HuffPo: LAUSD Budget Cuts: Matt Sorum Serenades The Board Meeting

16 02 2012

The Huffington Post   

First Posted: 02/15/2012 1:47 pm Updated: 02/15/2012 5:49 pm

It turns out that three minutes with a rock star is enough to make the Los Angeles Unified School District forget its troubles — and delay massive budget cuts.

Matt Sorum, former drummer for Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver.

Along with a consortium of teachers union reps and protesting parents, former Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum and award-winning actress and choreographer Debbie Allen took a stand against budget cuts that would gut the entire adult education department, get rid of after-school tutoring, and completely cut arts education from all elementary schools.

In the video above, Sorum walks up to the podium to a round of applause before telling schools superintendent John Deasy that an arts education at a Southern California public school is what laid the foundation for Sorum to become “a world-renowned rock ‘n’ roll sensation.”

Sorum then addresses schools superintendent John Deasy, calling him a fellow “rock star” for changing students’ lives. He also pledges the support of the nearby entertainment community to help save arts education before offering to work things out in a private meeting, “rock star to superintendent.”

Deasy reacted the way any rock ‘n’ roll fan would — AP reporter Christina Hoag tweeted that he “looked tickled” at the suggestion, while LA Weekly reporter Tessa Stuart described the superintendent as “swooning” and “starstruck.”

Sorum’s stand for arts education even got stars Juliette Lewis and Charlie Sheen to tweeting about the LAUSD board meeting. Lewis re-tweeted Sorum, saying “I know I’d be lost” without arts education in schools. Sheen tweeted, “we can all help… Matt can’t do it alone! keep music in public schools!”

But it looks like he’s trying to. Sorum has launched a campaign called Adopt The Arts to save arts education in Los Angeles Public Schools. An upcoming fundraising event in March will feature actress Jane Lynch as host, dinner by celebrity chef Kerry Simon and a performance by Sorum’s band Magnificent Seven.

Thanks in part to Sorum’s speech, the LAUSD board decided to hold off on a $6 billion budget plan that would result in thousands of layoffs and program guts. Instead, the vote has been delayed while the school district and teachers union pledged to work together to address the$557 million budget deficit without having to cut adult and arts education from the district.

(Full Story)




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