The San Jose Mercury News weighs in on the arts education funding debate in Calfironia:

Arts programs due for cash infusion
Mercury News Editorial
This weekend and next, Willow Glen High School will perform the musical “Once on This Island'' with a new partner, Children's Musical Theater San Jose. Willow Glen is providing the actors and volunteers, and Children's Musical Theater is providing the expertise and equipment.
It's a creative solution to stretch the meager resources that public schools have today for the arts. Most, especially middle and elementary schools, have been barely able to keep arts programs alive. That's why it's critical that the Legislature approve $100 million for K-8 arts education that Gov. Schwarzenegger has proposed in his budget.
It may seem like a lot of money, but it breaks down to only $20 per student — or $14,000 for an elementary school of 700 kids and $24,000 for a middle school with 1,200 students. It's not even enough to hire a full-time arts teacher, but it's a start.
Requiring money to be spent on the arts would run counter to the trend over the past few years of giving school districts more say over spending. Flexibility is important, but so is at least minimal spending for the arts and physical education, for which Schwarzenegger is earmarking $85 million. Both are essential for students' intellectual, creative and physical development.
The arts especially have been hit hard, as districts have shifted resources to boost students' performance on standardized tests. Some schools facing state sanctions have dropped most electives to make room for remedial math and English.
The California State University system requires a year of arts courses for admission, so high schools have had to preserve some programs. But many students are arriving in ninth grade with no background in music or dance and a meager exposure to the visual arts. As is so often the case in California, schools in poor areas are worse off. Parents there, unlike in wealthier areas, can't raise extra money to hire a band instructor or drama teacher.
It will take years to rebuild programs, including training teachers in the arts. The governor's proposal is just a start. But creative schools will find ways to make the most of the money — like the collaboration at Willow Glen High.

Let's hope the Legislators are listening!
Arts programs due for cash infusion