L.A. Unified to cut elementary school arts by a third rather than half
Under pressure from arts advocates to rescind cuts that would gut elementary school arts classes, Los Angeles Unified School District officials are expected to restore $5 million to program budgets that they had planned to cut in half to help balance next year's budget, the Times' education reporter Howard Blume reports in L.A. Now.
Meanwhile, arts patrons and organizations have been applying pressure for the restoration of arts programs. Their campaign included a full-page ad last week in the Times, placed by the Arts for L.A. advocacy group and signed by nearly 100 arts organizations and 26 individuals. They included Charles Segars, the Ovation Television chief executive who chairs the Campaign to Save Arts Education in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the campaign's two honorary co-chairs, philanthropist Eli Broad and Maria Bell, chairwoman of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Blume reports that the advertisement angered school board member Steve Zimmer, among others, because many civic leaders, including some who signed last week's arts education ad, did not take leading roles before last month's election on behalf of Measure E, a $100 parcel tax that would have raised an estimated $93 million per year for four years to offset the need for budget cuts -- including elementary arts education. The measure received 53% of the vote but failed because it needed a two-thirds super-majority to pass.
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Photo: Ramon Cortines working on the school district budget in December. Credit: Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press