Arts Programs in City Schools Get $23M Boost
HIGHBRIDGE — Arts education got a $23 million boost in the city on Tuesday, as officials announced funds to hire 120 new art teachers and to upgrade art classrooms.
“The arts in many, many ways…make kids come to school,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who joined Mayor Bill de Blasio at Tuesday's announcement at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Grand Concourse.
Fariña said she had seen the effect of arts on students during her time as a Dept. of Education administrator, when schools increased their attendance rates after she told them to move arts programs to the morning.
The additional arts funds, approved in the city's budget last week, come on the heels of a report that found a significant decrease in arts funding for city schools over the past seven years.
An analysis released by city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office in April found that schools spent 47 percent less to hire arts and cultural instructors last school year compared to the 2006-2007 school year. Over the same time period, the report noted an 84 percent decline in spending on art supplies.
The new budget infusion will add to the approximately $330 million the city already planned to spend on art programs in schools during the upcoming school year, a DOE spokeswoman said.
The city will launch a $3.1 million Arts Teacher Choice Fund to provide up to $1,000 per teacher for arts supplies, and the city will also spend $2 million to hire arts support staff that will work with schools that don't have strong arts programs, officials said.
Stringer, speaking at Tuesday’s announcement, praised the mayor’s quick response to the report.
“With this investment, we can start to build a new city for our children — a city where zip code no longer determines whether a student can access arts education in their school,” Stringer said.
De Blasio touted the additional arts funding as “part of how you get young people more attached to their academic experience."