Lawmakers have approved an increase in State Aid for schools. Now, some districts are working to restore lost programs.
The Custer School District is one of those districts. Next year both the choir and band instructors will be full-time employees. This will give instructors and students more time together to practice for performances.
Elisabeth Cherland, Custer High School choir director, said she was hired as a full-time teacher in 2009. "Two years into that, they were making lots of cuts and so they decided to cut the choir and the band both by half-time."
Since then, Cherland said she has been doing the best she can as a half-time employee. "We were able to keep our jobs but working half time. We've really worked hard so our students wouldn't see the big cuts in what they are able to do."
The students did recognize the cuts.
"When they were reduced to half-time we lost some of the resources that we needed to do the kind of activities and play some of the music that draws people toward the music program," said Hannah Pinkerton.
The restoration of resources came from the Legislature who provided schools throughout South Dakota with around three percent increase in State Aid.
Custer School District Superintendent, John Pedersen said the school district has seen better days. "Class sizes were increased, we cut back on not only academic but a lot of co-curriculum activities as well."
Pedersen said he is looking forward to the reinstatement of art programs. "We're hopeful that the worst is behind us, we think we're moving ahead."
Cherland said she also looking forward to moving forward. "Frankly when programs get cut you never expect them to come back, so we are so thrilled that this is being brought back."
Custer High School administrators are also looking to hire more coaches for their growing athletics program. And they are currently discussing a soccer program.
In addition, the school will be providing students with more academic opportunities, like advance placement tests for college, classes through Western Dakota Tech and more hands on guidance with technology.