AB 1575 may impact art department’s funding, projects

The art department may suffer financially because of Assembly Bill 1575, which reinforces the illegality of forcing students at public schools to pay fees. Credit: Natalie Smith/The Foothill Dragon Press

The art department may suffer financially because of Assembly Bill 1575, which reinforces the illegality of forcing students at public schools to pay fees. Credit: Natalie Smith/The Foothill Dragon Press

A financial crisis facing the art program could leave the department without a large enough budget for students taking art to create proper portfolios.

Assembly Bill 1575, which is currently awaiting Governor Brown’s signature, is a bill that outlines the consequences of unlawfully asking for student fees in public schools, and will cause schools across California to rely on donations for extra expenses.

Without proper funding, the art department may be unable to afford necessary supplies for assignments such as the print making and tape projects. Students and staff worry the dynamic of the art department will be threatened by restrictions created by the bill.

“The art department as a whole is given $350 to support over 300 students. It is virtually impossible to run an art class without more funds,” art teacher Justin Frazier said. {sidebar id=60}

Although he feels he has been frugal with both money and supplies, Frazier worries the art program could get cut without the previously required fees.

“I can tell the budget is much lower this year,” senior Annabelle Warren, last year’s co-junior president of Foothill’s National Art Honor Society, said. “We don’t have enough supplies. When you run out of supplies, you’re just out of luck.”

Until this year, students in the art program were asked to make a $20 contribution to pay for various supplies. If a student came to Frazier and was unable to pay the fee, they were always excused.

Now that the donation-only policy is going to be enforced, Frazier fears he will be unable to teach certain skills due to lack of supplies.

“You cannot make great art with inferior supplies,” Frazier said.

While some teachers and students worry for their programs, student counselor Steve Boyd feels the changes could be beneficial.

“If there is any bright side, it’s that the state will see how much money it takes to run programs and if it is important enough, parents will donate,” Boyd said.

Others feel that this may give the art community a chance to come together and fund themselves, as well as attract a more diverse group of students.

“We’re getting a lot of people to go out in the community to fundraise, and this has been bringing more students to art club,” junior Mackenzie Lowry said. 

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