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De Blasio Admin Lays Out Plan for Arts Funding

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The city's fiscal calendar begins July 1, and to mark day one under his first budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans for how additional school arts funds will be spent. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Hundreds of city schools are breaking state law when it comes to art. There aren't enough certified teachers, students aren't spending enough time in art class and some schools have cut the arts all together.

Now, at least a few of those schools will be getting a boost.

"Arts and cultural education broadens each child, deepens their commitment to education, makes them stronger intellectually," the mayor says.

The city budget passed last week includes $23 million of additional arts funding, and on Tuesday, the mayor said it will be spent in a variety of different ways, including $4.7 million to help hire 100 new middle school arts teachers; $7.5 million to improve arts facilities, like auditorium lighting and dance room floors; $1.4 million to expand schools' partnerships with the city's arts organizations and $3.1 million to give each art teacher $1,000 to spend on supplies.

"This money is giving us an opportunity to make sure that every child in New York City has an opportunity to be passionate about—whether it’s the visual arts, whether it’s dance... There isn’t an art form that we don’t expect to see in our schools," says Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

The Education Department says schools already spend about $330 million dollars a year on the arts. This $23 million in additional funding will only address a few of the deficiencies.

For instance, while 100 schools will now receive help paying for an art teacher, there are 419 schools that lack a full-time certified art teacher, according to the comptroller's office.

While the city used to require schools to spend a percentage of their funding on the arts, the chancellor says they don't have plans to reinstate that policy.

"The idea here is to take a big step forward toward providing universal arts and culture education. This was the step we could take this year. We intend to do more going forward," the mayor says.

Schools like M.S. 385 in Brooklyn, where the art teacher was cut last year, now at least have a chance of getting him back.

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