Elementary Dance

Strategies for Sustainability

Qualified arts education staff and adequate resources are fundamental to implementing strategic plans in each of San Diego’s 44 school districts. The districts, working closely with local, state, and national stakeholders, must commit to an ongoing process of teacher recruitment and retention, while maintaining existing funding and acquiring new sources of revenue.

A study commissioned by The San Diego Foundation in 2007, pARTners in Education: Ensuring Equal Access to Arts Education for all Students in San Diego County, found that countywide arts education initiatives in other parts of the country were able to secure funding to provide the types of services envisioned by Arts Empower San Diego. Although much has changed in our world since the economic downturn in 2008, a funding strategy that includes a diversity of sources, including a re-commitment of existing funding and new revenue streams, is still feasible. And, because consistency and sustainability are key issues, the most effective funding strategies adopt a multi-year time horizon.

These strategies include:

  • School District Budgets
    Funding will serve as incentives to school districts that are motivated to complete strategic plans, are actively engaged in Arts Empower San Diego, and invest resources in the implementation of their plans over time. (A dedicated arts education budget of at least 5% of a district’s annual operating budget is considered to be adequate for implementing the Visual and Performing Arts standards. Slightly more than half of San Diego’s districts report having a dedicated budget for arts education, with those budgets averaging less than 1% of the annual district budget.)
  • Local Fundraising
    Establish a fund supported by local philanthropy to provide a permanent source of revenue to local schools for the arts. For example, an endowment of $25 million could generate $1.25 million in annual funding for teacher professional development, in-school programs, and field trips.
  • Shared Funding Pools
    Shared funds in other California communities rely on a diverse range of donors, including private, family, and corporate foundations, individual contributions, and a range of government sources to raise money. Shared funds started with as little as $250,000 can grow into the millions with adequate marketing and donor engagement.
  • Local Bond Measures/Taxes
    A study conducted by The San Diego Foundation in 2006 (pARTicipate San Diego) found that San Diegans strongly support the arts. In fact, two-thirds of those interviewed would be willing to pay more taxes to support arts and culture, particularly if the increases were tied to arts education. A local bond measure or tax could be implemented to help close the arts education funding gap.

This case for support reflects the values of our region and the promise of the arts in the lives of each student. Join our call to become both stewards and advocates of this timely effort.

Arts Empower Triangle

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