California Proposition 28


Courtesy Peter Hanson / Sonoma Valley High School

Should Proposition 28 pass, it would guarantee K-12 public schools a minimum amount of annual funding toward arts and music education.

Lucas Cadigan-Carranza, Reporter

After decades of instability for public school arts programs, a political and election lawyer has proposed to provide additional funding for arts and music education in public schools with Proposition 28 on the California General Election ballot Nov. 8.

Thomas W. Hiltachk’s proposal would require the state to provide additional funding  — equal to 1% of the required state and local funding that public schools received the previous year — from the state General Fund to arts and music education in public schools K-12, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office

The amount would be dependent on K-12 enrollment, currently about 6 million students. The funding would primarily be used to hire new arts staff with the rest allocated for supplies and other resources.

Proposition 28 would also require school principals to develop a plan for how to use the funds to expand their school’s arts programs. Principals would have to provide annual reports showing how the money was spent, such as the number of staff members hired, which programs received funding, how many students were served and the number of schools affected. 

 According to the California General Election Official Voter Information Guide, implementing Proposition 28 would cost the state an additional $1 billion a year, less than half of 1% of the state’s overall General Fund budget.

Voting “yes” on Proposition 28 would give additional funding for arts and music programs in California’s public schools, while voting “no” would mean the funding for these programs would remain dependent on state and local budget decisions.

The main argument in favor of Proposition 28 is that arts and music programs will receive more stable, long-term funding without raising taxes.

Proposition 28 supporters say art and music programs are the first to get cut in the state budget, and only about one-fifth of public schools have full-time faculty in these areas. These programs ready students for a wider career path and when they are cut, not enough students can participate. Supporters include organizations dedicated to arts, labor and communities as well as teachers, actors, musicians and others.

According to the California General Election Official Voter Information Guide, no organizations oppose the measure.