Contact: Sandra Jackson, CTA, 916-325-1550 or Julie White, ACSA, 916-329-3832 or Ioannis Kazanis, CSBA, 916- 669-3244 or Steve Hopcraft, CFT, 916-457-5546
Sacramento – Representatives of the Education Coalition today urged the Governor and lawmakers to invest in public education, to protect the integrity of Proposition 98, and to provide COLA and ADA growth for all K-12 programs in the State budget. The Coalition pointed to recent studies by Stanford University that heighten awareness about insufficient school funding and the group urged lawmakers to consider schools and students high priorities in the budget process.
“To make California schools great again, we must ensure that our public education system is the number one budget priority for the State of California,” said Pam Brady, president-elect of the California State PTA.
“Our students and our schools continue to make significant and steady progress in academic achievement. We hope the Governor’s May Revision reflects his initial budget commitment to maintain stable funding for education. We look forward to working with the administration and lawmakers to uphold this commitment,” said Bob Wells, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators.
“In January, the Governor called for fully funding a cost-of-living increase and growth for our public schools and community colleges. In March, Stanford University released studies that showed our schools need substantially more funding to help them continue to improve. We want to work with the Governor and the Legislature to ensure our students and schools receive the adequate, sustained and long-term funding they need to succeed,” added Barbara Kerr, president of the California Teachers Association.
Recently released reports by Stanford University show California lags behind the rest of the nation in per-pupil funding and that to assure a quality education for every student, particularly those in low-income neighborhoods, California must increase school funding by at least an estimated 40 percent. According to the research, even after accounting for recent budget increases, California’s K-12 spending is below the national average. Adjusting for regional cost differences, Texas spends 12 percent more per pupil than California; Florida, 18 percent; New York, 75 percent, and the rest of the country, 30 percent.
Rick Pratt, assistant executive director for governmental relations of the California School Boards Association said, “Every year, we’re told that education is being fully funded in the state budget, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, Prop. 98 provisions are satisfied, but this funding is hardly sufficient when it comes down to making sure that our students get every dollar necessary to ensure they’re receiving a high quality education. And this year is no different; at the same time the Legislature is contemplating reducing the current year appropriation just because the Proposition 98 formula would allow for it, we have more than $200 million in unpaid K-12 bills.”
“ Protecting Proposition 98’s constitutional education funding guarantees and advocating for the reimbursement of state mandated costs, an increase in special education funding and a remedy for revenue shortfalls in declining enrollment districts are all critical in the 2007-08 budget process,” explained Brian Lewis, executive director of the California Association of School Business Officials.
Mike Weimer of the California Federation of Teachers added, “It’s critical we address ongoing deficits for programs that serve California’s low-performing students, students that have been retained and those students struggling to achieve at grade level. These students and these programs deserve full funding.”
California has the most rigorous academic standards in the country and is one of the largest economies in the world. Yet California’s spending per student has trailed the national average for almost three decades. California ranks 43rd in the nation in per-pupil spending when adjusted for the cost of living. California public schools continue to have some of the largest class sizes in the country, ranking next to last in the number of students per teacher and counselors per student. California ranks dead last in the number of librarians per student.