Public schools to get $23 million boost for arts education
Mayor Bill de Blasio committed new money to hire 120 new middle and high school art teachers, improve art spaces in schools and create new partnerships with cultural institutions citywide.
The new budget, which went into effect Tuesday, funneled $23 million towards improving art education in public schools, especially in communities that city leaders said are underserved.
“Arts are not a frill,” schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Tuesday.
“For people who think that the arts is another way to waste time or to build in something else, that’s not what it is,” she added. “The arts, in many, many ways — particularly in middle school — make kids come to school.”
About $5 million will go towards hiring certified teachers, with another $2 million devoted to launching a support team in each borough to guide with hiring and curriculum.
Another $7.5 million was allocated to upgrade facilities at schools, including lighting, flooring, instrument repair and more.
Each full-time certified arts teacher will also be able to request up to $1,000 for supplies through the “Arts Teacher Choice Fund,” which received $3.1 million.
The Center for Arts Education, one of the groups that pushed the administration to prioritize arts education in the budget, applauded the news as a victory for the city’s more than 1 million students.
“This investment will be a game changer for tens of thousands of students across the city by giving them access to the well-rounded education they deserve and are entitled to by state law,” Eric Pryor, executive director of the, said in a statement.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg eliminated dedicated funding line in 2007, but the city is estimated to spend about $330 million on arts education every school year.
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