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Arts Programs Struggle Against Budget Cuts

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The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C. may have to cut arts programming due to a budget shortfall.
Jessica Gould
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C. may have to cut arts programming due to a budget shortfall.

By Jessica Gould

As school systems battle budget cuts and make tough choices, arts programs are often among the first things to go.

Laura Smyth, senior associate at the Arts Education Partnership, says schools are struggling to keep their arts programs alive.

"We know that across the country states and school districts are facing incredibly difficult budget decisions. And unfortunately the arts like other untested subjects are facing cuts that are in some cases quite extreme," she says.

But Smyth says many schools are doing their best to keep those programs intact.

"Anything from people having bake sales to have money for band uniforms to PTAs getting together to fund an arts specialist for the school," she says.

Take the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C.: The public school is putting on its biggest musical ever in an effort to raise money and stave off staff cuts.

"Rather than people being discouraged, everyone has rallied around this institution," says Principal Rory Pullens. "Rallied around this production and said, 'Hey. Let's get creative and do something that will make a difference.'"

Ellington has already sold more than 5,000 tickets to its production of "Dreamgirls," and hopes to raise at least $300,000.

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