CAPA Concert Raises Awareness Of Potential Budget Cuts

By Kym Gable

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Current and former students at downtown Pittsburgh’s Creative and Performing Arts School took to the stage to send out a “call for help” as the magnet school faces a possible $550,000 cut in its budget.

The theater was standing-room-only as singers, dancers and musicians performed.

The nearly 900 students at CAPA 6-12 are in jeopardy of losing 25-percent of their arts program staff, including as many as 22 adjunct instructors.

Pittsburgh City Schools faces a $38 million budget shortfall and the school board is looking at ways to cut costs.

The proposed changes in music education are significant. At CAPA, the costume department has already been absorbed and private lessons scaled back.

Eighth grader Habiba Hopson told KDKA’s Kym Gable, “We hope this raises attention to the Board of Education not to do the budget cuts and keep the adjuncts because they’re the ones providing us with this education.”

“It’s just an awareness. It’s not a benefit concert. We’re just trying to make people more aware of the importance of the arts,” said CAPA graduate Daniel Blumenfeld.

Broadway actor Billy Porter, a 1987 CAPA graduate, was among the performers. The school started a fundraising campaign Monday night to try to offset some of the cuts.

CAPA High School
Pittsburgh Public Schools


One Comment

  1. Carol Moore says:

    Other schools closed or are closing. Children in most schools don’t have the opportunity that the children have at Capa. To want to keep what other children never had or lost is selfish. Where is the support for the schools thats closing. Be glad its just a few cuts and not a closed school.

    1. SS says:

      yes eneryone should be the same! A communist state! Lets raise our youth to be loyalists to the state while we are at it.

    2. Marlo says:

      Think about the people losing jobs, about the chances some of the boys and girls would miss because of these cuts. Other schools could fight and protest and cry out for help but they choose not to. Don’t attack CAPA just because we want to do something about it.

    3. Marlo says:

      think about the people losing jobs and all the doors that will be closed, oppritunities missed because of these cuts. other schools could fight too they just chose not to so dont attack capa for it.

      1. Carol says:

        Other schools have fought to keep their doors open. The empty biuldings are proof that it fell on deaf ears. My question to you is why should CAPA be exempt from any cuts?

      2. capa oh no says:

        hey carol guess what color works lol now yer cookin

    4. Maeve Montgomery says:

      its not selfish. a ton of teachers will be out of the job and kids will loose their oppurtunity to be competitive in college and further in life. Its not just about their private lessons its about loosing the dynamic of the school. Have you ever been in CAPA before? It is school where you are accepted for being you. Kids are singing down the hall you can hear music ringing through the halls at all times of the day. those kids, who do not have the means to train other places are doing what they love. CAPA is the top school in the district and for good reason. Those kids, some coming from the worst areas of the city, are determined, why break their spirits? why try and fix something that isn’t broken? CAPA is reaching out asking you to not ruin their hopes of being successful in what they love. how dare you call that selfish

  2. Janet says:

    At fiirst when I read the headline I thought it was a call for donations for child abuse victims.

  3. Thomas J Duttine says:

    I don’t think it is the job of taxpayers to pay to teach song and dance…Reading and writing yes but not song and dance..If these kids are talented, and they are. It’s their PARENTS job to pay for this kind of education!

    1. Hsiao-Yen Lee Jones says:

      Are you saying the artistic careers are less valuable than academic ones? High school is about figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life. How are kids suppose to do that if they never even have the opportunity to be exposed to the possibilities. The kids that do go to CAPA are the ones whose families otherwise wouldn’t have the financial means to provide these opportunities. So if programs like these are cut, these kids will literally have no other options.

      1. Thomas J Duttine says:

        If you can’t afford it you don’t get to do it…..SIMPLE!

    2. Marlo says:

      Not everyone at CAPA has money if that’s what your assuming some of us need these voice lessons for the simple fact we cant afford them outside of school.

      1. Thomas J Duttine says:

        Damn shame.

    3. Maeve Montgomery says:

      dear sir do you know what it means to have a PUBLIC performing arts school? voice lessons are very much needed. CAPA has been around for years and its just now you decide they are being selfish about their school…..very funny to me actually. times get rough so get rid of the arts. hm a city with such a big cultural district but yet so many close minded people. tis a pity.

    4. Jay says:

      You’re quite a red neck ignoramous.

  4. tocchet says:

    demorats spent all of your money on obamy.

  5. Jessica Homes says:

    I agree with Thomas, it is not the job of the tax payers to pay for private lessons for these kids. Other public schools are having entire music and art programs cut and theses spoiled brats are worried about private lessons!?! Get a grip people! Wake up to the real world. If the world is a stage, then it’s time to get a lesson in life.

    1. Thomas J Duttine says:


    2. Marlo says:

      Maybe you should stop being so cynical and think about the bigger picture. Its not just private lessons, its more than that. but i guess your too busy being close minded to actually think and look further into it. p.s we’re not spoiled brats, we’re hard workers and determined students.

    3. Natalie Somerville says:

      When people get together to share creativity in a community that cares to receive that art, it’s alright if you do not have a seat in the audience. But when students, teachers, alumni, and community gather for the sake of saving something critical to their program, look at the result. These passionate “brats” are using the talent that they have been shaping. These “spoiled brats” are emphasizing the emphasis of the program in which they are a part of. Life may not be scripted word for word, but an outlet of expression is a lesson many do not learn and a lesson that is being cut from program after program. The show was not only for CAPA but for the sake of the art that is struggling to survive in a consumer’s ecosystem.

    4. Alexis Whitehead says:

      EXCUSE YOU! But every child has the opportunity to audition into CAPA. It benefits the tax payers to have CAPA because there is a 98% graduation rate, and other schools that just have academics have lesser graduation rates. We are a blue ribbon school, visited by dignitaries from around the world. If you want to cut private lessons from CAPA, then why not cut science from Pittsburgh’s SciTech??? (not that I’m hating on SciTech, because they deserve what they work for) I believe that over at the Administration building in Oakland is so top heavy with administrators and schools that have too many principals/administrators that make between 90.000 – 150,000 dollars a year, when our art teachers only make around 25,000 a year, and did not receive a bonus like all other administrators around the district because they are not considered “real teacher” when in reality, they are helping us get ready for college as much as our academic teachers are. And in order to make it in the entertainment industry, you have to go to a good college for the arts. And entertainment is one of the biggest aspects of everyday life. And by the way, my parents taught me not to call people names, so what’s up with “spoiled-brat”?!?!?! For your information EVERY SINGLE PERSON that is in CAPA works their butt off every day from 7:45am to 3:50pm. And I bet that you wouldn’t take sports away from any of the Pittsburgh Public Schools when CAPA doesn’t even have sports. And if you still think we are spoiled brats with a 98% graduation rate, than fine ill be one talented, successful, 4.0 spoiled brat, who deserves what they work hard for.

  6. James Mooney says:

    They closed Connelly Trade School, but kept CAPA open. The odds of a student getting a career out of a Trade is better then making a living from CAPA.
    Connelly Trade School was bought, and is being run as a private for pay school.
    So the School Board choice to close a school that was viable, and keep CAPA.
    Close CAPA, and open a trade school.

    1. Thomas J Duttine says:

      Good point!

      1. Maeve Montgomery says:

        its a damn shame there are people in the world that think this way. CAPA does not just produce amazing talent in their art form but extremely intelligent and hardworking students all together. CAPA has a 98% graduation rate. this school gives children the confidence to succeed.did you also know if you don’t hold a certain grade point average your kicked out? they have the top reading writing and math scores in the district. in fact their motto is “believe, work to achieve and you will succeed.” tearing apart the dynamic of the school you tear apart their spirit. so i state again, if its not broke don’t fix it.

  7. snail trail says:

    Watch out! I believe the police enjoy beatingthese kids up.

    1. karla says:

      good point!!

  8. WHJ says:

    Too bad that cuts need to be made but private voice and music lessons are the most expendable. These are trying times and if the CAPA community is strong enough it will find a way through volunteers and donations. Private lessons are nice but not core education. Fund those who need itfirst. Core education and job training for as many as possible should be the focus.

  9. Marlo says:

    For those of you above that encourage the cuts, I would like to point out that you are simply narrow minded and most likely jealous. At CAPA we work HARD for what we have and to say that all schools should be equal is unfair to the teenagers that work above and beyond! We aspire to be more than just some other person walking down the street on their way to some miserable cubicle. What if this was your kid ? Would you be so willing to turn your back? We deserve every bit of what we have and the only reason we get attacked is because you hear the word CAPA and think “Oh they have everything handed to them”. You’re wrong and sadly mistaken. We are hard workers and for those of you that believe we cant get anywhere. We will.

    1. Andy says:

      Most of those that are encouraging these type cuts are ignorant red neck right wing hate mongers. Just like our lousy governor.

  10. Maeve says:

    its a damn shame there are people in the world that think this way. CAPA does not just produce amazing talent in their art form but extremely intelligent and hardworking students all together. CAPA has a 98% graduation rate. this school gives children the confidence to succeed.did you also know if you don’t hold a certain grade point average your kicked out? they have the top reading writing and math scores in the district. in fact their motto is “believe, work to achieve and you will succeed.” tearing apart the dynamic of the school you tear apart their spirit. so i state again, if its not broke don’t fix it.

  11. Erin says:

    If this budget cut goes through, I can guarantee talented and intelligent students will no longer come to CAPA. Does anyone here want another failing Pittsburgh public school? Sure, these students may not be carpenters or electricians or have a “useful” trade, but they are doing what they love in a school that accepts and leads them to beter success. So what if a trade school closed? I guess your answer is we should close more schools? Or, even better, pressure kids to take a career they don’t want. By all means, let’s encourage mediocrity and an abandonment of passion in this city. Is cutting funding for the one of the few successful schools the answer? If it is, then thank you Pittsburgh. I’m truly looking forward to seeing more dropouts and pregnant teens on my street.

  12. Erik says:

    People can listen to music, see a movie, go to a dance, or even look at a painting. But most of the time no one can see the work. Any great singer or instrumentalist came from private lessons. It is the only way to truly learn. The cuts to the private lessons is just the beginning. It wont be long till Capa is no longer Capa. Soon it will be just like every other school out there and art will just a memory of the school. To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist. ~Schumann

  13. Marlo says:

    People are trying to tear away the very essence of the school and trying to break away what makes everything about CAPA amazing! We go to this school because its a safe haven, an escape from the cruelty and misunderstanding from people like you. At CAPA we’re accepted for who we are regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, or past mistakes and regrets. Answer me this: If your child went to a school where they didnt have to worry about being bullied or harrassed, a school where they could truly be themselves, a school where they got to live their dreams every single day while learning and working…would you tear that away from them? Could y bring yourself to do that? Then why do it to us? We’re not broken, we’re struggling. We’re crying out! So help us.

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