LAUSD Votes to Allocate Funds to Further "Arts at the Core"

Thu, 09/12/2013 - 1:08pm

The LAUSD Board of Education approved by a 5-2 vote a resolution to bolster district support for arts education as an extension of last year’s “Arts at the Core” resolution.

Introduced by Board Member Steve Zimmer, the new resolution congratulates LAUSD leadership and Arts Branch staff on the recently submitted Arts Education and Creative Cultural Networks Plan.  It also identifies several areas of expansion for the plan, which the resolution proposes to consider as a “living document” for ongoing development.  "If every student, not by luck or by affluence, had access to arts education, what would that look like?" Mr. Zimmer asked his colleagues.  

Among the expansion points identified is for district leadership to attach budget figures to the plan to roll out wider access to arts education for all students in the district.  “Without funding attached to the plan,” said Danielle Brazell, “district staff will be unable to move forward with authority, with purpose, to implement this essential vision for our students.”

Several people spoke on behalf of the resolution, including United Teachers LA President Warren Fletcher. Commenting on the past budget shortfalls, Fletcher said, “It’s easy to start triaging things and think, ‘Well, we can deal with the arts later.’  We can’t do that anymore. UTLA stands ready to work with the district and to advocate with the district to bring the funding back and make sure every student in elementary and second school has access to the arts.  College ready doesn’t mean just math and science anymore; it includes the arts.”

Board Member Marguerite LaMotte spoke in favor of the expanded resolution.  “One of my teachers is now employed by Tyler Perry and he invited me to visit him for a weekend. Behind the scenes, our kids are working the lights, the sound, and we cannot play that down.  We want everybody to support the arts.  I hope we can put some money aside so that we don’t have to beg for the arts every year.”

Board Member Bennett Kayser, in regards to funding for arts education, said simply, "It's time to start putting it back."