We’re 46th , We’re 46th   (In education spending)

Education Week’s finance issue came out recently and the bad news—California was fifth from last in per pupil spending, 46th counting the District of Columbia.  The numbers are a few years old, and we have maybe passed Oklahoma over the last couple of years (yee-haw?), but it’s even worse than it seems.

These numbers are not adjusted for cost of living, so in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, your money will buy you a lot less than Georgia or Utah.  And starting salaries are significantly higher for teachers in CA, so this money goes much faster.  We also have higher proportions of children who need more support.

And I hate to gloat, but in NY where we do a lot of work (and starting salaries are relatively close), the funding a school gets for each student is roughly double, and there is significant supplemental funding for high needs students.  In CA, the schools tend to absorb these costs themselves, without significant supplemental funding to meet exceptional needs.  And planning schools in NY versus CA, the funding there works, and you can basically give students what they need based on state funding.  In CA, you need philanthropy for a new school.

CA’s budgeting process has been screwed up by the statewide propositions which have tended to cut and slice the general budget into guaranteed categories—with education getting the lion’s share.  And while that share is good, the pie itself is too small because of the now infamous Prop 13, which capped all property taxes (residential and commercial) at unnecessarily low levels.  So schools may get half the pie roughly, but it’s a personal pan pizza to be shared by a football team.

We need to aim higher than 46th, and for real funding growth to happen we need to reform Proposition 13.  There is a logic to capping taxes for fixed income folks like retirees, or middle class homeowners, but for commercial properties, the market should rule, and similarly for McMansions, they too should kick in their fair share.

If you want to look at the advocacy efforts please join Closetheloophole, or some of the other Proposition 13 reform advocacy groups.

All our problems won’t be solved by throwing money at them, but money well spent is well deserved by CA’s kids.

You can see the table below

 

  2012 2013
  Education spending per
student
Education spending per
student
Sort Sort  Sort
Utah $6,688 $6,980
Arizona $8,101 $7,620
Texas $8,113 $7,957
Idaho $8,123 $8,163
Nevada $8,141 $8,172
California $8,308 $8,216
Oklahoma $8,624 $8,638
North Carolina $8,670 $8,737
Colorado $9,020 $8,986
Tennessee $9,113 $8,826
Florida $9,120 $9,096
Washington $9,346 $9,246
Georgia $9,394 $9,152
Alabama $9,563 $9,600
Mississippi $9,587 $9,353
New Mexico $9,736 $9,767
Virginia $9,784 $9,896
South Carolina $10,141 $10,462
Oregon $10,415 $10,377
Kentucky $10,713 $10,407
South Dakota $10,742 $10,639
Missouri $10,798 $10,767
Arkansas $11,224 $11,098
Indiana $11,230 $10,930
Kansas $11,399 $11,284
Minnesota $11,547 $11,684
Illinois $11,730 $11,831
Iowa $11,929 $12,074
Wisconsin $11,968 $11,855
Ohio $12,010 $11,842
Michigan $12,038 $12,009
Louisiana $12,375 $11,267
Maryland $12,435 $12,493
Hawaii $12,727 $12,243
Massachusetts $13,157 $13,347
Montana $13,224 $13,126
West Virginia $13,227 $12,667
North Dakota $13,443 $13,251
Nebraska $13,457 $13,630
Pennsylvania $13,653 $13,989
Rhode Island $13,814 $14,071
Delaware $13,902 $13,573
District of Columbia $13,917 $14,087
New Hampshire $14,561 $14,502
Maine $14,613 $14,310
Connecticut $15,172 $15,340
New Jersey $15,421 $15,511
New York $17,326 $17,291
Wyoming $17,758 $17,256
Alaska $18,113 $18,565
Vermont $18,882 $18,853
U.S. Average: $11,735 Average: $11,667

© 2005 Editorial Projects in Education

 

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