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Nonprofit promotes city arts tax as payment deadline nears

Portland nonprofit Creative Advocacy Network says that thanks to the city's new arts tax, 100 percent of Portland Public Schools elementary students will have access to art, music, dance or drama classes at their schools next year.

The nonprofit announced last week that during this school year, 16 Portland elementary schools were unable to offer certified teachers in art, music, dance or drama. The city’s new $35 per-person tax has changed that, the group said.

CAN made the announcement as part of a public awareness campaign aimed at promoting the effort behind the new tax as the deadline to pay it approaches.

Portland voters adopted the arts tax in November to help fill a budget gap for arts education in PPS elementary schools. Just about everyone in Portland 18 or older must pay the tax by May 15. There are exemptions for families below the poverty level and others who seek an exemption from the tax.

A new Arts Education & Access Fund created by the tax allows for 70 certified elementary art, music, dance and drama teachers in Portland schools.

CAN pressed for the local arts tax after research found that Portland fell far behind the national average in arts education for elementary school students.