- Public Art
- Arts Education
The Arts Education & Access Fund: Frequently Asked Questions and other resources
In 2008, a region-wide planning process engaged 1,500 leaders in developing a Creative Action Plan for the Portland Metropolitan Area called Act for Art. This vision for arts and culture in the region identified the need for a new dedicated annual fund for arts education and access. The Creative Advocacy Network (CAN) was established in 2008 to make this goal a reality. Four years later, CAN launched the Schools & Arts Together campaign in support of Measure 26-146. On November 6th, 2012, Portland residents approved ballot measure, 62%-38%, allowing the creation of the Arts Education and Access Fund.
The Arts Education and Access Fund is a new public fund, supported by tax dollars, torestore arts and music education to every elementary school in Portland’s six school districts by providing stable, long-term funding for certified arts and music teachers and grants for arts access programs. This fund also supports established arts organizations city-wide to bring arts, culture and creativity to life for every Portland resident.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Why is this fund needed?
A: In Portland in 2012 there were 11,596 children attending schools that do not have any art, dance, drama, and music instruction. In 2011 only 18% of Portland elementary schools provide art instruction compared to 83% nationally; only 58% of Portland elementary schools provide music instruction compared to 94% nationally. The rate of decline for arts education in Portland has been shockingly steep. In the last five years Parkrose and Centennial School Districts have cut their arts and music teaching staff by half, while Portland Public Schools has dropped all arts instruction in 22 schools in just two years.
In addition, arts organizations in Portland receive significantly less public support than their counterparts in other U.S. cities. More public funding will help arts organizations fulfill their obligations to make the arts accessible for every Portland resident.
Q: Who pays the new tax, and how much?
A: Income-earning adult residents of the City of Portland will pay an annual income tax of $35. Only income-earning residents above the federal poverty line will be required to pay the tax, so a judge has ruled that the tax is not a head tax. The full verdict can be viewed online here.
Q: How much will be raised?
A: The City of Portland estimates that the Arts Education and Access Fund will raise $12.2 million annually starting in 2014, but somewhat less (around $8.9 million) the first year (2013).
Q: How and when will the money be collected?
A: The tax is effective beginning with the 2012 tax year. Individuals will file a tax return at the same time that federal and state taxes are due. The first payment – by mail or online – is due May 15, 2013, and RACC will receive some of the initial proceeds in October, 2013. The City’s Revenue Bureau oversees this process and manages all collections.
Q: Will there be oversight of these funds?
Yes. School districts and RACC will undergo annual independent audits. Also, an Independent Citizen Oversight committee, representative of the City’s diverse communities, has been established to annually review Fund expenditures and report the impacts to the public. Click here for a list of committee members.
Q: How will the money be dispersed?
A: Based on the City’s Revenue Bureau annual net revenue projection of $12.2M and 2011-2012 public school enrollment and teacher salary data, the Arts Education and Access Fund will be distributed as follows:
Arts Education and Access Fund, approximately $12.2 million
Approximately $6.8 million will pay for 68.5 certified arts education teachers in Portland’s school districts (Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland Public, Reynolds, and Riverdale). Districts receiving these funds are required to maintain weekly arts instruction in grades K-5.
By the summer of 2014, RACC should receive an estimated $5.4 million/year from this fund, to be invested accordingly:
- $3.6 million to fund arts organizations that provide arts programming and access for every Portland resident through RACC’s general support grants program
- $1.4 million for “access grants” to schools and arts organizations that provide arts programming for K-12 students and underserved residents
- $366,000 to coordinate arts education programs across Portland’s six school districts. Our partnership with the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program will be our foundation for this work.
Distribution amounts will shift annually based on the net revenue of the fund and the cost of funding one certified arts teacher for every 500 elementary school students.
This fund only benefits schools and arts organizations inside the City of Portland, but RACC provides important services throughout Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties.
- While schools can apply for arts access funds (see below) to help pay for the cost of artist residencies associated with The Right Brain Initiative, this measure cannot be used to pay for other Right Brain expenses including professional development for artists and teachers; evaluation; and program administration.
- This measure has no direct impact on Work for Art. Although it does raise the bar on public support for arts organizations, they still need to raise 95% of their budget through tickets and contributions, which Work for Art assists with.
- Some of the funds that RACC currently receives from the City of Portland for general operating support will be reallocated to other arts-related initiatives. It will be important for RACC and arts advocates to ensure that city council maintains these investments. RACC staff and board will be spending the next several months determining how current programs are impacted by this measure, and to recommend how the City’s general fund dollars can be used to meet other city goals for arts and culture.
In the year ahead, RACC will hire one additional grants professional to assist in administering a new grants program designed to increase access for Portland’s underserved communities, and to assist with increased reporting requirements and data collection from funded arts organizations.
The new law also provides direct funding (up to 3% of the fund) for RACC to hire two or three arts education professionals to serve as liaisons between RACC and the school districts, and craft and oversee the arts education pieces of the Arts Education & Access Fund. The structuring of an “education department” at RACC, also encompassing The Right Brain Initiative and Any Given Child, will depend heavily on the school districts’ input and needs, which are still being determined.
Q: What’s next for organizations that currently receive General Operating Support from RACC?
A: Because first year collections of a new tax are always a challenge, and because the hiring of teachers has first priority, RACC does not anticipate receiving enough funding in FY14 to bring arts organizations to the funding goal (5% of their eligible operating expenses).
- All current general support organizations will fill out interim reports in the summer of 2013 and should budget to receive flat funding from RACC in August of 2013.
- RACC will receive allocations from the Arts Education and Access Fund in October of 2013 and March of 2014, and those proceeds will be shared with general support organizations as quickly as possible. It is difficult to say how much revenue will be available at these times; arts organizations should not rely on any certain amount.
- By the summer of 2014 (and for fiscal year 2014-15), RACC expects to be receiving $5.4 million annually from the arts education and access fund, to be invested as described above. RACC anticipates being able to fund all general support organizations at 5% of their eligible operating income by that time.
The next full application for general support, including an opportunity for new organizations to apply, will be the spring of 2014 for grants in the late summer of 2014.
Q: What about smaller organizations that already receive 5% (or close to 5%) of their eligible operating income budgets from RACC?
A: RACC is working to identify other resources (such as Multnomah County dollars) so that all general support organizations can realize increased revenues as a result of the passage of this measure – perhaps up to 6 or 7% of eligible operating income for smaller organizations (those with annual budgets under $250,000).
Q: What must arts organizations do if they accept these funds?
A: In exchange for these funds, general support organizations will demonstrate how they are increasing service levels for youth and underserved communities in Portland. To fulfill our obligation to the voters and the oversight committee, RACC will have new reporting requirements asking grant recipients for more detail on where their services were delivered, and who benefited. RACC will continue to evaluate arts organizations based on artistic excellence, proven service to the community, administrative and fiscal competence and grant compliance.
Q: How and when will the new “access grants” be awarded?
In FY14, RACC will start awarding some of the special “arts access” grants through RACC’s established Project Grant program. Those applications will be due in early August, 2013 (for artistic focus and community participation projects) and early October, 2013 (for arts-in-schools projects). Watch www.racc.org for details.
Over the next several months, RACC will be designing a new system for distributing “arts access” funds in FY15 and beyond.
Starting in 2015, arts organizations that receive General Operating Support will also be able to apply for arts access funds if they can demonstrate that they are conducing extraordinarily effective outreach and education programs that meet the goals of the Arts Education & Access Fund.
CITIZEN OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
1. Yulia Arakelyan
2. Oscar Arana
3. Lionel Clegg
4. Jim Cox
5. Susan Denning
6. Victoria Dinu
7. Erika Foin
8. Alina Harway
9. Kimberly Howard
10. Kevin Jones
11. Carter MacNichol
12. Alyssa Macy
13. Juan Martinez
14. Cheri-Anne May
15. Steven Nance
16. Stanley Penkin (co-chair)
17. Chip Shields
18. Gwen Sullivan
19. Mark Wubbold
20. Anita Yap (co-chair)
Additional information on the appointees can be found here.
• Ballot measure description in the Voters’ Guide
• Contract between the City of Portland and RACC (2010)
• Amendment to the RACC/City Contract (2012)
• IGA between the City of Portland and the school districts
February 15, 2013: Western States Arts Federation, “Creative Advocacy Network Achieves Breakthrough Victory with Income Tax Measure”
December 1, 2012: Oregon Arts Watch, “Post-election: The arts tax by the numbers, What did the election results for 26-146 suggest to us”
November 18, 2012: Oregon Arts Watch, “The art tax that wouldn’t die: A few notes about the campaign to restore arts education in Portland schools”
November 7, 2012: Americans for the Arts: ARTSBlog, “An Overwhelming Win for Arts Education in Oregon”
November 7, 2012: Portland Tribune, “Adams praises art tax passage”
November 6, 2012: KATU News, “Voters approve PPS school bond, arts tax, library district”
November 6, 2012: Willamette Week, “Voters Approve Two Local Tax Measures, for Libraries and Arts in Schools”
November 6, 2012: The Oregonian, “Portland arts tax: Voters approve Measure 26-146 to pay for arts teachers, organizations”
October 29, 2012: Oregon Public Broadcasting, “Portland Voters Ponder 3 Tax Measures”
October 29, 2012: The Oregonian, “Arts education is worth a yes vote on the Portland arts tax”
October 24, 2012: Willamette Week, “One Question: Do You Support the “Arts Tax” to Fund Schools and Cultural Organizations?”
October 22, 2012: Oregon ArtsWatch, “Regress this: Some thoughts about the arts tax”
October 18, 2012: Portland Mercury, “Desperation Row”
October 17, 2012: Willamette Week: Inbox, “Vote yes on the arts tax”
October 12, 2012: Street Roots, “Street Roots endorses local measures”
October 11, 2012: A City Club Report on Ballot Measure 26-146
September 22, 2012: The Oregonian, “Portland’s arts tax: Three business leaders weigh in”
August 28, 2012: The Oregonian, “Dan Wieden on Portland’s proposed arts tax: ‘a fabulous idea’”
June 28, 2012: The Oregonian, “Arts tax would enrich educational experiences for elementary school students”
June 26, 2012: The Oregonian, “Arts education can inspire innovative, creative thinkers”
June 26, 2012: Oregon ArtsWatch, “Today on radio: Arguing the arts tax”
June 26, 2012: Oregon Public Broadcasting, Think Out Loud “Proposed Portland Arts Tax”
June 24, 2012: Oregon ArtsWatch, “Studies in uselessness: The Oregonian’s argument against support for the arts”
June 13, 2012: KGW News, “Portland considers art & music fee, hotel tax”
June 7, 2012: The Oregonian, PolitiFact, “Do only 18 percent of Portland elementary schools offer art compared to 83 percent nationally?”
June 6, 2012: KATU News, “PDX income tax proposed to help pay for music, arts in schools”
June 5, 2012: The Oregonian, “Arts tax heads to Portland City Council for possible November referral”
ADDITIONAL ARTS FUNDING RESOURCES
National Endowment of the Arts report: “How the United States Funds the Arts” (3rd edition; November 2012)
Do you have questions that aren’t addressed on this page? Click here to submit your question to RACC and we will get back to you as soon as we can -- we may even post your question (and our answer) to this page.