News from the Local Advocacy Network: Placentia Yorba Linda

The Challenge: How do you garner support for a far-reaching arts plan in tough financial times? 

The Strategy: Partnership and patience. But not too much patience. 
The Story: Adopting a district arts plan is a great way to build community support for a long-term commitment to arts education in schools. But given the state of public school funding in California, it’s understandable that district officials would be cautious about agreeing to a plan with long-term financial implications. 
Sandee Van Oyen, the Local Organizer for the Placentia Yorba Linda Alliance for Arts Education, who spearheaded the effort says she was lucky to find strong commitment to the arts in the school board, district staff and County Department of Education -- and patience. 
“Without the support and partnership of staff within the district office we could not have pulled this off,” says Van Oyen “It took months and months of meetings and carefully going over the details of the Arts Advantage plan so that everyone could understand and become comfortable with the fiscal impact. A lot of patience was required on everyone’s part.”

Van Oyen said that in addition to patience, there’s also a time when you have to push so that things don’t lose momentum. “It’s hard to sustain a planning process over this period of time, so when things seemed to be at a standstill, we set up a meeting with our partners to encourage them to keep going!” 

From start to finish the project took two years to accomplish, but in March the finished plan was adopted by the School Board. In his presentation of the plan at the school board meeting, District VAPA Coordinator Phil Mortensen called it a “day of celebration and joy,” and noted that the adoption of the plan meant that the district would now “have access to many grants, professional development, and arts resources.” 
Congratulations to the Placentia Yorba Linda Alliance and their partners on this accomplishment! 

(Pictured above left: PYL Alliance members, Sandee Van Oyen, Gabriella Rollins and Debi Grant. Above right: PYL School Board Members Carrie Buck and Judi Carmona)