Seven statewide ballot measures will appear on California’s November 2022 ballot. One of these is Prop 28 which would mandate an earmark in the state’s budget of taxpayer funds for arts and music programs in public schools.
The amount earmarked for these programs will be 1% of the required state and local funding for public schools. Supporters of Prop 28 say that it will help fund arts programs that foster creativity in children, but critics say it shouldn’t come at the expense of the basics.
Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, says while arts and music programs are important and worthy of funding, Prop 28 is fatally flawed. DeMaio argues as currently written Prop 28 would lead to budget cuts in core education programs like reading, writing, and arithmetic.
“Prop 28 sounds good on the surface — more funding for arts and music — but the language is fatally flawed to allow diversion of funding from other education programs that are already not meeting the performance goals we’ve set,” says DeMaio.
DeMaio says Prop 28 also distracts from the need for fundamental reform and accountability in public schools. “California’s public schools are failing and it isn’t because we aren’t offering enough music and arts programs - it is because we have a total lack of accountability within the bureaucracies that run these school districts,” DeMaio warns.
Parents have taken note and are pulling their children out of California’s public schools where they can.
For the first time in 20 years, California public school enrollment has now fallen below 6 million with a decrease of 1.4% last year. In urban and more liberal areas of the state like the Bay Area, enrollment dipped as much as 4%. Charter school enrollment also decreased by 2%, while private school enrollment saw an increase of 1.7%.
DeMaio says the best way to fix California schools is to elect better school board members to spend the existing education dollars more effectively and efficiently.
“Instead of voting Yes on Prop 28, I’d encourage concerned voters to help us elect better school board members in every school district in the state,” DeMaio urges.
Besides educating voters on Prop 28 and the rest of the measures and candidates on your ballot, DeMaio and Reform California are encouraging parents and concerned citizens to participate in the “Parent Revolt” and run for a local school board seat.
Reform California has put together what DeMaio calls a “Plain English” annual voter guide which cuts through the confusing ballot language and clutter and explains your ballot in simple terms. The organization has analyzed Prop 28 and issued the following assessment.
Official Title: Provides Additional Funding For Arts And Music Education In Public Schools. Initiative Statute.
Plain English Translation: Earmarks Mandatory Funding from the Existing State Education Budget for Arts and Music Programs
Prop 28 is an earmark - or a requirement that the state spend at least a certain amount of funds from the state budget for the exclusive benefit of art and music programs. The earmark mandates that 1% of required state and local funding for public schools be set aside for arts and music programs and then allocates a greater proportion of the funds to schools serving more economically disadvantaged students. Earmarks are not free money - so any earmark will have to come at the expense of other educational programs for fundamental academic areas like reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. Reform California recommends a NO vote.
DeMaio and Reform California recommend a “NO” vote on Prop 28.
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