I understand it to be a music program where you're able to create music on to a score. I dont have an alternative for you though niceties55, sorry.
My wife uses Finale in her classroom. You a fellow music teacher?
*edit* I think there is a difference though in what Finale offers. If I remember correctly there is Finale Notepad (which may be a stripped down free version) and FinaleMusic (full version, purchase required.) Check out this link maybe?
Finale Notepad: http://www.finalemusic.com/notepad/
Finale Music: http://www.codamusic.com/
I did do a google on "free music score software" and some other links came up. You might be able to find something. Sorry couldn't be more helpful. Good luck.
If you do find something ... post back ... I'd like to share it with my wife. Thanks!