Maybe it’s the impact that Glee is having on aspiring young performers. It’s certainly not the budget. The Campbell Union High School District is opening five new, state-of-the-art theaters in its high schools, at a cost of $6 million each. The message being sent at a time when staff is being cut and programs are being slashed is simple: “The show must go on!”

William Burkhead, who chairs Del Mar High School’s Performing Arts program, puts it another way: “You’ve got to be cautious, but you also can’t operate like you are at war all the time. You’ve got to provide everything possible for kids given whatever resources you’re given.” Those resources include $15 million in bonds approved by voters (but in 2006, long before the recession hit), and another $15 million in state bond funds designated for career and technical education.

The Campbell Union High School District has a decided advantage over other San Jose school districts such as East Side or San Jose Unified. Last week, The Merc reported that schools in those districts are eliminating electives due to budgetary restraints, while programs such as foreign languages, industrial design, and performing arts continue to flourish in Campbell Union. While some schools are so financially stressed that they are even outsourcing teaching to India (Milpitas is connecting students with tutors in India via Skype), in Campbell, the band plays on.
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