PPS to parents: “We cannot offer music”

Portland Public Schools parents are getting emails from their principals laying out the bad news for next year: Your school is losing its music teacher or art teacher.


Unfortunately, we also knew this was coming for years. In fact, it was one of the many reasons voters were urged to vote NO on the ill-fated Arts Tax.

The Arts Tax was sold on the promise of “preserving” art and music education in schools. In fact, most of the money was earmarked to hire new art and music teachers. Now those teachers are losing their jobs, but the Arts Tax is still in place.

Way back when … in 2012 … this information was presented by Art Tax opponents to City Council and to the WWeek and Portland City Club endorsement committees:

In 2007, Oregon enacted a law mandating that by 2017, K-5 students must spend at least 150 minutes week in physical education—that’s more than twice the amount of time as PPS students currently spend in PE. If we demand more PE, then we know some other “elective” will get squeezed out. Will we give up reading, writing, and math? How about science and social studies? Facing reality, we all know that the looming PE requirements will be a death sentence on arts and music education and no amount of new taxes will fix it.

So, what exactly are the city and school district going to do with all that Arts Tax money?