Memo to Superintendent and Board regarding Proposition 28 Funding – June 17, 2024

To: Superintendent, Alberto M. Carvalho

From:  LAUSD Board Vice President, Scott M. Schmerelson

Subject: Proposition 28 – Arts Funding

Date: June 17, 2024

Considering the recent media attention and the Board District 3 advocacy around this topic, I am glad to see that tomorrow, the Board will take a deeper dive into our Arts funding, specifically how funds from Proposition 28 have been and will be allocated. As you know, I have met with your staff multiple times to discuss the need to provide school staff, parents, and community members with clear information on arts instruction funding. I have yet to receive any information I can easily share with my constituents.

I expect tomorrow’s discussion will answer the following key concerns I mentioned in the memo I sent last week.

  • Did the schools receive the appropriate Proposition 28 allocation of $111 per enrolled student and the additional $78 for each Title 1 student? and
  • What is the past and current arts instruction funding provided to their school site so they can determine if Prop 28 funds are being used appropriately to add, rather than replace prior arts program instructional funding?

So far, presentations around Prop. 28 Arts Funding have not been clear and transparent.  Taxpayers and our constituents deserve clear and accessible information about how the district is allocating these funds.

I have received emails with the following questions that I am asking your staff to answer during tomorrow’s Board meeting:

  • Can LAUSD confirm that Prop. 28 funds were not used in any school to replace existing funding?
  • Please provide an account of the funds that schools received for arts instruction in 2021-2022 and in 2022-2023 before Proposition 28? 
  • Why was there negligible or no change in the number of arts instruction hours at schools with the addition of Prop 28 funds? 
  • Is it true that schools have not been able to hire other arts experts because the Prop 28 money has been allocated to salaries that were moved from the General Fund in the 2022-23 school year to Prop 28 funding in the 2023-24 school year.  
  • We have been told that 200 “new” arts teachers have been hired by the District. Are these teachers new to the District or are these current arts teachers that have simply been re-titled?
  • When did the District formally consult with school communities about how Prop 28 Arts Funding should be used to meet local needs? Was there an informational memorandum distributed to school principals informing them to engage with the community about this funding?
  • Why would the entire Cultural Arts Passport expenditures, designed to be a variety of cultural experiences, be considered “Arts” when a great majority of the approved programs are not “Arts?”

I hope that you can bring clear answers to these questions. I am also requesting that these questions along with any other from my colleagues be answered through an informative and made available to us and the public a week from the Board Meeting, so that I can post it on my website and share it with my constituents.

c. Board Members

    Devora Navera Reed Saman Bravo-Karimi

    Pedro Salcido Nirupama Jayaraman

    Karla V. Estrada Nolberto Delgadillo

    Kristen K. Murphy 

    Amanda Wherritt

    Jaime Torrens

    Michael McLean

    David Hart