For the last two years, the MEP program has been running with a small deficit.
This has come about because we have taken several opportunities to expand the program (more rock bands, a second percussion ensemble, a string ensemble) which were not costed out at the time we set the fees.
We don’t regret doing this – the point of the program is to encourage as much participation in music as possible. And we’ve been able to afford it, as we’ve built up a healthy reserve from fundraising over many years. But we clearly can’t carry on like this indefinitely.
Also, the rates we pay to our conductors have not been increased for several years, and are below those paid by similar school programs. Our conductors are the lifeblood of what we do, and there is a feeling amongst parents that we need to increase conductors’ fees from next year.
At the next MEP meeting, we will have a discussion about setting the MEP fees for next year, taking into account our already increased costs, and a proposed increase in what we pay our conductors. One suggestion is that we start charging students different amounts depending on which and how many ensembles they participate in. We have always resisted this in the past, but it may prove a fairer way of going about things.
We ask for as many people as possible to come to the next MEP meeting, to contribute to this discussion
Clive Hopkins MEP Parent Convenor