Election 2022: This is everything you need to know about Prop 28

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 17: NAMM Foundation Day of Service at Patrick Henry Elementary School on January 17, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for NAMM)

California voters will decide on seven propositions on the November ballot. 

Among them, Proposition 28, a measure to guarantee annual funding for arts and music education in public schools.  

"This is the one thing voters can vote ‘yes’ on, where 6 million kids in public schools across CA with smiles on their faces," said Austin Beutner, former Los Angeles Unified superintendent and the author of Prop 28. 

If passed by voters, Prop 28 would require the state to set aside money, equal to 1% of the overall education budget to fund art and music education at K-12 public schools. 

Estimates put the annual number at roughly $1 billion. At least 80% of that funding must go towards hiring staff. 

"If we can let all the creative talents across the state of California know there’s a real opportunity for them to work with children, for a fair wage and good benefits--I think we’re going to see immense talent coming into schools, but that requires ongoing funding," said Beutner. 

There’s no formal opposition filed to Prop 28, but critics say locking the state into specific funding requirements could create problems in a budget shortfall. 

Beutner points out only 1 in 5 public schools in the state has a full-time arts and music program. One of them, in Oakland. 

"A lot of schools in the state and in the country don’t have this kind of program and I think music is an important part of school and life in general," said Gabi Kirsh, an eighth-grade trumpet player at Edna Brewer middle school in Oakland. 

For 16 years, music director Zack Pitt-Smith’s taught students who have never picked up an instrument to the advanced band class. His passion is driven in part by the moment when a student hits a note, learns a new song, or reaches a goal. 

"It’s not a light bulb, it’s a fire," said Pitt-Smith. "Because it’s not just like ‘aha..but I’m so capable." 

Students in music class say they have learned much more than music. 

"Just playing right in front of everybody, since this instrument is so loud, gives me a lot of confidence, translates to other classes," said Blake Rogers, an eighth-grade bassoon player. 

SEE ALSO: What is on the ballot in California in 2022?

For the music instructors at the middle school, the idea of expanding resources for arts education at their school and beyond—is music to their ears. "You want them to be a scientist, give them the arts," said Stephanie Holmes, Edna Brewer’s director of orchestras. 

"Giving students voices who are often disenfranchised and not listened to, on the greater cultural scale, give them and instrument and see what they can do," said Pitt-Smith.