Thursday, May 10, 2012 | 11:26 p.m.
The Clark County School District was honored Thursday as one of the best communities in the nation for music education by a national nonprofit organization.
The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation named Clark County one of the 176 “Best Communities for Music Education in America” in the nonprofit group’s 13th annual survey. There were 237 districts nationwide that participated in the survey.
Districts were chosen based on their music curriculum, programs and public support. The survey included questions about music education funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, and facilities and support for music programs.
All the schools receiving the “Best Communities” honor scored in the top 80th percentile or higher in the survey’s grading process. Survey responses were verified with district officials and advisory groups.
The accolade comes as the School District is weathering another round of multimillion-dollar budget cuts. The School District’s arts department — which consists of five staffers — oversees 328 schools with more than 1,000 teachers and 247,000 students.
“We know that communities are struggling to maintain funding for many education programs and we applaud these communities that remain committed to a complete and quality education that must include music and the arts,” said NAMM Foundation’s executive director Mary Luehrsen in a prepared statement.
Rick McEnaney, the School District’s coordinator of secondary fine arts, said he too was proud of the “Best Communities” designation, especially in light of the budget cuts that have cut music and theater programs at some schools, frozen professional development for arts teachers and scaled back teacher leadership programs.
In spite of these challenges, the School District has continued to educate all elementary school children in music and arts and about 95,000 students in grades 6 to 12, McEnaney said.
In turn, Clark County musicians have brought home three major national accolades, committed more than 70,000 hours of community service and put on more than 100 music performances this year, he said.