I’m voting for Proposition 38 because the millions of additional dollars our district will receive every year, for twelve years, will allow SPUSD to renew its commitment to arts education. SPUSD had just inked a new Visual and Performing Arts Policy when the worst of the budget cuts hit. Our arts policy states that every student, K-12, will have equitable access to instruction in music, visual arts, drama and dance that meets or exceeds the State Visual and Performing Arts Standards. Here's a link to the SPUSD Visual and Performing Arts Policy: http://marengopta.org/wp/councilpta/arts-policy/
However, due to the funding cuts, a notice now appears at the top of our arts policy, indicating that the categorical flexibility permitted school districts, allows our arts policy to be suspended. SPUSD not only had to suspend most of our arts policy, it had to freeze our relationship with the "L.A. County Arts for All" program – a program that helps districts create a ten year arts plan.
The shelving of our arts policy and plan has affected all SPUSD students, but here are some examples from the middle school. While there is music instruction at SPMS for students in band, for the rest of SPMS students any type of music instruction remains out of reach. There is a visual arts class on the elective wheel at SPMS, but visual arts, unfortunately, bypasses many students completely. Drama is also on the elective wheel at SPMS, but here again, the elective wheel does not include every child. As for dance instruction at SPMS, it doesn’t exist, not even as an elective.
If Proposition 38 prevails, there will be additional funding for SPUSD to work towards being in compliance with our arts policy and provide equitable access for all students, K-12, to classes that meet or exceed state standards in music, visual arts, drama and dance.
But Prop 38 money will do more than revitalize the arts in our schools; it will permit our district to be creative in figuring out how to close the achievement gap. In addition, Prop 38 money can help all of our students better prepare to enter four-year colleges –- another SPUSD goal. Prop 38 money can be used for math, science, engineering, history, English, technology, virtual business, athletics, special needs, foreign languages, counselors and librarians. It can also be used to hire additional teachers in order to keep class sizes small.
Proposition 38 sends millions of additional dollars to SPUSD, every year, for twelve years -- guaranteed. It keeps this money separate from the state general fund, mandates community input and requires strict accountability. Our students deserve better than remaining 47th in the nation in per pupil spending. I’m voting for Proposition 38 because our students also deserve better than "adequate" funding. Our students deserve the best we can give them.
In an ideal world, our state legislature would be functional enough to ensure that our students have the funding they need for a well rounded, twenty-first century education. Unfortunately, this is not the case. And, unfortunately, this Election Day, voting for Prop 38 is not enough because Governor Brown promises serious education cuts if another proposition, Proposition 30, doesn’t pass. Only one proposition -- the one that achieves a simple majority, with the most votes, will prevail.
So, while I’m voting “Yes on Prop 38” because I firmly believe it is the best initiative for our students, I will also be voting “Yes on Prop 30” to help ensure that on November 6th our students will do better than remaining 47th in the nation in per pupil spending (Prop 38), or at least remain 47th in the nation (Prop 30). The thought of our per pupil spending dropping lower than 47th is just unthinkable.