Tuesday, July 23, 2024

California voters approve Proposition 28 for music and arts education funding

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California schools will receive a boost of about $1 billion for music and arts education starting next year after voters approved Proposition 28 on Tuesday, early election results show.

The measure was designed to replenish resources for K-12 courses such as dance, theater and graphic design that are typically the first to be cut from school budgets during financial downturns.

Proposition 28 does not raise taxes, but instead creates a guaranteed annual funding stream for music and arts education by requiring the state to set aside an amount that equals 1% of the total funding already provided to schools each year.

Tuesday’s voter approval does not come as a surprise; Proposition 28 faced no official opposition and received widespread support, including from celebrities such as Christina Aguilera and Barbra Streisand, who promoted the measure as a way to diversify the Hollywood industry and create more equity in schools.

The Associated Press called the race, though official results will take longer.

Proponents of the measure also pointed to research that shows that arts courses can improve students’ cognitive development and other academic and social benefits.

Despite a record-high state budget, and a legal requirement to offer music and arts education in some capacity, only 1 in 5 public schools in California has a full-time program, according to former Los Angeles Unified Supt. Austin Beutner, who led the effort.

The measure, approved by a wide margin on Tuesday, is set to give more to schools in low-income neighborhoods.

The proposition allows the Legislature to reduce total arts funding in years of economic trouble.

The California Constitution requires that schools receive at least about a 40% portion of the total state budget each year. The money provided by Proposition 28 will be in addition to that amount, and is to be used only for music and arts courses and teachers.

While the state provided $128.6 billion for K-12 programs in the budget finalized by Gov. Gavin Newsom this summer, it’s still not enough to support the state’s nearly 6 million students, proponents said.

The estimated $1-billion increase in school funding under Proposition 28 is less than one-half of 1% of the state’s total general fund budget, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

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