ACTION Alert: Protect Categorical Funding for the Arts


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Governor’s proposed 2013-14 budget would eliminate almost all categorical programs in the name of local control and flexibility. While there are merits to this shift, it may also result in some students having less access to arts education. 
 
Since it’s adoption in 2007, the Arts and Music block grant has provided schools with a specific funding stream for arts education. Without these categorical funds, schools may be unable or unwilling to support programs that provide access to arts education. 

Historically, students in high performing schools in more affluent communities have greater access to the arts, while students in underserved communities who might benefit the most from a more engaging and well-rounded curriculum receive far less.  The Alliance has written a letter to the Governor and to the Legislature urging them to give careful thought to this issue and we have made several recommendations for how to ensure equitable access to the arts. 
 
Please join us! Send your legislators a letter in support of equitable arts education for all California’s children.
 
More information: 
 
What are categorical programs? Categorical programs are school programs that have been designated for special funding, to assure that those educational opportunities are provided to students. Those programs include adult education, library improvement, counseling, as well as arts education. The rationale for the categorical program is that without that funding those opportunities are marginalized.
 
How are they connected to arts education?  Proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger and passed by the Legislature, the “Arts and Music Block Grant” provided needed support for arts education services. When the state faced a budget crisis two years later, the legislature voted to provide districts and other local education agencies with ‘flexibility’ with regard to the grant, allowing local agencies to determine how best to spend those funds in their district. As a result, much of the Arts and Music Block Grant was not designated for arts education.