LOS ANGELES — Local artists and leaders are working on a way to get $800 million to California public schools.
The Music and Arts Education ballot measure would fund art and music programs out of reach for many students.
Former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner is leading the effort, along with the support of artists such as will.i.am, Issa Rae and Dr. Dre.
Beutner said the arts have been proven to help students in the classroom, and more public school students should have access. The money would come from a state budget surplus and ensure that funds are available to local districts for art education.
“All this measure does is very simple, which is to say let’s take four tenths of one percent, point four percent of the budget, in addition to what is being done in school. We leave that alone and we add to that without anyone paying any new taxes,” he explained. “We’ve said it has to go for arts and music. There are other important priorities but this money has to go for arts and music.”
Beutner said playing instruments when he was young gave him an outlet that many students are missing, so he’s working on getting this measure to serve kids on the November 2022 ballot.
Participation in the arts has been nearly a lifelong activity for students like Eagle Rock High School senior Enzo Grappone.
He’s a triple threat as an opera singer, volleyball player and international baccalaureate scholar.
Grappone said singing enhances his experiences on the court and in the classroom.
“Sports, music and being a good student are just all three things that I’ve always done my whole life and it makes me a more well-rounded person but it’s also something I enjoy doing,” he said.
Beutner and others will start collecting signatures in January to get the measure on the November ballot. They will need more than 660,000 signatures.
When asked if his name would appear on the November ballot as a mayoral candidate, Beutner didn’t say yes or no. He responded he is 100% focused on getting this measure on the ballot and passed to serve students.