Assessing Your Current Arts Education Funding

It is helpful to gain an understanding of the total amount of funds that are currently spent on arts education in the district. This can be one of the most elusive areas of research because the total current funding for arts education in the district may come from many different sources. These sources may include the general funds, categorical funds, special program funds (i.e. GATE), education foundations, assistance leagues, booster clubs, PTA/PTO, service clubs, parents, and assorted site-based funds and fundraisers.

The following questions can guide you as you attempt to determine the current level of funding for arts programs in your district. A subcommittee of the team may need to focus on funding throughout the planning process. Additional surveys may be distributed to booster clubs, PTA/PTO, or education foundations for greater accuracy in determining funding levels. The district budget office should be able to provide information about teacher salaries, equipment, and supplies.

Click the links below to access both a blank template and a completed sample of the Current Arts Funding Matrix:

Current Arts Funding Matrix (blank) [Word Doc: 42KB]

Current Arts Funding Matrix (completed sample) [PDF: 51KB]

The Current Arts Funding Matrix provides an example of how to organize the funding information you gather, and serves as a springboard for the discussion that follows.

As you analyze your funding chart, consider these guiding questions:

  • What district funding sources are being tapped for arts education? (teacher salaries, per pupil allocations, instructional supplies/materials/equipment)
  • What non-district funds are utilized for arts programs? (As noted above, education foundation, special programs or grants, etc.)
  • What school-based funding sources are being tapped for arts education? (categorical funds, school improvement, gifted/talented, Title I-II-VII, PTA, booster clubs, student body, state lottery, transportation/buses, special programs or grants, etc.)
  • How does district spending compare to school/site-based spending?
  • Are community partners providing financial support for arts instruction?
  • How does spending differ across each of the four arts disciplines?
  • What percentage of the total district budget is currently being applied toward arts education?

The purpose of data collection and data analysis in STAGE 2 is to tell the story of arts education as it currently exists in the district. If you find your team getting bogged down in the minute details of data collection, focus on using the results (even if somewhat imperfect) to move forward with the vision and planning elements of the process. Even a fundamental idea of the state of arts education in the district is useful, and the process is flexible enough to allow for circling back if more information is needed during the development of the strategic plan.