Facing a $600 million budget deficit, the Los Angeles Unified School District is considering the total elimination of elementary school arts education funding, according to Arts for L.A., and county-wide arts advocacy group.
Arts for L.A. posted the following action alert on Friday, Feb 3.
The Los Angeles Unified School District has proposed total elimination of its elementary school arts education program. To take action by contacting the Superintendent and School Board, please click here. This unprecedented step will reverse a ten-year effort made by the District to restore arts education to its 700,000 students.
The post provides a link to a form letter that can be sent to LAUSD board members prior to the Tuesday, Feb. 14 Board of Education meeting, when the members are expected to begin budget discussions.
Principal Elizabeth Valentino said talks of a 100 percent cut to elementary arts education funding were "devastating."
"That, to me, is huge. Not only do the arts develop critical thinking, they make school more fun, more engaging," Valentino said. "They tap into parts of the brain that don't get used in reading, writing and math. To see that go away, it's kind of like chopping off your right arm."
Valentino said that, last year, arts were funded at Mount Washington Elementary School through a combination of $9,400 in district funds, along with approximately $9,000 more taken from discretionary Non Title-I education funds.
With the prospect of cuts to district funds looming, and the chances of receiving Non Title-I funds again slim, Valentino said the school would be forced to scramble to pay for arts education.
"It would mean that if we want to have arts art our school, we have to generate funds ourselves, and that takes away from other choices we have to make," Valentino said. "It becomes a choice, rather than something we can supplement."
Principal Marco Nava said that his school--which provides supplmental arts programs through the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts with the help of grant funding--would be in a similar situation if the cuts were made.
"If they did cut more of the arts, we really would feel some off the loss," Nava said. "Our current theater and music would be cut, and she is the one who works with most of our students."