While the written history of the Austintown Band Parents can be traced back to the time of World War II, and the parents operated concession stands at the old high school that closed in 1969, the Austintown Band Parents Club, Inc. was formally established in 1977 “to enhance the educational development of Austintown Local School Students through participation in instrumental music education and activities associated therewith.” They set out to “provide support, both moral and financial to the extent possible to all band activities.” In addition they were to “cooperate with those leaders in charge of the Instrumental Music Department, the School Administration and the School Board of the Austintown Local School District so that this department may be developed to the highest degree of excellence.” These purposes are set forth in the By-Laws of the band parents’ organization. The organization promotes the Austintown Band programs from 5th grade through 12th grade.
The last time the residents of Austintown approved a levy giving “new” or “additional” operating money to the Austintown Local Schools was in 1997. Two bond issues for construction and renewal levies have passed since that time, but no new operating money has been approved. As a result, the school district has had no option but to “tighten” its belt and restrict spending. Salaries and benefits take most of the operational funds. Band and Extra-Curricular activities in Austintown and throughout the State have been affected by limited funding in Ohio Public Schools.
The limited or restricted funding makes the need for an organization such as the ABP Club, Inc. even more important. Uniform pants, hats, berets, and a belt for band members cost around $250 each. Jackets are estimated to cost approximately $300 each. As far back as WWII the band parents have paid for uniforms. The school budget does not have room for such costs. So, a complete new set of uniforms would cost nearly $190,000 - $250,000.
Band instruments are also expensive. While a trumpet may be purchased on-line for $400 to $700, a Silver Sousaphone will run closer to $6,000 - $8,000. That may be why you see more trumpets, clarinets and flutes in a band than a Tuba! As a result, the band parents raise funds and purchase large instruments for those musicians to use. 8 Sousaphones would cost about $65,000. The band parents have purchased not only those, but drums, xylophones, English horns, oboes, flags, and rifles over the past few years. These purchases permit the band to grow and our students to learn. These purchases meet the obligations set forth in the ABP Club, Inc.’s By-Laws.
To continue to fill these needs, to benefit our children, we are a fundraising organization.