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  • April 07, 2016 3:23 PM | Pam Olson

    April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month!

    In honor of April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we’ve compiled a list of shocking facts that will convince even the most stubborn of drivers to put their cellphones down while driving. Did you know…

    - Drivers who text while behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a non-distracted driver?

    - Oregon is at the top of the list for U.S. motor vehicle deaths, according to the National Safety Council, with an almost eight percent increase in 2015 – marking the largest increase in 50 years?

    - Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds; at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field-blindfolded?

    - A recent study has equated texting on a cell phone equivalent to driving drunk? 

    To save lives and prevent injuries, law enforcement agencies will be on the road this month to issue warnings, citations or make arrests during traffic stops. So, make sure you throw your phone in the back seat, or place it on silent in the glove box and choose to stay focused on the road. We encourage all our clients to take the pledge to stop cellphone use while driving, click on this link to pledge today!

  • April 04, 2016 1:23 PM | Deleted user

    Every Portland elementary school now has an arts teacher, thanks to the arts tax

    Find stories about the impact of the tax online in April at #pdxlovesart

    In November 2012, 63% of Portland voters overwhelmingly passed Ballot Measure 26-146 to create the Arts Education & Access Fund, now known as the “arts tax.” The tax directly funds 72 K-5, music, dance and visual art teachers in the city’s six school districts: Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Reynolds and Riverdale School Districts and Portland Public Schools. Thanks to the $35 income tax, every elementary school in the City of Portland currently has at least one art, music or dance teacher on staff.

    “The arts tax has nearly tripled the number of elementary arts teachers in Portland and we’re so proud of this early success. On that score, Portlanders got what they voted for,” said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC). “Cities all over the nation are eager to replicate this sustainable funding stream for arts education.”

    Arts Tax by the Numbers

    • In the 2012-13 school year – before Portland districts began receiving arts tax funds – City of Portland elementary schools had 31 arts teachers. By 2015-16, the total number of K-5 arts teachers has increased to 91.
    • Ballot Measure 26-146 ensures one arts teacher for every 500 students. As of 2015-16, districts have beat that promise, providing one arts teacher for every 398 students across the City.
    • Portland Public Schools has more than quadrupled its number of elementary arts teachers, jumping from 15 teachers in 2012-13 to 64 in 2015-16.
    • A total of $6,820,136 in arts tax funding went to Portland elementary schools in 2015-16. Broken down by district, total allocations are:
    • $4,558,212 - Portland Public Schools
    • $956,169 - David Douglas School District
    • $541,171 - Centennial School District
    • $393,788 - Reynolds School District
    • $324,847 - Parkrose School District
    • $45,950 - Riverdale School District

    In addition to the arts tax dollars funneled to school districts for teacher salaries, $139,000 of the fund goes to RACC for arts education coordination expenses. RACC now offers professional development workshops for music and arts teachers hired through the arts tax, at no cost to districts. This training helps arts teachers connect their work to Common Core State Standards, and collaborate with colleagues in their buildings. RACC is also building new ways to connect the cultural resources of Portland to local schools.

    The remaining dollars raised through the tax funds much-needed general operating expenses for local arts organizations, and projects that increase access to the arts for underrepresented communities. As tax collections increase, RACC will allocate additional funds to these causes.

    The arts tax is due Monday, April 18 for City of Portland income earners at bit.ly/pdxlovesart. Read more about the arts tax at http://bit.ly/ArtsTaxFAQ.

    Stories about the impact of arts tax-funded teachers can be found online throughout the month of April at #pdxlovesart.

    ###

    The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art, a workplace giving program; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts.


    PHOTO CAPTION: Before the arts tax, Sitton Elementary in St. Johns didn't have a full-time arts specialist. Now, students receive weekly instruction from art teacher Carlos Baca.   

    This press release can be found online at http://bit.ly/1PQCr2E.

    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Mary Bauer, Communications Associate
    Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)
    411 NW Park, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97209   
    503.823.5426  racc.org | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
    mbauer@racc.org

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