Arts at Oregon public schools diminished slightly in recent years, according to a new report from the state's arts commission.

The number of schools with licensed arts teachers fell by 3 percent, between 2009 and 2012. Nearly a quarter of Oregon schools lacked arts teachers, representing nearly 65,000 students.

Deb Vaughn with the Oregon Arts Commission said program decisions can be very local -- and be subject to changes in leadership or staffing. Vaughn also points to new national standards in core areas like math and English.

"I certainly think that a perceived competition for instructional time between other subject areas also may have something to do with some of these transitions," said Vaughn.

Hood River, Sherman, Morrow and Wheeler counties had licensed arts teachers at every school. In Jefferson, Harney and Crook counties less than half of schools did.

Three quarters of Multnomah County schools had arts teachers in 2012. That doesn't include new staff hired this year with the new Portland arts tax funds.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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