CDE covers the basics of Prop 28 as funding begins to reach schools

Ahead of Arts Education Month in March, the California Department of Education hosted a webinar on how local educational agencies can put Proposition 28 funds into practice.

Referred to as the Arts and Music in Schools (AMS) Funding Guarantee and Accountability Act, the legislation was approved by voters in 2022 and required the state to create an ongoing program to support arts instruction in schools beginning in the 2023–24 academic year. Money began to flow into schools in February, and while some LEAs got a head start on hiring educators and expanding arts offerings before the dollars dropped, others are just getting started.

Recalling his time in the school choir and theater as a student, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recognized the positive impact art can have on young people both academically and personally. Yet barely one in five California public schools has a full-time arts or music teacher, noted former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, who authored Prop 28.

Compton USD’s Catherine Borek, who teaches drama and AP English, shared how theater has allowed students to overcome anxiety and find a sense of belonging, among other benefits. “When movement and play are an essential part of our curriculum, our students learn how to have fun while they are learning,” Borek, the 2023 California Teacher of the Year, said.

Thurmond said he will be appointing a statewide Arts Advisory Council to help guide implementation.

The details

Prop 28 allocates 1 percent of the K-12 portion of Proposition 98 funding guarantee provided in the previous fiscal year, according to the CDE. That is roughly $1 billion annually.

LEAs serving 500 or more students must ensure that at least 80 percent of AMS funds are used to employ certificated or classified employees to provide arts education, unless the LEA has submitted a written request for a waiver (which needs to be done yearly in the three-year expenditure period). Remaining funds can be spent on training, supplies and materials, and partnership programs, with no more than 1 percent of funds going toward an LEA’s administrative expenses.

Funding is based on an LEA’s total enrollment and enrollment of economically disadvantaged students in the prior year.

Local education leaders have the freedom to choose course offerings but must complete school site expenditure plans annually. The plan does not need to be posted online, approved by the board of education or submitted to the CDE. “We wanted to empower educators and local communities so that they have voice as to the arts program that they want to add to support students in their schools,” Beutner said.

LEAs can turn to the California Arts Education Framework to find allowable arts disciplines as well as the state’s Education Code.

The logistics

Resources such as teachers, teaching aides and arts partners can be pooled, and LEAs can facilitate their sharing across schools. CDE staff added that AMS statute doesn’t provide for the reallocation of funds.

Arts programming can take place within or outside of school hours. “Students should be under the immediate supervision of a certificated employee of the LEA to generate attendance for apportionment and receive instruction time credit,” according to CDE staff.

Annually, LEAs are required to make certifications and report the number of full-time equivalent teachers, classified personnel and teaching aides as well as pupils served and school sites providing arts programming with AMS funds. Unexpended AMS funds must be reported to CDE by Oct. 1 following the end of the three-year expenditure period. Full reporting rules can be found in the CDE’s Prop 28 FAQ.

Credential requirements for arts education, including the Single Subject Teaching Credential (Art), Supplementary or Subject Matter Authorization (Art/Introductory Art) and Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Teaching Credential (Arts, Media and Entertainment) were detailed. Also reviewed were options for those with general education credentials interested in teaching art, such as getting a general education limited assignment permit, introductory subject matter and supplementary authorization, adding a full subject authorization, local assignment options and short-term waivers.

Options for uncredentialed educators like the use of short-term staff permits, provisional internship permits, intern credentials or variable term waivers were covered, and Beutner reminded attendees that the School Gig platform, which connects artists with job opportunities in California public schools, is active.

Pauline Crooks, San Diego County Office of Education’s performing arts coordinator, explained how the California Arts Education Framework, specifically its ninth chapter, can assist LEAs as they implement Prop 28 funding. Included in the chapter are the steps to draft a strategic arts education plan:

  1. Establish and prepare a district arts team
  2. Assess the district’s arts education programs
  3. Develop the district arts education improvement plan
  4. Present/adopt the plan for implementation
  5. Implement plan and evaluate progress


Additional resources shared during the session include:

  • CDE’s Prop 28 FAQ, the Arts Standards for Public Schools, Education Code and related state materials:
  • Commission on Teacher Credentialing Prop 28 assignment:–arts-and-music-in-schools
  • Create CA Planning Toolkit:
  • Get Lit – Words Ignite spoken word curriculum:

A recording of the event can be viewed on CDE’s Facebook page. The department will host webinars on AMS waivers, reporting and auditing in the future.