When a school needs to make cuts, where does it look first? Many people would believe schools initially target the arts and music programs – the “fun” subjects.

However, that is not the case. Despite a struggling economy the last few years, most New Jersey schools’ arts programs have remained in tact.

The visual and performing arts must be taught in every New Jersey public school at every grade level.

“(Schools) can’t do away with them altogether,” said Mike Yaple of the New Jersey School Boards Association. “You might see some cutting, but you won’t see a whole-scale cutting of art and music altogether.”

Last year, the SJSBA conducted an informal survey of schools in the Garden State.

According to the survey, one-third of elementary schools made a cut to their arts and music programs over the past three years. One-fifth of high schools did the same.

Yaple said schools attempt to make cuts outside the classroom before anything else, including cuts to transportation and summer programs.

Yaple continued, “The visual and performing arts is one of those subject areas that state education officials and parents believe are necessary to a well-rounded education.”