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Prop 28 helps schools operate

CVHS offers many visual and performing arts (VAPA) for students to partake in, and funding for them is about to increase. California schools are expected to receive $1 billion a year in funding for arts and music starting this February. For most schools, this means a sizable increase in music, theater, art, and film classes and a rush to hire new teachers during a severe shortage.

“All the decisions go up to Principal (Chris) Fortenberry and his admin team first, and then to the district. Currently, we are using it to form our new dance class,” said Alexis Knudsen, studio art teacher and VAPA department chair. 

Proposition 28 was passed in November 2022 with overwhelming support from California voters. This has led to an ongoing state funding stream for programs such as dance, painting, photography, choir, and animation. The direction of the funding is intended to be decided by the communities themselves.

“Surveys went out to parents, students, and staff last school year to inform the expansion plans we started this year,” explained art teacher Jennifer Jervis. “This was a crucial part of the process because we are building a program to serve our community’s needs and interests.”

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, the Jefferson Union and San Jose Unified school districts are collecting input from students, parents, and community members to help guide their process, while Mt. Diablo Unified School District asked 36,000 parents to rank the art program they’d like to see expanded. 

Schools will have three years to spend each round of money. Preliminary estimates showed that educational institutions should receive $112 per student, plus an additional $85 for every economically disadvantaged student. Eighty percent of the funding is intended to go towards staff salary, with the other 20 percent dedicated for materials, curriculum, training supplies, and other necessities. CVUSD expects to receive over $1 million in funding. 

“We’ve earmarked some of the funding to elementary schools and middle schools,” said Knudsen. “The current focus is new teachers.” 

For many schools, the largest hurdle will be hiring qualified educators. In the 2021-22 academic year, less than 800 educators received traditional teaching credentials in art, music, dance or theater, according to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. With 15,000 openings across the state of California and more to come, hiring has become incredibly competitive. 

“Thankfully, we did not wait to begin our VAPA expansion, so our VAPA teachers are already in place and teaching awesome VAPA classes for our students,” remarked Jervis. 

As a result, CVUSD has already introduced multiple new teachers at the elementary and middle school level, while other Bay Area school districts are struggling to hire new art and music teachers. 

After waiting so long for proper funding and so much money coming in, principals, administrators, and school boards are determined to get this right. With only one in five public California schools having a teacher dedicated to arts, big changes are just around the corner.

11 thoughts on “Prop 28 helps schools operate

  • Mario Joseph

    Prop. 28 sounds great. Our school choir is excellent and it’s amazing to see the effort our students have made, being able to go to different events or just seeing my sister sing all the time in my house. If this helps them out and be able to perform even better, that’s a good thing and I can’t wait to see what it does for them.

  • melissa

    The arts are really important for a lot of people to express their creative side, so I think this funding is going to be really helpful for people to expand their creativity.

  • Kaitlyn

    As someone who has been involved with school programs in both art and music, I am glad that Prop 28 passed and that districts including CVUSD will be getting more funding. VAPA classes are incredibly beneficial for students and I’m excited that younger students in elementary and middle school will especially be able to benefit.

  • Andrew M

    Can’t wait to see the changes and improvements that will be made with the additional funding!

  • Aden Lam

    I think that this is really good because many students will be able to express their creative ideas. Too bad it might not affect me though because I won’t be taking VAPA next year 🙁 Still, good deal!!!

  • Annelies van Druten

    I think Prop 28 will be super beneficial for this school. As someone who has been and is still currently in many art programs, I am excited for what changes and new opportunities are to come. Art is very important, whether it’s music or painting, or drawing, etc. It’s important these subjects get recognition and get the support they need to help classrooms, teachers, and many students.

  • Demetrius Kuang

    Prop 28 will be very helpful to those interested in pursuing the arts. Allocating more money will allow artists to have all the resources they need to express themselves.

  • Shannan Chan

    I think that Prop 28 is greatly needed, as school art and music programs statewide have been underfunded for a while. It’s a good move and it lessens fundraising pressure off of parents and sponsors in order to keep programs running, and give students more opportunities overall.

  • Matthew Wong

    I think that Prop. 28 is a step in the right direction. Art is a very important subject and it is nice to see it receiving more attention.

  • Maxim Boychuk

    I think that Prop. 28 is a must and will help CVHS a lot because the band room tiles are literally falling off the ceiling and many instruments are old and broken so a higher budget would help.

  • Victor Bahng

    This seems like a good change for school education, and California seems to be leading for expanding the use of education in the U.S incredibly. The funding may be more than enough to allow more freedom for students to pursue their artistic interests, and it also sort of explains how the new dance class next year is possible.

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