Economy effecting Writing/Arranging?

The Tapspace Forum ";Watercooler"; is getting a little stale... so, I thought I'd pose a question here that I've discussed with a number of friends:

Has the state of the economy effected how much writing and arranging you're doing these days?

Here in Texas, we've been insulated from much of the downturn until about this year. Plus, we are at risk of losing a significant amount of education funding next year, so I think we are about to see some interesting times. But, that might just be our little neck of the woods.
[quote author=neillandini link=topic=3988.msg21044#msg21044 date=1304599577]
Yes, I have seen a slight difference.  However keeping prices competitively low has helped.

Below is off topic and I don't post here often, but this post really caught my eye!

Gabe,

I have heard rumblings of this California/ACLU thing, can you elaborate any if at all at this point?  I am wondering if this will bring up the disparity of funding (I have found particularly for coaches/staff) for athletic vs. arts programs?  When talking with an administrator (former coach) about the sports teams possibly going to a pay-to-play system, I chuckled as this is commonplace in the band world as we know...

I am also curious if this could cause a more athletics inspired structure for marching bands/winter programs (i.e. a state structure akin to what athletics uses that is more connected to the school systems). 

Does anyone also think the case could be made under the very same equal access idea that schools should offer or continue to offer marching bands and/or winter programs because the loss of these programs would cause a lack of access?

I am very interested in this subject as we see this stuff trend across the country, anyone else dealing with this?

NL
[/quote]

Every school I work for has had meetings with their district counsel.  Most of the programs are being advised to take any mention of fees off of the website.  Most are asking for donations as opposed to fees.  The good thing is that most parents value music education and do not see this as an opportunity for them to get a free ride. Truth is that I don't know of a director who has turned away a kid due to financial constraints.

There are a few instances where parents have demanded money back pulling the ACLU card.  It is sad because most of these parents are the ones pulling up in brand new cars.  There has been one instance that I know of where the school had to pay for a student's fee for a voluntary tour.  The parent complained that if the band is going then his kid should go no charge.  The prinicpal conceded and the rest of the group had to make up for that lack of funds. 

The ACLU is scouring band/sports/cheer websites for any mention of program/participation fees. 
Ralph,

On topic:

Yes, I have found the smaller programs are having the most difficulties financially are taking that arranging money and using it to fill in the gaps in their budget...  Larger programs seem to be weathering the times well, maybe a few less tenor heads, etc.

On topic 2:

My research on this; football revenues subsidize most of not all other sports expenses (equipment, etc.).  The disparity is in coaching/staff stipends, as revenues are not typically allowed to be used for instructional or supervisory expenses.  This is where the school system has the most impact, especially in cases where the band has a equal or greater number of student participation.  If band student fees were not used for instructional expenses then they could be lower, etc.

In re-reading your post again Ralph; where does that income go?  Where and who is it spent on etc.?  Is it solely used within the athletic department, or is it spread it around?  Sorry to open this can o' worms, this is a very interesting and relevant topic as we deal with budgets, etc.

NL
[quote author=neillandini link=topic=3988.msg21044#msg21044 date=1304599577]
I am wondering if this will bring up the disparity of funding (I have found particularly for coaches/staff) for athletic vs. arts programs? 
[/quote]

Here in Texas, it's hard to compare the two. Intrinsic value aside, one brings in money and one does not. If there were weekly sold out band contests playing up on local rivalries, that would be different. I would imagine conversations about this disparity (with non band folk) would quickly dismiss the value in each activity and look solely at spending the money where it will generate more.

On the original topic...

I'm usually paid through a booster club. I would imagine the schools in lower economic communities will take the stock show route, while the higher economic communities aren't really feeling the downturn and will continue business as usual. So those with a healthy shelf will probably see an increase in sales, and I of course base this theory on absolutely no data:)
Yes, I have seen a slight difference.  However keeping prices competitively low has helped.

Below is off topic and I don't post here often, but this post really caught my eye!

Gabe,

I have heard rumblings of this California/ACLU thing, can you elaborate any if at all at this point?  I am wondering if this will bring up the disparity of funding (I have found particularly for coaches/staff) for athletic vs. arts programs?  When talking with an administrator (former coach) about the sports teams possibly going to a pay-to-play system, I chuckled as this is commonplace in the band world as we know...

I am also curious if this could cause a more athletics inspired structure for marching bands/winter programs (i.e. a state structure akin to what athletics uses that is more connected to the school systems). 

Does anyone also think the case could be made under the very same equal access idea that schools should offer or continue to offer marching bands and/or winter programs because the loss of these programs would cause a lack of access?

I am very interested in this subject as we see this stuff trend across the country, anyone else dealing with this?

NL
[quote author=Cobybos link=topic=3988.msg20980#msg20980 date=1303265374]
Southern California is facing some major problems with the ACLU.
[/quote]

WOW! The ACLU??? Dang...

As for my response to my own question: I haven't seen a decline. A couple years back, I started writing for full marching band and this has greatly increased my marketability. Since then, my business has been on a steady and blessed rise. My main concern is that the economy is going to force folks to keep from having custom shows done for them and in the process, my career as an arranger will fade in kind.

We'll see!
[quote author=Dave Ratliff link=topic=3988.msg20978#msg20978 date=1303233778]
Personally, I've seen a steady decline around here (Kentucky/Tennessee area) of writing projects over the last few years.  It seems schools are trying to make cuts as they can and ";custom arrangments"; are a place that is getting cut from my experiences.  Anyone else seeing this?

[/quote]

Southern California is facing some major problems with the ACLU. They are going after all extra curricular programs claiming that we aren't adhering to the ";free public education"; portion of the state constitution. Many bands are electing to drop the field show and only participate in parade. There are a few major programs that are ceasing all winter programs.

Fortunately, southern California is over populated and I haven't seen a drop in writing. All the schools I write for are still functioning as normal.
Personally, I've seen a steady decline around here (Kentucky/Tennessee area) of writing projects over the last few years.  It seems schools are trying to make cuts as they can and ";custom arrangments"; are a place that is getting cut from my experiences.  Anyone else seeing this?
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