California funding of public education hits all-time low

October 17, 2011

Government support of public education in the Golden State has dropped to a historic low, compared to the rest of the country, according to a new report by the California Budget Project. [California Watch]

California ranks 46th in the U.S. in K-12 spending per student. It spent $2,856 less per student in 2010-11 than did the rest of the nation – a spending gap that is four times wider than it was a decade earlier, when the state lagged behind by $691 per student.

While it’s debatable whether more spending means better schools, it’s clear that sharp declines in California’s general fund revenue, particularly since the 2007-08 fiscal year, have left schools strapped for resources, said Jonathan Kaplan, senior policy analyst at the project and author of the report.

“A decade of disinvestment has left California’s spending for public schools lagging the nation by a number of measures,” states the report. “The Proposition 98 guarantee, designed to ensure a minimum level of funding for California’s schools and community colleges, has not prevented significant cuts to the resources available to schools. Lawmakers have repeatedly cut state spending in recent years in response to the dramatic decline in revenues caused by the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s. As a result, 2010-11 estimated General Fund spending was lower as a share of the state’s economy than in 35 of the prior 40 years. Recent cuts have reversed longstanding policies and have left public systems and programs ill-equipped to cope with the ongoing impact of the Great Recession and the challenges of a growing population and an ever-more-competitive global economy.”

The figures are concerning because California has more students and greater challenges than other states, Kaplan said. The state has the most English-language learners in the country and large numbers of low-income families – nearly 57 percent of California students were eligible for free or reduced-price meals in 2010-11.

“California’s population is more challenging to teach, and yet we are consistently spending less than other states to go about addressing those specific needs,” Kaplan said. “The fact that there are more students per teacher in California classrooms than any other state in the nation means there’s less attention that can be placed on students with particular needs.”

The spending per student for San Luis Obispo County school districts in 2010:

Atascadero School District $7,135

Cayucos District $10,493

Coast Unified District $13,775

Lucia Mar Unified $7,406

Paso Robles Joint Unified $7,843

Pleasant Valley Joint Union Elementary $9,010

San Luis Coastal Unified $8,234

San Miguel Joint Union Elementary School District $7,629

Shandon Joint Unified $8,234

Templeton Unified School District $6,903


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With California leading the nation in budget woes it should not be a surprise as many budget items are going to have to be cut back. California has the second highest unemployment rate in the Country so it won’t be getting better right away. Education funding is the biggest part of the California State budget so it is impossible not to have deep cuts. It is simply a mathematical reality.

Are you sure? Check this out before making up your mind:

US: ‘Thrive’ filmmaker Foster Gamble explains how governments at all levels operate on two sets of books: one for the public and one for insiders. [The public books deal with budgeted operations and show revenue from taxes and fines. The confidential books relate to a ‘hush-hush’ fund that derives revenue from investments. Most of these hidden funds are awash in money while the governments that own them are pretending to be broke.] YouTube 2012 Jul 6

atascadero School District $7,135

Cayucos District $10,493

Coast Unified District $13,775

Lucia Mar Unified $7,406

Paso Robles Joint Unified $7,843

Pleasant Valley Joint Union Elementary $9,010

San Luis Coastal Unified $8,234

San Miguel Joint Union Elementary School District $7,629

Shandon Joint Unified $8,234

Templeton Unified School District $6,903


How is it that these costs per student are allegedly so pathetic for public schools and yet I could take this money and get a better even optimal education with it for my kid at a private school? Do I hear vouchers anyone?

Think about it. How many elementary school teachers out there would be willing to quit their job and teach 10 kids privately for a payment of 80k a year? What? Every single one? Probably. That tells you that the 8k per kid isn’t going to the teacher it’s going elsewhere. What’s the average elementary school class size right now, 30? 30 x 8k is 240k–per classroom! And we’re broke? Hmmm.

Yes, forget the overhead (buildings/utilities/support), just focus on the $80,000 for teaching 10 kids. No extracurricular activities?

Not to count public schools are REQUIRED to take all. The wheelchair bound. The learning disabled. The troubled.

Exactly, I wonder how many of those private schools can provide for kids with special needs. The school voucher idea is terrible. It would cause terrible segregation. Schools will lose all diversity which is a very important part of teaching kids about the real world. The people that can throw in a few extra bucks on top of the voucher will be going to the elite schools. Minorities and kids with special needs will be stuck at the cheaper private schools. For a short time I sent one of my kids to a private SLO school, at the time it had a good reputation. I took my child out of that school and realized that the public school was much better for numerous reasons.

I sort of agree with this here. First, I probably would vote YES to vouchers because I would use them myself in a heartbeat. If one is NOT constantly striving for the best education for their children, then one is not a good parent in my book.

That said, what Typo brings up somewhat accurate. Private schools have a HUGE advantage over public schools because private schools do not have to take every student – they can REJECT any student they either are not set up to handle (special needs) or those trouble-makers who bring everyone down (the losers).

Public schools HAVE to take all the kids in. Every one of them. I imagine there are quite a few teachers that would LOVE to hand the child back to the parent(s) and say, “here you go! He’s all yours!” and be done with it. This does not happen, not without some serious criminal happenings (i.e. the kid is busted for gang-related murder).

I am positive, without a doubt, the private sector can do a better job, for less money, and educate (not indoctrinate). Unfortunately, that costs a lot of money (only about $3,000-$5,000 for elementary levels per student per year), money most of which is already given in taxation. Even the slightest voucher would be welcome, and likely have me move my kids into private. As it stands, they are staying in the public school system, and the further they go in it, the worse it is becoming. Sure, there are some gems here and there, but most of it is pretty pathetic, especially if one has ever seen education OUTSIDE California.

If you have a free market, you won’t need vouchers. You can take your OWN money anywhere you want and spend it any way you like.

Hello. It was just a quick example, to show how ridiculous the lack of school funding argument is. The money disappears into the bureaucracy and we all know it. It wasn’t presented as an all encompassing plan obviously.

People who are against vouchers refuse to think it through.

1. Private schools do offer buildings and music and playground equipment and insurance etc. etc. for the same amount of money spent on public schools. Do you understand that? The same amount of money. And they perform better and produce better students for the same amount of money because they are properly motivated. It’s the same reason why when a guy owns his own farm it produces more than when he works a government farm.

2. Nobody is taking the money of the public school for the children who are staying. In other words, Johnny gets his 7k to go to public school whether or not Sally’s 7k is right there next to Johnny’s or down the street at a private school. Johnny is in no way hurt by Sally not being there. He gets the same education with or without Sally. Why hold Sally back? How unfair is that? If Johnny’s a troubled student he’s going to be troubled irrespective of Sally. No reason to hold Sally down because Johnny’s troubled.

3. About the only good point I’ve read here is the special needs child argument. And there’s such an easy answer. Let’s say special needs students make up 5% of school children and they require 15K a year to educate instead of 7k. Easy answer. Take the extra needed money out of the vouchers. So, instead of giving a family a voucher for 7k, let’s say the voucher is only for 6k so that 1k can stay in the public school system to pay for the special needs children. Problem solved.

Ronnie AND the Repugs war on intellectualism, started as Guv of Cali, has finally paid off. We don’t need no stinking money!

This seems like one of the lamest analyses I’ve read. Yes, they have not been given any money since the 1980’s. Or is it the school system is intellectual? Yes, there’s been no indoctrination, as evidenced by your nonsensical post.

You had one (out of three) good posts (about taking in special needs); but this and the overhead consideration are just not well thought out. Private schools have overhead – unless you’re talking home schooling, and even there exists overhead. As for the “Reagan did it” knee-jerk reaction, well, you’ll sing to the shrinking choir on that, I’m sure, but most people will just roll their eyes and move on.

clever statistical analysis reveals deviations rising rapidly after 1980, the year the nemesis was elected.

You are so funny, how do you find this stuff? Actually that link was pretty interesting but I can’t figure out how you think to find something like that. Were you just sitting there and then decided to Google which numbers were used in fraudulent cases the most?

Love your links, I think that come here to read your links as much as I come here to read the news and comments.

President Obama promised to give us the most transparent administration in history. He even issued an executive order restricting lobbyists from working in his administration.

It was exactly what Americans wanted–but he had no intention of following through. He needed to take care of his friends. He gave dozens of waivers to lobbyists of his friends–just like he gives thousands of waivers from Obamacare to his Union buddies.

One lobbyist he hired was Cecilia Munoz, the vice president of the National Council for La Raza. Obama put her in charge doling out public funds and made her his liaison to the Hispanic community. A recent study shows just how good Cecilia has been to her old boss. La Raza’s government funding under Obama has skyrocketed–from $4.1 million in 2008 to $11 million in 2010.

In addition, the La Raza affiliate Chicanos por la Causa got over $18 million from US coffers. Sixty percent of La Raza’s take came from the Department of Labor–run by another La Raza pal, pro-amnesty advocate, Hilda Solis. They lobbied hard for her and honored her with an award. She paid them back with millions of dollars of our money!

In the private sector this is called a “sweetheart deal” and gets the attention of prosecutors. But in the federal government it’s called business as usual and the American taxpayer pays.

Tom Tancredo, Bay Buchanan and Team America have been speaking out against La Raza for years—La Raza is a racist, anti-American organization that demands an unlimited flow of illegal immigrants into our country with social services for every one of them.

So, you might ask: What in the world is our government doing giving them 34 million of our dollars!! We’re $14 trillion in debt. And even in the best of times we shouldn’t be supporting an organization that encourages massive violation of our laws and an overthrow of our culture.

“Tom Tancredo, Bay Buchanan” Well that takes away a lot from your post, LOL of course they would be against anything that might help minorities or/and working people, they are part of the 1%ers, not the 99%ers. They don’t care about the little people. Yes, they are all for having a majority of stupid people as opposed to uneducated people, it’s much easier to blindly lead stupid people. Perhaps that’s why Reagan and the Repubs were/are all for dumbing down the population, that’s how they get votes.

Off topic? I mean, sure, it’s financial, and maybe if the point was FEDERAL funding of public schools hits an all-time low, your words would be more apropos, but as it stands, this is about California (state level) funding.

You are correct, well anyone who honestly looks at La Raza is correct when they say it is a racist, anti-United States organization. Their whole premise basically is: “We were here first” – as stupid as that is, many races and cultures “were here first” – all over the world, this can be said about any place.

Obama & his administration is more corrupt than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, even! However, a lifetime of indoctrination for some will prevent this from ever being clear to them. I thought Janet Reno was a bad AG, Eric “the red” Holder is simply criminal. We can go on and on, but it really is off-topic here, and we know how the 3 or 4 rabid libs will reply.

“Obama & his administration is more corrupt than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, even!”

LOL, that’s a joke right?

That’s how I think of them, yes!

Start requiring proof of U.S. citizenship when children are enrolled in public California is broke. Our tax dollars should be used to pay to educate U.S. citizens, not “anchor babies” or children who were brought here illegally.

*public schools*

I see Coast Unified tops our county list for $ spent per student … Is that because they are getting fed money for fudging the numbers on free meal programs? As far as taxpayers are concerned does the end justify the means? The $ almost always come out of one big pot right?

Cambria is one of the wealthiest districts in the area. They received $9.2 million from local revenues alone for their 763 students so they had everybody beat before they receive the additional grants and funding the State and Fed.

California has the largest population of “English-language learners”. There is your first clue about what our problem is. We are educating other countries children while supporting their parents.

They are our children, they live here, we have a moral obligation to educate all kids living in this country. Weren’t you the one that posted those figures regarding percentage of races in this state in another thread? Can you imagine all those kids not having an education. How will having half the population in our state without a good education help our state? If you guys have it your way, we will have the stupidest population in the country.

I would be right there with you, Typo, if we CLOSED THE SIEVE THAT IS OUR BORDER! Sure, there will always be some who sneak in, etc. But right now, it’s a joke. It is not up to us as a nation to feed, cloth, and educate the world. It is up to us as INDIVIDUALS to do that. This is where we part, Typo. They are NOT OUR children, they are the children of God, and it would not be Christian of me to deny that. That said, whatever I do to the least among us, I do to Him. To paraphrase Matthew 23:35:

I will feed them when they are hungry.

I will give them a drink when they are thirsty.

I will invite them in when they are strangers.

I will clothe them when they are naked.

I will visit them when they are sick.

I will come to them in their prisons…

Ok, enough preaching. Why more liberals are NOT Christian is beyond me, instead they often find it “hip” and street-cred-worthy to bash and tear down what is essentially the founding of their core beliefs.

I feel that its sad that you feel that people need to be taught morality from a book that’s full of immorality, your Bible is so hypocritical. Although morality could be considered subjective, I don’t’ need to be told whats moral and whats not, it’s just a mixture of what’s in me naturally and what my parents taught me as a child (and not through religion). I have taught my kids to be kind and loving kids and to do unto others etc. and I didn’t need a guide to teach them that. Why do people need a book to teach you to be moral? If you didn’t have the Bible to tell you how to act and how to feel would you not be able to have empathy or care about others? I don’t need ‘street-cred’, anyone that knows me would laugh at that. I’m just an old mom raising kids and helping run a business, I’m past needing ‘cred’. Although having a religious mother that I loved dearly, I have never believed in a God. At 7 or 8 I was kicked out the Sunday school that my parents forced me attend as a young child for questioning Biblical stories. It has never made sense to me. I was not a believer of religion when everyone else around me was, it wasn’t cool to be like me. Even the hippie libs that I hung out with were religious. I don’t care what the Bible says about taking care of others, I don’t need someone else to tell me how to feel. Only in the last few years have I been seeing people move away from the Bible and religion.

I sort of agree with the top part of your post. IMO we need to stop the people from coming over here illegally. People seem to get sidetracked, illegal entry is the only real problem. We can stop it and politicians on both sides have refused to take real steps to take on that issue. A stupid fence, that dumb Sheriff Arpaio (or how ever you spell his name), the laws etc. those things don’t work. It is truly dumb that we make the same mistakes over and over and don’t correct them. As I’ve said many times, move our over seas bases to our borders. This is where we need our soldiers, not in Europe and Iraq. Why are we guarding other people’s borders instead of our own? But that would be a bold move that no Dem or Repub has the b@lls to do. But we part ways as far as our beliefs that we should as a country take care of all the people that live here. We only hurt ourselves by not helping them.

Don’t they get a lot of money from PG&E? I believe that’s why they get more money.