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Arts, Adult, and Early Childhood Education Get Temporary Reprieve from Execution in LAUSD Budget

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Photo by -Marlith- via Flickr
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Advocates of art, adult, and early childhood instruction received some encouraging news today while the Los Angeles Unified School District board opted to delay the adoption of a controversial budget item that would wipe out three significant branches of education offered in the schools. Elementary Arts, Adult Ed, and Early Childhood Ed programs were on the chopping block, and were slated to be completely eradicated under a new, austere budget being voted on by the school board. Thanks to protests and high-profile awareness campaigns, however, the board was convinced to think of other ways to handle the necessary cutbacks.

This afternoon, Arts for LA posted on Facebook:

Congratulations, advocates: The School Board has heard your voices. The LAUSD School Board has amended the budget item, delaying its adoption pending more information from the state and local level. The Board requests options and alternatives for elimination of arts education, adult ed and early childhood ed. Board Member Zimmer just acknowledged that "Arts education is not a privilege, but a right, for all students."

While the news is good, it doesn't mean the fight is over, or that the programs will live on as-is. LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy warns that there is $127 million that must come out of the LAUSD budget. The board is instructing Deasy to "negotiate cost- saving measures with labor unions and monitor state budget developments in hopes of reducing the magnitude of the cuts," notes City News Service.

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Today's meeting was enlivened with protesters outside and testimony at the podium from famous faces like dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen and Matt Sorum of Guns N'Roses. City Council members Eric Garcetti and Richard Alarcon were also on hand to make the case for not making cuts.

"There is no public education without arts education," said School Board Member Steve Zimmer today. It looks like, for now, that remains the case at the LAUSD.

But Zimmer also said "there will be cuts." The LAUSD is still planning to layoff thousands of teachers, but will not send out notices until early March.