HomeCommunity NewsSan Marino Unified School District Praises Arts Funding

San Marino Unified School District Praises Arts Funding

The San Marino Unified School District will receive more than $300,000 in funding from Proposition 28 — a California ballot measure that passed last year that aims to provide additional funding to ensure every student in pre-K through 12th grade in California public schools has access to high-quality arts and music programs without raising taxes.

“The Arts and Music in Schools Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act, a transformative art and music grant that will empower our district to not only preserve but also expand and enhance our existing programs,” said SMUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Lena Richter, who noted that arts and music programs in the district are invaluable, offering benefits to students, the community and the education system as a whole. “The passage of Prop. 28 underscores our ongoing commitment to the arts and music to further secure and expand funding for arts and music programs in school districts.”

Through Prop. 28, SMUSD will be able to further expand and sustain its arts and music programming starting in the 2023-24 fiscal year, with annual Prop. 28 funding allocated by the state to K–12 districts using a methodology based on the share of total enrollment and the share of enrollment of economically disadvantaged students at each eligible school site from the preceding school year.

Based on this funding methodology, Carver Elementary was allocated $69,367, Valentine Elementary $73,737, Huntington Middle School $74,414 and San Marino High School $104,819.

“It’s really amazing that we have $104,000 to spend on the arts at San Marino High School, with most of that going to personnel, enabling us to have support positions to help our teachers accomplish all the great things when they do musicals, concerts, plays and whatnot,” SMHS Principal Benjamin Wolf said during the SMUSD Board of Education meeting on Sept. 26.

Richter said arts and music education contributes significantly to the holistic development of SMUSD students, offering them an outlet for creativity, self-expression and critical thinking skills, all while allowing them to explore their talents, develop their passions and gain confidence in their abilities.

“Engaging in music and arts education allows our children to discover their individuality and develop a sense of identity, which is crucial for their personal growth,” said Richter, adding that arts and music in schools have been shown to improve academic performance across the board. “Numerous studies have indicated a strong correlation between participation in these programs and enhanced cognitive skills, better problem-solving abilities, and improved academic achievement. These benefits extend beyond the arts classroom, positively impacting students in their other subjects as well.”

As a requirement of Prop. 28, schools receiving funds are required to develop an annual plan on how funds will be spent. School districts with more than 500 students are required to use at least 80% of the funds received to employ certificated or classified employees for arts education instruction and the remaining funds for training supplies, curriculum, professional learning, material sand arts educational partnership programs. To meet provisions of Prop. 28, school site administrators worked in collaboration with their respective faculties for the 2023-24 school year. These plans are accessible on the Educational Services webpage on the SMUSD website.

First published in the Oct.12 issue of the San Marino Tribune


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