10/14/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/14/2019 20:32
SACRAMENTO, Calif., (October 14, 2019) - To ensure that every California student receives a high-quality education, a statewide coalition led by the California School Boards Association and the Association of California School Administrators will place a transformative school funding measure on the November 2020 ballot. The measure will generate $15 billion annually to support learning in the state's K-12 public schools and community colleges and raise California from 38th nationally in school funding to the national average.
'Today, CSBA, ACSA and its partners introduced an initiative that will establish California as a leader in education by investing in our K-12 schools and community colleges in an unprecedented manner. This education-only funding initiative will reverse the disinvestment from public education we've seen since the 1970s. Whether you're a veteran like me, who benefited from a quality community college education, or an English Language Learner who wants to master computer science, we are saying 'yes you can' in California,' explained CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. 'Education is the heart of our democracy and when we underfund schools, we shortchange our students and our society. Full and Fair FundingSM is the means to a critically important end - preparing the next generation for success in college, career, and civic life.
The coalition, led by CSBA and ACSA, also includes the Community College League of California. The group has retained San Francisco-based campaign firm TBWB Strategies to advise the Full and Fair Funding campaign as well as two longtime stalwarts of California politics, former California Teachers Association Executive Director Joe Nunez and former CTA Associate Executive Director Scott Day. On Monday, the group submitted language to the Attorney General's Office for the Full and Fair Funding: Public School Progress, Prosperity, and Accountability Act of 2020.
Full and Fair FundingSM will begin to reverse four decades of underinvestment in California schools by:
The revenue to fund the measure will be generated by:
'California should be using its resources to lead the nation in innovative, effective learning strategies and to recruit, retain, and support highly skilled professionals who improve outcomes for all students,' said Executive Director of the Association of California School Administrators Dr. Wesley Smith. 'Full and Fair FundingSM will increase our ability to provide the kind of conditions, programs, staffing, and training that help ensure student success and close opportunity and achievement gaps. It's time to fight for the future California students deserve.'
Full and Fair FundingSM will provide more resources that schools can use to meet local community interest in stronger STEM programs; robust career and technical education and job training; expanded arts and extracurriculars; class size reduction; increased support for English learners; additional counselors, aides, and instructional support staff; health and wellness programs, and improved interventions for struggling students.
Given its wealth and the high needs of its student population, California's investment in schools should be among the nation's highest. Instead, the top 10 states spend $7,000 more per student than California does. Even the average state invests almost $5,000 more per student than California. If California supported schools at simply the national average, funding would increase by nearly $2,500 per average daily attendance, adjusted for cost-of-living - that's an additional $62,000 for a classroom of 25 students and more than $1.2 million for a school with 500 students.
'California's community colleges are the bridge to opportunity, especially for low- and middle-income Californians struggling with the rising cost of higher education,' said Community College League of California President and CEO Larry Galizio. 'Veterans, students experiencing housing insecurity and even homelessness, adults changing careers and acquiring new skills and abilities, and many who are the first in their families to attend college will benefit from this initiative and critical investment in California's future.'
In the 1970s, California schools were among the best funded in the nation - and among the best performing. Since then, the state has fallen toward the bottom of the national rankings and students have suffered as a result. Today, despite boasting the world's fifth-largest economy and the highest GDP of any state in the nation, California ranks toward the bottom nationally in per-student funding and last or nearly last in almost every measure of school staffing.
The state is 41st in the number of classroom aides per student, 45th in student-teacher ratio, 46th in student-principal ratio, 48th in student-counselor ratio, 48th in overall student-staff ratio, and 50th in student-librarian ratio. At the same time, California schools educate the nation's highest percentage of students living in poverty and the greatest number of English learners.
California's schools suffered deep cuts during the Great Recession and under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), revenue for K-12 schools only recently returned to 2007 levels. As a result, funding has not substantially increased, on an inflation-adjusted basis, for more than a decade, while the cost of educating students has risen substantially during that time.
In order to restore California's legacy as the home of innovation and opportunity, the state must reprioritize education, end four decades of underinvestment in public education, and provide Full and Fair FundingSM for California students.