Education

New pot of arts education funding heads to LAUSD schools

Some schools that ranked low on the district's Arts Equity Index are using the money to buy basic arts supplies.
Some schools that ranked low on the district's Arts Equity Index are using the money to buy basic arts supplies.
Photo by Nick Amoscato via Flickr Creative Commons

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Los Angeles school officials are giving out a new pot of money aimed at making sure students have better access to arts education.

Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday that schools received more than a million dollars in new funding for arts education from the state. Every school got a piece of this $1 million pie, but for the first time schools lacking in arts education got a bigger slice.

Money went out based on student enrollment and the results of the district's new Arts Equity Index, which was released this spring. That survey was used to figure out which schools were providing arts education and which weren’t — to help the district determine the greatest need.

"We are bringing more equity and access to the funding and support of schools," said Rory Pullens, head of the district’s arts education branch, in an interview.

Schools received anywhere from $1,000 to nearly $10,000, funded through the state's new funding mechanism — the Local Control Funding formula.

Principals can decide how to spend the money. One school that ranked low on the index, Madison Middle School, received nearly $5,000. “Our school is in desperate need of supplies, so this will go into supplies for art enrichment programs,” said principal Estelle Baptiste in a statement.

Another school is starting a new music program from scratch. 

"Some schools have a waiting list of things that they want to do," Pullens. "So now that they get this funding they’re like ‘Ooh, we can actually do this.’ "