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Mount Washington Parents Call for Action to Prevent Arts Program Cuts

The proposed cuts would completely eliminate arts funding at the elementary school level.

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Directors will on Tuesday consider $557 million in budget reductions, including the complete elimination of elementary school arts funding.

According to a board of education report, the board is considering three potential "budget balancing" options. Option A would call for the board to make no cuts, and bank on receiving $557 million proposed state and local revenue initiatives. In the second option, the board would make $194 million in cuts, while using $362 in new revenue sources to address the district's ongoing structural deficit.

Through the the third option, in which the district would receive no new revenue sources, the board would need to make $557 million in cuts, including the $18 million elementary arts program.

The elimination of the arts program would result in the layoffs of 203 full time employees.

Other cuts would result in increased class sizes, reductions in funding for gifted and talented programs, adult education programs and after school youth services programs, among others.

A full list of proposed cuts can be downloaded from the media box above.

In response to the proposed cuts, the Mount Washington Parent Teachers Association and the Friends of Mount Washington School are urging parents to take action.

From the Mount Washington PTA Blast E-Mail:

The PTA is calling for action of ALL parents. The Board of Education will be finalizing the 2012-2013 budget on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. The meeting will be at 333 S. Beaudry Ave., Los Angeles, 90017. LAUSD School Board meetings are open to the public. Due to heavy media coverage and major issues within LAUSD, it is expected that this meeting will draw large crowds. We encourage our parents to attend this meeting. Those who can attend are advised to arrive early and plan to stay for several hours. Some schools are bringing children with them and/or hand written notes.

The Mount Washington PTA and Friends of Mount Washington Association are also calling on parents to send school board member Bennett Kayser and Superintendent John Deasy with the following form letter, urging them to not support the proposed cuts.

In a with Patch, Elizabeth Valentino said the proposed cuts would be "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."

Susan R February 14, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Just wait until all those lawsuits start filing in from the students in South Central from the teacher abuse cases. LAUSD may fail to exist. That would be good news!!
clvngodess February 14, 2012 at 04:46 PM
As I posted on the HHPNC Facebook page, you can take action here: http://advocate.artsforla.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9435
Hooper Humperdink February 15, 2012 at 12:14 AM
What is the point of school if you remove the arts? Are we even a civilization once we stop teaching our children dance, music, poetry, painting, and other expressive forms? I guess now would be a good time to set up a private art academy in one of the many vacant store fronts in the area. Pay-per-visit cultural education is all we'll have left. Good old LAUSD.
Monty Washington February 15, 2012 at 08:35 PM
"Are we even a civilization once we stop teaching our children dance, music, poetry, painting, and other expressive forms?" Hey, the Nazis came from a culture that gave us Beethoven, Bach, Mozart... Art is not civilization, but it is an important means of human expression- a tool, neither inherently good or bad. Even if they have "the complete elimination of elementary arts funding", it doesn't mean kids can't / won't be taught any art- it just won't be through dedicated art teachers that rotate school to school, but instead will be taught by the teachers already in the classrooms. If we can manage to teach mathematics and English this way, why not art? When we were kids, that was how it was done, and we did wonderful art projects then. I still have some of mine. Folks, there just isn't enough money to keep paying the expanding pension and benefits for retired teachers and keep running the schools the way we have been for the last three decades. We spend more now per student than we have ever- where has it all gone? Too much goes to running a Department of Education in Washington D.C. that takes our tax dollars, spends a bunch running the department, then sends it back with strings attached no one likes- 'No Child Left Behind' ring a bell? Eliminate the Department of Education- for our children.

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