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Arts funding a focus at WUHSD board meeting

Last week, Director of Programs Sunni Dobbs briefed the Wasco Union High School District board on the Arts and Music in Schools Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act.

California voters approved Proposition 28 in 2022, The measure required the state to establish a new ongoing program supporting arts instruction in schools beginning in 2023-24, with three years to spend the first annual apportionment (2025-2026 school year).

Public schools (K-12) receive funding every July, equal to approximately 1% of the (K-12) Proposition 98 apportionment and is then dispersed to eligible schools. It is in addition to the allotted Prop 98 monies for schools.

The WUHSD 2023-24 Prop 28 allocation is $331,170.

Proposition 28 requires that 80% of the money be used to hire new certified or classified staff or retain staff to teach something new within the arts programs. No more than 1% of the allocation can be spent on administrative costs. The remaining funds (19%) can be used for training, supplies and materials and arts education partnership programs.

Monies cannot be spent on any current arts, music, drama, multimedia courses or staff already in place. Funding must be used to increase art education for all students.

WUHSD currently offers fine arts, music, drama and multimedia courses. Dobbs said the next steps are that WUHSD will review the current course offerings to all students and apportionments granted to each school. A review will be conducted to determine what courses or programs could potentially be added to enhance current pathways or enrich student opportunities by adding additional courses that have not currently been explored.

"I think access to the arts as part of an overall educational curriculum has historically been important. However, with the rising interest in science/engineering programs, the arts seem to have taken a back seat. With Prop 28, CA schools will have access to funds specifically designed to grow new arts programs. Wasco High already offers cutting-edge visual, multi-media, and culinary arts programs, so I'm excited to see how our team will leverage this new funding to serve our students even better," board member Juan Bernal said.

Also, at the board meeting, WUHSD Superintendent Kevin Tallon highlighted the accomplishments of the SkillsUSA students who competed at the 2024 California State SkillsUSA Conference, held earlier this month in Ontario..

SkillsUSA is a student-run organization that collaborates with businesses and trade programs to train students in personal skills, workplace skills and leadership to fill high-demand job positions. Wasco High School's program focuses on technical skills grounded in academics and multimedia, construction, culinary, allied health and public safety.

"Special congratulations for taking gold in television [video] production to Andrew Montano Lopez and Zahid Soto and taking gold in t-shirt design was Crecensiano Gonzalez. Jocelyn Uribe also won a medal for taking silver in the masonry competition."

"Participating in the SkillsUSA State Competition provided Wasco High School students and advisors invaluable learning experiences and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Beyond honing technical skills, the competition fostered teamwork, leadership and problem-solving skills. Thank you to Mr. Danny Eusebio, Mr. Jimmy Martinez, Mrs. Tiffany McCurdy, Mr. Pablo Montano, Ms. Laura Penaloza and CTE Coordinator Jeanette Mercado and congratulations on a job well done."


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