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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Arts are always the first cut in budget crunches and this year will be no exception. (rough draft)

A couple random thoughts.

The district has been put in an untenable place due to the lack of funding out of Tallahassee. You know I want to raise my fist and get mad at DCPS and where my heart breaks for the students and teachers who are about to be shortchanged I just don't have it in me. Could we have done things different or better, sure, maybe, but the lion's share of blame for where we find ourselves belongs in Tallahassee. 

Vitti should get credit for returning the arts even if it has been done in a ham-fisted fashion. 70 kid PE classes and fifty kid music and art classes isn't much better than not having those classes. 

In the video, when the district spokesman says making art, music and PE teachers at small schools itinerant (that is they will work at multiple schools) is about expanding access, he is being insulting. Come on man why can't you just say, Tallahassee screwed us with funding and we are doing the best that we can. 

Then lets not forget the cuts to librarians and libraries. The get cut even in good years. For a district with a reading problem we never seem to appreciate actual reading.

The poor treatment of the arts isn't just an education thing, it's a Florida thing.

From the Sarasota Herald Tribune:

480 organizations will share a pool cut by about 60-percent from last year’s levels
Arts and cultural organizations take another big hit in the state budget approved by the Florida Legislature and awaiting a signature or veto from Gov. Rick Scott.
The state budget provides $29.8 million in four arts and cultural-related categories, down from $33 million last year and the $43.3 million allocated in 2014. But the category that provides program support for 480 non-profits around the state will be cut by about 60 percent from last year’s levels.
“It’s just disheartening,” said Rebecca Hopkins, managing director of Florida Studio Theatre, which like many of Sarasota County’s larger organizations, qualifies for $150,000 through the state’s Cultural and Museum Grant category. Because of budget cuts, FST expects to receive about $47,550, compared with $97,000 last year.
“It shouldn’t be happening,” Hopkins said. “We’re living in a state where the population is growing by a quarter million people a year. It seems these are self-inflicted budget crises putting us into an austerity plan. It hurts us. We’re not getting the bang back for the cuts we’re enduring.”
Sigh, but we have plenty of money for private prisons, and charter schools.
We can not depend on Tallahassee to do what is right, which means we must depend on ourselves, our community. We  have to step up. I would like to see a half cent sales tax to support public education, resolution. If we can have one to fund the baseball grounds, a giant scoreboard and the arena, then surely we can do it to make sure our children receive a quality education too.  

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