The DC Department of Public Schools’ (DCPS) 2013-2014 budget includes cuts to the Fillmore Arts Center that leave the program “with no hope of viability,” the Friends of Fillmore group says.
Fillmore â€”Â part of the DC Public School system â€”Â providesÂ classes, workshops and summer programs inÂ dance, music, theater, visual arts, creative writing and media arts toÂ more than 3,500 DC Public School students each year. The students who benefit from the programs are pulled from Garrison, Hearst, Houston, Hyde, Key, Raymond, Ross, Stoddert and River Terrace schools.
According to Friends of Fillmore â€”Â the PTA groupÂ who started a petition in response to the cutsÂ â€” per-pupil funding atÂ the school has dropped byÂ 40 percent in the last four years. The latest round of cuts will forceÂ Fillmoreâ€™s principal toÂ eliminate four of the five full-time teaching positions that remain at the arts school.
Friends of Fillmore is asking DC Public SchoolsÂ Chancellor Kaya Henderson to restore $300,000 to Fillmore’s budget for next year. This amount would restore the school’s budget to about what it was in theÂ 2011-2012 school year.
“You need to rememberÂ that instruction in different areas of art donâ€™t just make artists, it makesÂ flexible, creative thinkers with critical minds ready to problem solve,” says Kelly Richmond, board chair of Friends of Fillmore, in a letter. “ArtsÂ training builds student confidence, perseverance, focus and dedication. TheseÂ children will be asked to collaborate, work with constructive feedback andÂ express themselves non-verbally when they learn in the arts. All skills IÂ want in my future neighbors, employees, mortgage bankers, librarians, busÂ drivers, frankly anybody I encounter. Donâ€™t you?”
So far, the petition has more than 600 signatures of support.Â FillmoreÂ Arts Center has been active for more than 30 years. It operates two locations, including one atÂ 1819 35th Street NW and one atÂ 915 Spring Road NW.