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."