CA School Finance 101 Wrap-Up

Ask any parent casting an uneasy eye on state budget cuts and ballooning class sizes, or shrinking programs and dwindling resources devoted to her child at the local neighborhood school, and you’re likely to find a high-quality curriculum and school funding worries at the top of her list of concerns.

Note: I said “a high quality curriculum and school funding worries,” not “pensions,” “tenure,” or any number of things well-funded “ed reformers” say are top priorities.

With anxieties about school funding in mind, K12NN, along with Parents for Great Education and the California Budget Project, together launched an event that helped inform about 75 parent leaders, school administrators, school board members (plus candidates for school board), and candidates for upcoming California State Assembly and Senate races. We provided simultaneous Spanish-English translation and about 25% of those participating used the service.

Participants asked questions ranging from “What happens to school funding formulas under AB18 if it passes?” to “How do Basic Aid districts work?” and “Why is California consistently at the bottom of per-pupil funding lists when other states that have suffered the same recession have held steady or even increased slightly their per-pupil funding totals?” (See page 4, slides 14 & 15 for comparisons of California peer states Massachusetts and New York.) All excellent, probing questions that in the end require answers from the voting public.

Here’s a pdf of the powerpoint presentation for Session I, as compiled by California Budget Project’s Senior Policy Analyst, Jonathan Kaplan. It’s reposted with California Budget Project/Jonathan Kaplan’s explicit permission.

[scribd id=77243268 key=key-dxl826o5y132cq4ol50 mode=slideshow]

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