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SAVE FILLMORE ARTS CENTER and Restore Its Budget for Next Year and Beyond!

This petition had 855 supporters

District of Columbia Public Schools has announced its intention to stop funding our shared Fillmore Arts Center after the current 2016-17 school year.  This would mean an end to over 42 years of Fillmore’s service to local feeder schools, as well as the entire City, in the form of quality arts and music instruction, after-school workshops, and summer camps.  Specifically, it will completely end Fillmore’s arts and music programming for students from Key, Ross, Marie Reed, Hyde-Addison, and Stoddert elementary schools.

None of the 5 elementary schools has adequate space for its own arts education:  Key and Stoddert are dramatically overcrowded schools and already have trailers to handle the overflow; Ross is a landlocked school without a square inch for any new classes; Hyde-Addison and Marie Reed are both being renovated and are without access to high quality arts and music education during this time.

DCPS’s plan would force the 5 schools to implement arts and music education in whatever space they can find at their separate locations, with whatever supplies they can afford.  The result will most likely be "art-on-a-cart" instruction for 1,700 students from the 5 schools, making any choice in offerings in arts education impossible. Under DCPS’s plan, our students would lose sculpture, computer animation, digital arts, pottery, theater, dance, strings, band, and others. The end of Fillmore would mean that our students would no longer have the dedicated classrooms, studio space, instruments, tools, and supplies that they can only enjoy at Fillmore. 

The answer to these problems is quite simple:  Keep Fillmore the way it is!  The “Fillmore model” allows individual schools to pool their resources in order to provide better and more diverse course offerings than any one of them could provide on their own. The main cost difference between stand-alone programs and the Fillmore model is the cost of transporting students from the feeder schools to Fillmore.  We believe DCPS should have no difficulty locating affordable school buses to address the Fillmore schools’ glaring needs.  And, notwithstanding the cost of busing, the Fillmore schools have no other option for providing arts and music education that DCPS has made mandatory for all its students!  The expense of re-creating arts and music programming at each of the schools, and beginning the necessary long-term construction projects for several of them, would be cost prohibitive. Maintaining the Fillmore program is quite simply a smart business decision considering these circumstances.

DCPS has made several attempts since 2013 to eliminate Fillmore Arts Center, but because of an outpouring of support from our community, Fillmore was saved.  We must do so again, and this time save it permanently.  Join us in telling DCPS Interim Chancellor John Davis, Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles, and Mayor Muriel Bowser that any plan to close Fillmore is not reasonable or fair to our kids.

We, the undersigned, urge DCPS to RESTORE Fillmore’s budget for next year and beyond, so that our children may continue to thrive in the arts!

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