→ Prop 28 would allocate one percent of required state and local funding for public schools from the state general fund, for arts education in schools, which would increase spending in the range of $800 million to $1 billion annually.
ACCE joins the California Teachers Association in supporting Prop 28 to bring more funding to arts and music education in the state’s K-12 schools. We acknowledge what has become a well-known and lamentable truth, that our students fail to be exposed to robust arts-focused curriculum. And in particular, it is Black and brown students attending underfunded and under-resourced schools who are at most at a deficit when it comes to arts education. Understanding that arts and music are an integral aspect of a student’s holistic learning experience, and with the knowledge that arts education can be a measurable benefit to a student’s success, we recommend a Yes vote for Prop 28.
All that said, our recommendation comes with concerns and caveats. To be clear about one thing this prop does not do—it does not increase any funding or identify additional sources of revenue for educational investment. That is to say, no new money would be going to schools. So instead of increasing the size of the pie, the pie stays the same size, and from this pie—which isn’t that big to begin with—a larger slice of it will be going to arts and music education.
And because this dedicated and important funding will be going to the arts, that means it won’t be going to other priorities. As an unintended consequence of this, district and school budgets could be further constrained. This one percent of the general fund earmarked for education—this $800 million to $1 billion—might have to be cut from funding for special education, or from support staff, or core curriculum like language and math, or from the maintenance of clean and safe facilities. All these things are important too.
It’s another well-known and lamentable truth, that our public schools just don’t receive nearly the amount of funding they need. That’s why we supported Schools and Communities First (Prop 15) in 2020. It’s why we continue to advocate for increased funding and revenue for education.
Ideally, Prop 28 would have included some additional revenue, in order to protect existing funding while adding resources. But when it comes to ballot propositions, you don't get to add or swap out language, or add-in suggestions. At the end of the day, it’s either a Yes, or it’s a No. And while we continue to champion for transformative educational reforms that bring big investment to our schools, it’s a Yes for us.