Voters To Decide On and Music Education in Public Schools

Proposition 28 could provide funding after years of cuts

In this file photo, voters study their ballots carefully before submitting them. (Photo by Jane Pojawa)

In the upcoming Nov. 8 election, one of the propositions on the ballot this year is Proposition 28. Proposition 28 would require the state to allocate funding for music and arts education in public schools and community colleges. Proposition 28 will dedicate 1% of the state’s education budget to art and music funding.

The California Constitution requires that states set aside a budget consisting of a minimum amount of state General Fund and local property tax revenue annually for public schools and community colleges. California’s current budget includes $110 billion with $95.5 billion allocated towards public schools. 

Arts and music programs are often one of the first programs to be downsized during budget cuts, according to CalMatters.  However, visual arts classes are still required by state laws in elementary education and required at the high school level. Visual arts are often a graduation requirement and necessary for admission into CSU and UC systems. 

There are many arguments in favor of  Proposition 28. Supporters say that Prop 28 will include funding for traditional arts classes such as theater, band, and painting or drawing classes as well as funding for the contemporary arts such as, graphic design or film. Since Proposition 28 will be providing additional funding in every school district meaning every student will benefit. Arts and music programs are all-embracing. “In music, everyone can participate, everyone can learn to play a musical instrument,” said Lawrence Rubenstein, Ph.D., a longtime patron and donor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Furthermore, music and arts education has the potential to positively affect children’s learning and development. Arts and music education helps students to improve their overall creative and critical thinking and can also allow students to do better in other subjects as well. It can also help to improve student’s mental health and increase self-confidence. 

California’s creative economy employs nearly 3 million people. Arts and music education  allows students to develop the critical skills they need in order to join associated professions. “I think it gives someone the opportunity to learn something that they can apply to their life and get a job,” Rubenstien added.


While an official argument against Prop. 28 has not been provided, those in opposition feel that without any additional revenue coming in, having to dip into the state’s general fund will leave less for other state programs. An alternate argument reasons that mandating spending in programs such as arts education could leave the state unprepared for the next economic downturn. Some voters even argue that providing additional funding in mandated areas will restrict legislation’s ability to act, should any disaster strike. 

Voting information can be located through GCC’s website:

For more information on Proposition 28, visit:

Dominique Rocha can be reached at [email protected].