SLO County unequal in student funding

June 3, 2011

State lawmakers have struggled for decades to bring equality to how school districts are funded, yet some San Luis Obispo County school districts receive thousands more per student than others, according to  California Watch analysis. And the data shows spending more provides no assurance of academic success. [CaliforniaWatch]

In 2010, California schools districts with at least 500 students spent an average of $8,452 to educate each student, a figure that includes money from local, state, and federal sources, including one-time stimulus funds, the study said.

More money, however, does not necessarily translate into better learning. California Watch’s analysis shows there is no substantial correlation between how much a school district spends and its Academic Performance Index (API), which is based on student test scores and other academic measures.

The Templeton Unified School District , for example, spent less than half of what  the Coast Unified School District spent per student last year. Yet its API score was 848, compared with Coast Unified’s 785 API.

The spending per student and average API scores for San Luis Obispo County school districts in 2010:

Atascadero School District $7,135  –  API 804

Cayucos District $10,493   –  API Score 896

Coast Unified District $13,775  –   API Score 785

Lucia Mar Unified $7,406  –   API Score 815

Paso Robles Joint Unified $7,843  –   API Score 786

Pleasant Valley Joint Union Elementary $9,010   –  API Score 806

San Luis Coastal Unified $8,234  –   API Score 830

San Miguel Joint Union Elementary School District $7,629   –  API Score 754

Shandon Joint Unified $8,234   –  API Score 755

Templeton Unified School District $6,903   –  API Score 848

Some smaller districts spent much more. For example, the Pacific Unified School District on a remote stretch of the California coast near Hearst Castle, spent close to $60,000 per student, the report said.

Public schools consume the largest share of the state’s shrinking general fund – 42 percent of the $86 billion total. How those funds are allocated is coming under increasing scrutiny by education leaders, advocacy groups, school districts and lawmakers, California Watch said.

In April, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee, introduced education finance reform legislation.

“We talk a lot about the achievement gap, but there is also a parallel financial gap,” Brownley said to California watch. Unless the system is reformed, we will continue to have this disparity and this divide.”


10 Comments

  1. Spirit Filled says:

    $60,000.00 per student????? Must be the smartest kids in the world. I sure wouldn’t want to be them. Too many expectations from others, including me. I will bet none of them drink alcohol, smoke, take drugs, or look at porn on the computer when no one is home. These kids are smart!
    Atascadero School District $7,135 – API 804 Future councilmen or women. Kids in Atrashcadero are smart also. We don’t need $60,000 to be smart. We save money and pass tests. Wow, we are incredible! Keep up the good work guys and girls. God Bless all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. srichison says:

    The California Supreme Court ordered equalization of school district funding in 1971, then reaffirmed the decision twice after that (Serrano v. Priest). Gee, haven’t we made lots of progress? The politicians in Sacramento are the villains here. They established the bloated state bureaucracy that pretends to know something about education. Until there is equalization of funding AND a return of decision making authority to the local level where the money comes from in the first place, none of your complaints will be addressed. No politician in Sacramento cares enough to put his/her career on the line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. willie says:

    Your children and grand children are the most precious thing in the cosmos to you living or dead.
    When you think of leaving them assets, it can be used and taken from them or they can make $ their god and become false gods/ politicians.
    All, any of us can do is give our off springs education/ personal experience/ development, they can be used but this cannot be taken from them ever.
    All of us cannot be the president of the US, have 40 acres and a mule, be doctors and lawyers, and may not wannabe!.
    The pursue to happiness has to be with the uniqueness as DNA, one of a kind.
    Help them find their passion and provide them education!
    I try to find my children’s passion by taking them to barns & Nobles Down Town SLO, although it can change, Let them free to find the magazine or books to suit their heart, take note, keep track, and begin early to assist their unique passion.
    When the politicians spend on education, they waste and spoil, and when they cut they screw our children, the system needs to be changed (and of course politians will screw it up agin, look at the California Lottery)
    The education of our children is too precious to allow the system to sly by us with the usual BS, time being the most important (the children are getting bigger and we are getting older).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • willie says:

      One professor made a contraian remark to me, and I illustrated to him past references (cause) and present BS (effect), and he woke up, my wife told me I was sort of impolite. I don’t care and you should not either, and I told them both this is too important!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  4. Nicol873 says:

    Over staffing and top heavy bloated administrative and management compensation, overhead and benefits are the problem. Unfortunately the teachers and lower paid employees are the first to be cut. Teacher staffing and compensation are not the problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  5. Typoqueen says:

    Time for the union bashing. We can’t have a story like this without blaming everything on the union.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 10

  6. r0y says:

    Actually, this has been known for a long time. And not just on a local level but nationally, as well.

    What’s worse is, we also suck vs. the world – but to most conservatives and virtually all libertarians, this is not news. “But it’s for the CHILDREN!!1!” – no. No, it’s not. It’s for the archaic system of self-perpetuation that has infected education and is a cancer to our national intellect. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is on the whole; please don’t point out “the good teacher” example, let’s focus on the whole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

    • LittleAcorn says:

      People who lack education and skills are unable to challenge those who would control them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

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