Update: Class Size and Arts Education Teachers

Categories: Blog
Why This Matters: Changes to the North Carolina state budget won’t force school districts to reduce the number of arts education teachers after all.
An example of arts education in the classroom.
March 10, 2015 – Bechtler Teaching Artist Amy St Aubin is working with 4th grade students at Merry Oaks Elementary School on wire portraits inspired by artist Alexander Calder. © 2015 Wendy Yang Photography
By Rebecca Scroggins
Director of Government Relations & Grants

School districts across North Carolina won’t have to choose between reducing class size and retaining arts teachers in the upcoming school year, due to a new spending bill passed by the state’s General Assembly.

In February, the North Carolina General Assembly passed HB90, a spending bill that addressed, among other things, class size requirements and the funding of “Program Enhancement Teachers,” which include music, theater, visual art and dance instructors.

The key arts education components of the spending bill:
• Provide a four-year phase-in of K-3 class size caps that were scheduled to take effect for the 2018-19 school year

• Fully fund more than 3,500 K-5 Program Enhancement Teachers, with a new allotment established through a four-year phase-in and front-loaded the year before changes occur in K-3 class size requirements

• Allocate classroom teacher funds to continue covering K-12 classroom teachers as well as Program Enhancement Teachers in grades 6-12

This spending bill rectifies an earlier General Assembly plan that would have lowered grades K-3 class size at the expense of Program Enhancement Teachers. That move would have significantly impacted the already limited arts education that students across the state receive.

The new legislation is also in significant alignment with Arts North Carolina’s position on this issue, as well as the NC Arts Education Leadership Coalition’s (NC AELC) Position Statement.

ASC will continue to partner with Arts North Carolina – the statewide advocacy organization for the arts – and make you aware of any potentially significant changes to arts education in the state and locally and how to best advocate for solutions.

You can stay informed about the issues and advocate for arts and culture by registering for VoterVoice.