In 2006 we worked as part of a group to push music and arts education funding through the California Legislature in support of Governor Schwarzeneggerr's proposal. The effort let to $500 million in one time funding and a $100 million annual commitment to help restore programs (an additional $300 million to date). This has been the greatest state level commitment to music and arts education… ever.
That's the good news.
Now for the bad news
As the economic storm continues to bring havock to many states economies… California is now staring down the barrel of a $5 billion short fall for the CURRENT fiscal year. This means.. cuts are coming… and soon.
The legislature will be coming back into session on November 5th with the task of closing the gap. Guess what is on thee block?
Spending on education is forty percent of the state budget, but big cuts are coming, according to education advocate Brian Lewis, who met with Governor Schwarzenegger directly. Lewis, who's with the California Association of School Business Officials, says "and he told us in addition to that he would be looking for anywhere from 2 to 4 billion dollars in cuts to public education, K-14, community colleges, which of course we're going to oppose very strongly." Brian Lewis says the cuts are likely to affect programs such as music, art, and materials in the classroom, along with sports and school transportation.
To our friends in California… battle stations!