In the last three years, Los Angeles Unified has had to cut nearly $1.5 billion from its annual operating budget, which is now roughly $6 billion. "Arts education is one of the most impacted components of LAUSD instruction as a result," according to the district.
I'm still working on getting specific breakdowns on arts education funding from L.A. Unified, but in the meantime, here are some numbers the district had handy.
In 2008, L.A. Unified employed 345 art specialist teachers — the district called that year its "peak." Now there are 204 art specialist teachers for more than 580,000 students (not including those in charters).
That breaks down to about one art specialist for every 2,800 students. The district says that teachers travel from school to school to fill gaps.
Since 2008, the district has cut arts education at elementary schools by 40%.
- The district says 53% of more than 272,000 students in kindergarten through fifth grade will not receive any arts instruction in elementary school.
- About 75% of about 129,000 students in the sixth through eighth grades will not receive any arts instruction in middle school. The district adds that "most middle schools have no art teacher (primarily due to budget cuts)."
- About half the district's more than 180,000 high school students will not receive any arts instruction in high school.
School board member Nury Martinez is sponsoring a measure for Tuesday's board meeting that will make arts a "core subject," prohibit further cuts, and restore funding to 2007-8 levels.
On Monday, Superintendent John Deasy will join Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Megan Chernin, the CEO of The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education.They'll unveil a major city initiative to save public arts education. For more details, watch this space Monday.