Join me for a fantastic summary of Proposition 28 by Russ Sperling. This measure will ADD 1 billion dollars annually to the California state budget specifically for Visual and Performing Arts Education without raising taxes. You can find out more about it at www.voteyeson28.org If you’d like to read the full text of the measure, you can read it here.
Russ Sperling may be reached via email
I'd like to thank Kings County Trophy and Engraving in Hanford for sponsoring this episode.
The Central Valley Music Educators Podcast is hosted by Rob Bentley. The show is available at:
This episode of the central valley music educators podcast is sponsored by King's County trophy and engraving in Hanford. Brandon Ainsworth and his family have been serving the Central Valley. Since 1s you've seen their awards for CMEA, CBDA and countless other organizations, they are ready to help you too. Visit them email@example.com. 20s Welcome to the second season of the Sinch Valley Music Educators Podcast. I'm your host, Rob Bentley. Joining us today will be Russ Verling with an update about Proposition 28 on the November. Be sure to follow the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Amazon or wherever you download your favorite shows. You can always stop by our firstname.lastname@example.org and listen as well. 4s Russ Spurling is Director of Visual and Performing Arts for the San Diego Unified School District. He is responsible for all components of arts education in California's second largest school district. Mr. Sparling has served as Western Division president of the National Association for Music Education and also and president of the California Music Educators Association. Welcome to the show, Russ. We know Tuesday, November 8, is a big day for Californians. We finally have a proposition on the ballot that can really change the direction of visual and performing arts education in our state. Can you tell us about Proposition 28 and why it's so important for educators to help get the word out? Absolutely. Prop. 28 is the most meaningful piece of legislation in California in my 32 years of being an arts education. It is going to have an impact for our students in dance theater, musical, art, music that we've never seen. I don't know about you, but in 1978, when Prop. 13 passed, all of a sudden music education went away at my school. I was in elementary school. I grew up in California. 1s And it was never the same. And I remember getting filing to middle school and being able to take an instrument, but I had this sense that it wasn't as supportive as it had been. And then I got to high school, and I would just hear the complaints about, well, we have to raise all this money just to, you know, go on field trips or whatever it might have been. It's just been that way. And we just haven't had the robust arts education that we think that our students in California deserve. And here we are, a state with an immense creative economy. We have the entertainment capital of the world, and we have not been educating our students in arts education as we could. Now, that's not to discount any of the work that any of us have been doing in our careers. We've been digging in, and a lot of us have been going above and beyond and making things happen for students. And we have amazing programs. But unfortunately, there's an inequity. We know that not every student has access to music and arts education in California. In fact, the Prop 28 folks have said that really, it's only one out of five especially elementary kids that have access to arts and music education. And that's just not acceptable in California. That shouldn't be acceptable to any of us. So what this proposition does is it takes and this is this is sort of in the weeds, but I think it's important for people to understand that, first of all, if the voters approve this, this will go on forever. Like, it doesn't stop. It's money that will come into our school budgets every single year. And the only reason it would stop is if it went back to the people for a vote for them to stop it. And I think it would be sort of hard to imagine that if the people vote for it this November, that they would ever vote against it later to get rid of it. So that's why this is such a critical moment, and it's probably our one shot, right? This is the moment. We have to do it right now, so we all have to step up. Sort of how it works is in state finance, ever since the late 80s, we've had Prop 98, all of us, education. We know about Prop 98. The Prop 98 guarantee about 40% of the state's overall budget goes to K 14 education. 2s And whatever that dollar amount is now, let's just say that it's $100 billion. Okay? So that's a number what Prop 28 does. It says 1% of that number we are going to take from the other 60% of the state budget, and we're going to grab that. So 1% of 100 billion, that's a billion. And that's roughly what it is. It's around there. We're going to grab an extra billion dollars from the other side of the state budget. What's on the other side of the state budget? Well, it's parks, it's prisons, it's social services. I mean, important stuff, transportation, I mean, all stuff we rely on. But we've always kind of been in the back seat in the arts, education. And so now what we're saying is we're going to be put in the front seat. We're going to say off the top of that 60%, we're taking a billion dollars. And that billion dollars is going to go straight to the schools and it's going to be distributed equally throughout the entire state, except for those who have reintroduced lunch populations, which now everyone gets lunch. But those that have that qualification, that title one qualification, those schools with those populations will receive even more. And so there's going to be all this funding that goes right to schools. And there are requirements about how it needs to be spent, of it has to go to personnel. Now, it doesn't say in the proposition credentialed personnel, so it can go to classified people. So who could be a classified person? Well, a piano accompanist for choir, that's not someone who needs a credential, but that's someone that we need in choir that could be paid for out of that money. How about instrument coaches? You know, I need a percussion coach, I need a marching coach. People that could be brought on in a classified way, they don't need a credential. But I would suspect that the most of that money is going to go to credentialed educators and that we'll be increasing sections of different arts classes. You know, I'm in charge of visual and performing arts for all of Sandy Unified school districts and I can tell you that not just in Sandy Unified, but, you know, we tend to have thriving music and visual art programs in all of our schools, but we don't tend to have as much theater. Dance, right in media arts is the new content area and that's, you know, sometimes handled by CTE in different places. But this is an opportunity for us to not only support what is existing, but to create programs on campuses of things that are not existing, particularly probably theater and dance, which will just enrich. And it will also provide opportunities for a lot of kids who may not 1s put music in visual art at the top of their list. Maybe they really are more more of a dance person, maybe are more of a theater person, but that program might not be at their school. So it's an opportunity to broaden out those programs. So that's 80% of the money, 20% of the money, or maybe we could call it 19% of the money. 2s Can be spent on kind of whatever as long as it's arts related. So that could be musical instruments, that could be field trips, that could be assemblies, it could be teaching artist residencies. I mean, there's a whole host of things, things that you can do with your local arts organizations that you have been able to do because you've never had the funding, the extra funding to be able to do that. So that's 20%. Now, you can spend more than 80% on personnel, but let's just say that 19% thereabouts goes on for art that could be supplies, things like that, that are needed to run our programs. Only 1% can be spent on administration, and you can pretty much guarantee that most districts are going to take that 1% off the top because there's going to be some administrative costs in dealing with this and we can expect that that will happen. But 1% is really not much. There are strong accountability provisions in this proposition that there will have to be reporting. And part of that reporting is that schools will have to say that we are not supplanting programs that are already there. So sometimes we know principals can be very creative and so they can kind of play that show game like, oh, well, I'm paying for this music teacher here, but maybe if I had prop 28 pay for that music teacher here, I could get an extra football coach, right? I'm just making things up. But that's not a lot you can't supply. Whatever is in existence stays, and Prop 28 adds. 1s So 1s it's a super exciting thing. I don't have the best sense of what does a billion dollars mean for my school? I think that a lot of us are trying to kind of ask our finance department, what what does that mean? But I think for most elementary schools in the state, it's going to mean at least half of a teacher, if not a full teacher, depending on the size of the school. In our district, we have a lot of kind of smaller schools, so I'm not sure that they're going to get a full teacher. And one of the ways that we're looking at doing that is maybe I'm having kind of splitting it up on a wheel, that maybe there would be a dance teacher for nine weeks, a music teacher for nine weeks, those kinds of things that give students an equitable opportunity among the disciplines to experience arts. And then by the time they get to middle school, they have a much more informed sense of like, oh, I know I'm a musician, or I know I'm a dancer, and then they can take the elective that should be offered at the middle school. So 1s that's a great thing. So I think for most high schools that maybe are around 20 students, I think that there's probably multiple FTE that we're talking about, could be two, three, four, depending on the size of the school. That's significant. Right? And I want to encourage people as we go down the road. If this passes. Which we kind of think it will. That we think very strategically about how we you know. If there's an extra four FTE at your school site. 1s How do you spend that to have the most impact on students and to provide a more equitable representation of the arts at your school while beefing up the programs that are already there that have been maybe struggling to keep up and to make ends meet. So 2s it is the thing that we've all been hoping and praying for, I think, in our careers. And this is the moment. So this is not the moment for us to sit on our hands. This is the moment to make sure that we're reaching out to our friends and family, to make sure that they realize, I don't know about you, but I have run across several people that what's, Prop 28? I have not heard of that one. Right. Because we're not Prop 26. We're not Prop 27. 2s People know about those, but they don't necessarily know about ours because we're not on the air like they are. So this is where word of mouth is going to be really important. And I can tell you that in my own family, probably like a lot of families, we have all shades of the political spectrum represented. But I can tell you that not just because my career is an art education, but because of their own experiences, and their own experiences with their own children. Everybody agrees that this is a good thing, that we in California have not been supporting arts education at the level that we should for our students and that we should pass Prop 28. Doesn't matter. Your political. 1s That this is a good idea, but we have to make sure that we communicate that. And that's really incumbent upon us because 1s the funding isn't there to 1s put a lot of commercials on TV like the gaming folks have. Hey, Russ, thank you for taking time out of your busy scheduled update us about Proposition 28. I'll be sure to put your contact information and other links that you mentioned in the show notes so that if people have questions, they can get a hold of you. Thanks again for visiting with us. Well, it's been my pleasure, Rob. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about Prop 28. It is the moment in our lives that we have to really be politically engaged to make sure that we are on the right side for students. 1s I'd like to thank Kings County Trophy and Hanford for sponsoring this episode of the Central Valley Music Educators Podcast. I appreciate all of our sponsors for supporting this program. We have a shared contest on social media last week, and I told you that I would announce the winner on this episode. Congratulations to Denny Turner for winning a $25 Amazon gift card just for sharing the podcast on social media. Thanks to all of you who shared the post. It really means a lot. I hope your school year is going great. We'll see you back here next week for another episode of the Central Valley Music Educators Podcast. Have a great week.