With budget cuts threatening programs in schools throughout the city, P.S. 46’s ballroom dancing curriculum might have fallen victim to a lack of funding.
“Given a choice, I could not justify funding the ballroom dancing classes – as opposed to providing funding for the entire school,” said Marsha Goldberg, the school’s principal.
However, a grant from the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has saved the program, at least for next year.
The ballroom dancing classes, which cost $7,500 per year, are given to the Alley Pond School’s fifth graders as a special treat before they graduate. Classes run twice a week for approximately 20 sessions. Students in the program learn dances such as the Tango and Foxtrot.
“I just felt it would be a wonderful activity. It’s something that teaches them cooperation and socialization,” said Goldberg. “It’s a wonderful skill to have. These children come out knowing the dances. It makes them feel good. They teach [them] to their parents.”
In light of recent budget cuts, Goldberg was forced to choose between providing funding for the classes and maintaining the upkeep of her school.
“In order to save all the classroom positions I have, I did not have the money to fund the ballroom dancing [classes] to make the commitment for next year,” Goldberg explained.
Luckily, the school’s PTA and co-presidents Donna Benkert and Eva Tahliambouris, came to the rescue. After numerous parents and several of the fifth graders were upset by the news, the PTA worked with Goldberg to provide a $5,000 grant for the classes,
A check was presented at graduation ceremonies on Friday, June 25, much to the parents’, students’ and teachers’ delight.