’s why am blessed and privileged to be a part of this program where we don’t have to pay as much,” said Buckland, a senior at Robinson High School.

Sharing instruments is a common practice but some of them are more than 10 years old. 

Chris Revett, the Robinson High band director says funding is low and the Hillsborough County School district doesn't have a lot of it either.

According to the district, it's flexible funding for schools, used to pay teachers and staff, create new programs and support classroom needs will see a 47 cent per student increase from the state. Officials with the district say that is 300 times less than the budget initially proposed this year by Governor Rick Scott.

'I’m very nervous with where we’re heading, especially for next year. Funding is difficult especially in a county this size. It makes it very hard to determine where money is supposed to go,” said Revett.

It’s why he hopes the public will help with fundraising opportunities, donations for new uniforms and instruments and business sponsorships.

"We spent about $14,000 on U-Haul rentals over the last six years,” he said.

A 26 ft. enclosed trailer to transport their stuff to competitions and performance will help eliminate that cost. They are still looking for that.

"There is an abundance of creativity in the world and I think it’s very important to our culture that we recognize that and we try to capitalize on that while we have the opportunity,” said Buckland. 

If you’d like to help the Robinson High School band, Revett says you can e-mail him, Christopher.Revett@sdhc.k12.fl.us or Beth Edwards at Karlinchasemom@yahoo.com. Or you can contact the school as well.

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