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Chancellor Restores Funding to Fillmore Arts Center

Funding will help retain four teachers who were slated to be fired.

Fillmore Arts Center shares a building with Hardy Middle School.
Fillmore Arts Center shares a building with Hardy Middle School.
DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson changed course Wednesday, deciding to fund the Fillmore Arts Center at the same level it was funded this year instead of making cuts, thus saving the jobs of four full-time staff members.

Henderson cited "recent, positive changes in our budget outlook" for the upcoming school year for her reversal. 

Parents groups advocated on behalf of the Fillmore program, which provides arts and music education to children from eight DC public schools.

"We’re thrilled to hear the news. The Friends of Fillmore really appreciate all the hard work that’s been done by Fillmore’s advocates on the Council, and we’re grateful to Chancellor Henderson for finding a way to fund the program at a sustainable level," the Friends of Fillmore said in a statement. 

Councilmembers Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who both pushed the Chancellor to find the necessary funding, applauded the decision.

“In the case of Fillmore, the small amount budgeted was well spent and provides solid results to students, and to parents who attend dance recitals or see the artwork students bring home,” said Cheh and Evans in a statement. “We are very pleased to hear that the Chancellor agreed with us and the parents and decided to keep Fillmore open.

The center has faced cuts in recent years, but the proposed fiscal year (FY) 2014 cuts would have required Principal Katherine Latterner to cut four of the remaining five full-time staff positions at the arts center.

Funding data previously provided by the Friends of Fillmore shows that between FY 2011 and the originally proposed FY 2014 budget, per pupil funding would decrease by 40 percent, a change that is independent of number of schools involved in the program.

Parents asked Henderson to restore $300,000 in funding to return Fillmore to its 2011-2012 funding levels. By restoring funding to the FY 2013, Henderson is providing less than parents asked for, but enough to prevent cuts to core staff. 

"We’re still concerned about the years ahead, because we need to find a sustainable, long-term funding model and assure that Fillmore won’t be forced to fight each year for the money needed to deliver its award-winning programs, just as it has done for more than 30 years," according to a statement from the Friends of Fillmore. 

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