Since I last posted about Florida’s education budget cuts last year, nothing has really been done in the state to cut spending on government projects nor raising revenue to offset the budget shortfalls.  Falling home prices continue to set the trend for declining tax revenues, and as consumers and businesses scale back spending, the sales taxes and property taxes that the state relies on are vanishing rapidly.  This year, it means that $466 million will be cut from the Florida public school budget.  That’s about 2 percent of total spending.  Now, education isn’t the only thing being cut.  You can read the whole 2009 Florida budget details here, but be advised that the legislature is expecting to make even more cuts over the next few months.

Of course, this means that education budgets are on the chopping block and the state is buzzing with rumors and hints of how the students may be affected next year.

In Duval county, there is a lot of current talk about possibly eliminating art and music classes outright.  Or, at the very least, these subjects may be taught by homeroom teachers and general education majors who have no particular experience with visual or audio techniques.  While it may sound absurd, this is actually being reported as a likely outcome by the local newspapers and high ranking members of the local education administration.

As the benefits of art and music are sometimes seen as abstract:  creativity, manual accuracy, etc… they are still generally considered to be real benefits that students can gain in the classroom.  Marketing firms understand the value of visual design, catchy music, and beautifully functional composition – but politicians and government bureaucrats are often less sensitive to the role these subjects play in everyday life.

It is very likely that the greatest benefit of music and art is not just the objects and songs and sounds produced, but the thoughts that those works provoke in the performer and the audience.  True art is inspirational – it motivates us to create change, to work harder, to aim higher…

Yet the crisis of money is real.  Priorities must be made when there isn’t enough to fund all of the worthy pursuits of society.  If people are losing their homes – If parents are wondering how they will feed their children or where the family will sleep tomorrow night, perhaps art and song isn’t the immediate concern.  For many students of our local schools, this is the exact situation.  Some may have a home to live in, but they may be living in the midst of daily neighborhood violence, little adult supervision, and constant harassment.

In one sense, art can bring order and hope to such an environment.  In another, its the last thing someone needs when utter survival is at stake.  The question is, are these art and music programs going to be replaced by ones that will benefit those students and young citizens who need it the most?  Probably not.

13 Responses to “Art and Music Budgets may be the First Cut in Florida”

  1. This is really wroung!! I am in Marching and Concert band at Milton High School in Milton FL and i love it i will be a JR this summer and we have almost 200 hundred members and next year we want more members and we are one big family! We love it and the fact that they are cutting us back on money isnt great cuz Chocataw is sponsered so they get money but we are not sponsered and other bands arent either! So what are supposed to do? I think they should stop buying new buses! The old ones were fine!!!! I hate this!

  2. A Concerned Fellow Student
    March 22nd, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I’m not actually responding to your post, I just wanted to let you know that the information you put in your post makes it very easy for creepers to find you. You just listed your full name, your school, and your grade. Also that you’re in band, making it a piece of cake for someone to stalk you. I just want you to be aware that you’re not practicing safe Internet use. I just don’t want anyone to get hurt.

  3. cutting art and music programs are W-R-O-N-G! music and art help bring out our creativity and immagination. and it keeps your brain active. im actually doing this for a persuasive speech so i have to go work on it. 🙂

    dont cut art and music programs.


  5. Your article was wonderful, thank you for sharing!

  6. you really did a great job in expressing your sentiments and I do agree with what you had said. There’s a lot of a benefit from music and art for a student. It brings out the creative side of one person which makes them more imaginative and adventurous.It builds confidence and self-esteem to the young ones.

  7. I hate the idea of education cuts but we are getting it here in the UK too. Since the new government came in they have slashed spending on virtually all building and refurbishment projects. So far, they haven’t laid into the front line too much but I guess it’s next on the list. And we have the banks to blame of course, not so much governments.

  8. Educational cuts are so hard. First it could be seen as an investment in the future on the other hand it is money so much needed elsewhere. Art and music can be used to elevate children’s minds. Also it is important to pass through our heritage.

  9. This is just typical of how the educational system works. When budget cuts happen the first things to go are art and music. I’ll bet the college still has plenty of funds for the sporting events though.

  10. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe you are not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  11. this is something that seems to be happening all over. my son is in law school and it happened there as well.


  1. Obama Stimulus Proposal Generously Funds Education
  2. Stimulus improves outlook for teaching jobs

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>