The measure relating to artistic and musical education does not arouse any organized opposition

| Photo courtesy of Ian D. Keating/PxHere (CC BY 2.0)

By STEVEN HERBERT

Proposition 28 from Tuesday’s ballot would provide additional funding for arts and music education in public schools without raising taxes, and it has drawn no organized opposition.

What funders have dubbed “The Arts and Music in Schools – Funding Guarantee Accountability Act” would allocate 1% of state and local funding required for public schools each year to supplement funding for arts and music education in all schools. K-12 public schools, including charter schools.

The initiative would allocate a greater proportion of funds to schools serving the most economically disadvantaged students. Schools with 500 or more students would be required to spend at least 80% of the funding on employing teachers and the rest on training, supplies and educational partnerships.

Passing the initiative would lead to increased spending on arts education in schools, likely in the range of $800 million to $1 billion per year, starting in the 2023-24 school year. according to an analysis by legislative analyst Gabriel Petek and Keely Martin Bosler, the director of the Department of Finance.

Austin Beutner, the former Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent who drafted the measure, called it “a passion project of mine.”

“My family moved many times when I was young and I attended many different elementary schools,” Beutner told City News Service. “As a shy kid entering a new fifth-grade class in the middle of a school year, my concern wasn’t reading or math. It was who I went to lunch with on my first day of school. since I didn’t know anyone.

“Fortunately, a teacher invited me to a music lesson at lunchtime. The cello became bass then guitar. With that came a sense of agency and trust. I could perform in front of thousands of people before I could speak in front of dozens. But it all started with a group of friends and a sense of belonging that I found in that fifth-grade music class.

Beutner said during his three years as superintendent, “I visited hundreds of schools and always asked what I could do to help.”

“Invariably, someone at school — a teacher, student, or family member — would tell me they wish their school had a more comprehensive arts or music curriculum,” Beutner said. “Every student in every school should have the opportunity to participate in artistic or musical activities.”

No arguments against Proposition 28 were submitted for the Official Voter Information Guide.

Beutner donated $4.2 million to the campaign on behalf of Proposition 28, while the political arm of the California Teachers Association donated $2.5 million and the Fender Musical Instruments Corp. $1.2 million, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Los Angeles Clippers owner Steven Ballmer and actress Monica Horan donated $1 million each.

Horan is best known for her recurring role as Amy MacDougall on the 1996-2005 CBS comedy “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which her husband Philip Rosenthal created and produced.

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