The delay will allow leadership to gather more information regarding state and federal contributions to public education, and explore cost-cutting solutions that would prevent total pro
gram elimination. The School Board and Superintendent expressed support for a complete public education that includes the arts. Board Member Zimmer acknowledged that "Arts education is not a privilege, but a right, for all students... There is no public education without arts education." Board Member Bennett Kayser added, "When arts are incorporated in school, not just through art classes but also into the daily lessons, those kids’ brains develop better and faster."
Superintendent Deasy clarified the School Board's proposed amendment: they are authorizing a reduction in force (i.e., teacher and administrator layoffs), but will wait to send the reduction-in-force notifications until March 8th in the hope that additional revenue can be found and at least some of the positions saved. Furthermore, the School Board requests that the Superintendent’s office propose alternatives to the elimination of arts education, early childhood education and adult education, acknowledging that all three are essential components to the vitality of Los Angeles.
The LAUSD School Board plans to put forward a local parcel tax to help mitigate the major state and federal cuts that have decreased LAUSD's budget by more than $3 billion over the past four years. Each School Board member and the Superintendent urged advocates to support the parcel tax, which would cost local property owners approximately $298 per year, or less than $1/day.
Said Deasy, "Today, the battle to save public education shifts from the board room to the ballot box. Only together, we are able to keep hope alive."
Deasy noted that even in the best-case scenario, there will be a $127 million shortfall for the upcoming school year, requiring significant cuts even if the parcel tax and state-level education funding initiatives are successful. School Board Member Nury Martinez spoke to the crippling effects of the state-level budget crisis on local school district funding: "Right now, the state of California owes us [LAUSD] $1 billion. They have given us IOUs and said 'Sorry, can't pay this right now.' The state has not made education funding a priority. We can only work with the money that we have... It is a crime against children for California to be 49th in the nation in education."
For additional information on what you can do to stop the elimination of Arts programming in our schools...contact www.artsforLA.org