AUSTIN (KXAN) - This week, fine arts students from across the state swarmed the Texas State Capitol to tell lawmakers their curriculum is not extracurricular.
As the House Appropriations Committee looks to shore up the budget's portion of public education funding Wednesday, and possibly pass it out of committee as early as next week, those students' fears rest with potential cuts to their programs.
"If fine arts courses are singled out for budget cuts, we will be cutting the heart out of the education system in Texas," said Robert Floyd, director of the Texas Coalition for Quality Arts Education .
Carol de Cardenas echoed that sentiment just down the street from the Capitol at Central Christian Church. The structure became a home for her private fine arts school in its inaugural year.
"When I see teachers being laid off and programs being cut, I worry for those students," said de Cardenas, the Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts ' executive director.
The school began as an outreach program for the arts as de Cardenas, a former teacher, saw such programs in public schools often suffering.
Sophomore Kelsey Richards, 15, is among the progam's biggest successes.
"I really enjoy performing a lot," said Richards.
With vocal talent and dramatic dreams, she gets all of her academics -- including fine arts – from the Texas Education Agency-accredited school. From singing to dance to theater, the 12 students enrolled there do not miss out.
"We can only serve so many students," said de Cardenas.
ASPVA will only hold about 100 students in this location. But, on the plus side, as a private school, it will not see state cuts.
De Cardenas considers students like Richards very lucky. Before Richards enrolled, she was in public school and had already started to see her own fine arts program disappear.
"It's definitely frightening to think about that," Richards said.
However, maintaining a private school focused on such a subject is very tough. Tuition pays for most of the program, but the school must constantly have fund raisers, like the " The Art of Fashion " show it will hold Wednesday night.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.
An unusually cold blast of arctic air arriving early Thursday will be followed by an increasing chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet by Friday morning.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
Former Georgetown Police Officer Stephanie Brown said her ex-boyfriend, former Round Rock Officer Eric Poteet, made up accusations against her after she broke up with him.