The Manassas City School Board on Tuesday night approved the expenditure of up to $19,000 to buy 75 new uniforms for the Osbourn High School marching band, replacing 17-year-old uniforms the band now wears.
Bill Stevens, high school band director, made the appeal for the new outfits. The total cost of the uniforms is about $30,000 and the band plans to raise about half of that through community fundraising. They have raised about $11,000 so far and the board approved a budget allotment of up to $19,000 to make sure there was enough money to place the order later this year, said Board Member Tim Demeria. The money comes from the district’s $600,000 contingency fund.
“The kids are so excited about the possibility of new uniforms and the community is really pleased too,” Stevens told the board. The 75 custom-made uniforms will be enough for the existing band, which has about 50 members, and for future growth, Stevens said. A school the size of Osbourn should be able to support a band of about 200 members, he said.
The new outfits will be dark or royal blue with a military theme. Each cost about $400 and they come with a detachable cape and a feather-plumed West Point-style hat. The outfits include a jacket with “OSBOURN HS” stitched in an arch on the right sleeve and “SCREAMING EAGLES” on the left side. They will include a vest to convert the uniforms into a more contemporary look for competitions.
The band asked for money before the start of the next budget cycle because of the long lead time that it takes to make the outfits. Waiting for the upcoming budget round would mean that band members would be stuck with their aging uniforms another year, Stevens said.
In other business, the board approved $3,946 for a district wide pyramid choir concert on Jan. 31 at the 1,100-seat Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. The concert will involve about 635 choir members from all the schools, said Matt Harrison, high school choir director.
And, the board also approved a high school staff reorganization plan presented by Principal John Werner. The reshuffle, which will not cost the district any money in additional salaries, moves Freshman Academy Coordinator Mike Dufrene into an assistant principal position. With the move, the high school will now have four assistant principals. The reorganization also converts a vacant school counseling slot into a new position, Dean of Students, which the school has not had before, Werner said. That position will be primarily responsible for reducing student absences.
“We want to be as proactive as possible,” Werner said. “We want to address concerns before they become problems.”