Trumpery in action: Florida governor vetoes orchestra’s work in schools

Trumpery in action: Florida governor vetoes orchestra’s work in schools


norman lebrecht

June 04, 2017

The Republican Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has blocked a $500,000 grant that would have allowed the Florida Orchestra to work with schools and community orchestras.

The veto was part of $34 million that Governor Scott cut on Friday from the state’s budget.

The orchestra is dismayed. Its music director, Michael Francis, is a former LSO player, highly experienced in London outreach initiatives.

More here.


  • Olassus says:

    This is a state matter.

  • Alexander says:

    definitely worse than tonight’s London horror …..

    • Kostis Protopapas says:

      What happened in London was horrible, but it doesn’t mean that arts reporters should stop covering the arts. Terror wins when it becomes the only topic.

    • John says:

      Snark alert

    • Alexander says:

      “Never pause unless you have a reason for it, but when you pause, pause as long as you can.”
      ― W. Somerset Maugham, Theatre
      I said what I said . period.
      …..And for all who are guessing here – go to the church ( regardless which God you believe in) or pray where you are.

  • Steve P says:

    State grant is gone, but if service is valued by local school districts they can get funding that way, too. A great deal of state grant money given in these so-called arts grants is used to fund staffing positions, not actually paying the performers. I’ve seen it happen in our area: when state grants are not renewed, the arts organization becomes much leaner administratively; services and concerts that were planned still go on and funding is achieved thru other means.
    A non-story. And if by Trumpian you mean cutting out beaurucratic and administrative bloat, then keep on Trumpin’. I want my taxes going to roads, bridges, education, and emergency services – I’ll pay my own way to support the arts, thank you.

    • Mark Henriksen says:

      This is education.

    • John says:

      I want my taxes going to roads, bridges, education, and emergency services – AND the arts.

      • Steve P says:

        Which arts? You mean the community playhouse? The performance artists who work with feces? The afterschool art program? The poetry slam workshop? Sorry, I don’t want anything funded that isn’t clearly articulated in the state constitution. Like I said previously, between admin bloat and funding bad art – and yes, there is such a thing – I don’t trust politicians enough to make good artistic funding decisions.

        • Bruce says:

          “Sorry, I don’t want anything funded that isn’t clearly articulated in the state constitution.”

          And there we are.

    • Kostis Protopapas says:

      Agreed on the point about arts organizations often spending too much money on administrative overhead. It can be addressed through establishing some requirement of program-to-administrative expense ratio in order to retain non-profit status. The non-profit arts, in my opinion, are severely under-regulated in the US, and that often leads to disastrous decisions by Boards and executives.

      What taxes should pay for is certainly a matter for debate. My personal opinion is that tax money should be spent on tings and activities that meet two basic requirements: are highly valued by society AND cannot be effectively supported by the free market. History has shown that education, health care and culture (among other things) cannot be supported through the free market. Therefore. I believe that If society values them, then the government should support them..

  • John says:

    Interesting to see how many readers of a classical music blog seem opposed to a measly $500,000 program to bring classical music to schools.

    • Steve P says:

      $500,000 is not measly at all to me. That could fund numerous teaching positions; increase funding for social services; and extend afterschool program offerings to at-risk elementary children.
      Oh, but make sure the arts administrators and secretarys get paid for the orchestra program – that’s certainly more important.

      • MacroV says:

        $500,000 would pay the salary, benefits, pension contributions, and overhead for about 3 teachers.

        And on what are you basing your assumptions about who would get paid? It’s quite conceivable that most of the money would go simply to covering musician services or direct expenses related to the orchestra conducting this activity.

        • Dave says:

          $500,000 for three teachers? Those are some damn pricey teachers then.

          • MacroV says:

            Average Florida teacher salary: $50,000 (actually a little high, but useful for rounding)
            Social Security @ 6.2%: $3,100
            Medicare @1.45%: $725
            Employer pension contribution@ 20% of base salary: $10,000
            Health insurance benefits: $12,000
            Administrative overhead @10% of base salary: $5,000
            Miscellaneous employment-related costs @10%: $5,000

            Total estimated cost to employer of one teacher: $86,000

            OK, I assumed Florida teachers earned more: maybe 5-6 teachers. Though I suspect there are other costs that I haven’t factored in.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Sorry, as much as I love classical music, this kind of expenditure is obscene. With a $20 Trillion federal debt, states struggling to balance budgets, social problems galore with homelessness, drug abuse, illiteracy and the current health care situation, spending $500,000 on orchestra programs cannot be justified. And for all the vast sums spent on outreach programs like this can anyone demonstrate that it has done anything to increase attendance at classical events? More people will hear Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber in Manchester at one concert that will likely hear the Royal Phil all season. And please, stop blaming all of this on Trump, conservatives, or Republicans. If American Democrats had their way we’d all be bankrupt by now.

  • MacroV says:

    I dislike Trump as much as anyone, but Rick Scott didn’t need inspiration from The Donald on this one.

  • V.Lind says:

    Outreach is a donor-friendly case in Canada. The overheads, for people whose job description includes outreach (administrators) tends to be transportation costs, technical costs for the outreach visits (e.g. leaving gifts/materials behind), and, with unionised orchestra musicians, fees for extra services in weeks where outreach appointments might coincide with a week that uses the full number of contracted services. As this is avoided where possible, the sums are not immense,donors can be attracted to reaching out to kids, and programmes can be expanded or contracted as contributions dictate.

    Surprised this is not the norm in America.

    • Stephen Owades says:

      Outreach is also government-friendly in America. It’s easier for politicians to support a grant that benefits outreach to young people than one that pays ordinary overhead or salaries for an orchestra or other musical organization. Private donors may be more attracted to prestigious public activities. When times are tight, or government is particularly benighted (as with Rick Scott in Florida), everything can be cut.