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Funding stability urged for arts, science programs

Arts and science outreach programs in the schools would have more stable funding under legislative fiscal analyst recommendations.

The analyst on Friday recommended restoring line-item status to programs from Ballet West, Children's Dance Theatre, Hansen Planetarium, Repertory Dance Theatre, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Utah Opera and the Utah Symphony.Those programs currently must apply for State Office of Education funding each year and undergo annual evaluations. As a line item, funding would be automatic. The analyst recommends an evaluation every four years.

The recommendation is supported by the planetarium and performing arts groups, school officials and the State Office of Education.

"The arts allow (students) to participate and see they have something to contribute," said Patrick Garcia, principal of Lincoln Elementary in the Salt Lake City School District. His comments came in a presentation including Children's Dance Theatre dancers and a Utah Symphony violinist.

The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee likely will vote on the matter next week.