06/11/2015 11:13 EDT | Updated 06/11/2016 05:59 EDT

Band program returns, but Saskatchewan school division's budget out of tune

LANGHAM, Sask. - A Saskatchewan school division that recently overturned a decision to drop band programs due to a funding shortfall now confirms that it's cutting more than 40 positions for the same reason.

The Prairie Spirit School Division says in a letter to parents on Wednesday that more than 21 educational associate jobs, two vice-principals, eight librarians and many office positions will be slashed for the 2015-2016 school year.

Small classes will be combined, and the division points out that the list of reductions is not yet complete as it deals with a funding shortfall of more than $7 million.

It also says changes in the provincial Ministry of Education's funding formula have left it with less money in its budget.

The division had earlier planned to eliminate music course in Grades 5 to 12 at various schools, but the decision was heavily criticized by parents, students, the provincial government and musical professionals.

Trustees later said the cut would be reversed, but warned parents that difficult decisions still had to be made.

Shawna Langer, a Grade 11 student in the community of Langham, helped launch a petition to save the band program that gleaned nearly 5,700 signatures.

Langer said she never dreamed her efforts would pay off. (CJWW, CKOM, The Canadian Press)