WUFT News

Tax referendum allows voters to decide on arts education

By on November 1st, 2012

Katie McDonald used to sit in the art room at Glen Springs Elementary School and create.

The room was her sanctuary, and she took pride in her work there. She beamed when her teacher hung up her paintings, and even told her that she dreamed of becoming a ballerina one day and teaching art in her spare time.

Today, McDonald serves as the art teacher at Glen Springs, where she hopes to inspire students the same way. But Alachua County voters could redirect funding from programs like McDonald’s and keep her from sharing the arts in the classroom if they deny the renewal of an existing tax referendum.

The second question on the November 2012 ballot, the Alachua County Ad Valorem Tax Renewal, would continue the existing mill tax for four years to fund necessary operating expenses for school nurses, elementary music and art programs, K-12 school library programs, guidance programs, middle and high school bands and chorus programs, magnet programs and classroom technology.

With more emphasis being placed on math and science curricula and improving statewide standardized test scores since Gov. Rick Scott took office, the focus is turning away from art and music programs.

McDonald said the arts still play an important role in her students’ education.

“It’s hard to imagine people don’t think that art isn’t vital,” she said. “The arts are part of who we are as humans.”

Jackie Johnson, the spokeswoman for Alachua County Public Schools, defended the role of arts in the classroom and advocated the referendum’s renewal for the community benefit.

“You cannot have a successful community without high-quality schools,” Johnson said.

“Students who engage in arts actively do better academically. There are all sorts of academic concepts that art really reinforces in a way that engages students and keeps their attention.”

Representatives from the Alachua County Republican Party declined to comment on the referendum issue, instead directing attention to its official stance on the party website, which calls for more money to be directed to the classroom and teacher salaries in light of increasing administrative costs.

McDonald said she hopes voters will consider the enriching effects of art on her students before completing their ballots.

“Often times, the kids who struggle in other areas can be successful in the art room,” she said. “They may sit and struggle the rest of the day in math and reading, but it’s a place where they can come in and be proud of themselves.”

George Pappas edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Education, Local and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

Students at Norton Elementary School wait in line as they're served dinner for the first time at school. Norton Elementary now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner; Norton Elementary Serves It All

In addition to breakfast and lunch, Norton Elementary School now serves dinner to students enrolled in its after-school program. Dinner is currently scheduled to be served at 2 p.m.


Yes For Marion County Schools table at the Journey Into Reading event at Central Florida State College. The theme of the event was "seasons" and we were designated as "winter."

Amendment 4 Could Bring Back Marion County Teachers And School Programs

On Election Day, Marion County voters will vote on Amendment 4, which calls for the millage rate to increase. The extra money will go toward school programs and teacher salaries, potentially bringing back laid-off, first-year teachers.


Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.22.22 PM

New FCAT Replacement Test To Be Computer-Based

The new test set to replace the FCAT this March will be computer-based. Some educators are worried the test may be a disadvantage for students who are not used to working on a computer on a daily basis.


Dunnellon Elementary School's Maria Gonzalez helps her fourth grade students with classwork. She received the Excellence in Education Award earlier this month from Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Local Hispanic Teachers Receive Excellence In Education Award

Maria Gonzalez of Dunnellon Elementary School and Grisell Santiago of P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School received the Excellence in Education Award earlier this month. The annual award was sponsored by Volunteer Florida, the Florida Department of Education and the Executive Office of the Governor as a part of Hispanic Heritage Month.


Students from Idylwild Elementary School launch a water rocket at Flavet Field. Fourth and fifth grade students from Idylwild Elementary School visited the University of Florida on Oct. 30 to learn about engineering and other STEM-related studies.

The University of Florida College of Engineering Reaches Out to Elementary Students

University of Florida engineering students hosted a day of science activities on campus for fourth- and fifth-grade students from Idylwild Elementary School on October 30.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments