The State of California Public Schools
Are California’s 9,903 schools better off financially now than they were five years ago?
As the largest recipient of cuts — something on the order of $14 billion — in the efforts to close the state’s annual mutli-billion dollar budget shortfalls it seems likely the Golden State’s 1,042 school districts would be a lot less golden now than in 2007.
But how much less golden?
The Legislative Analyst’s Office offers some answers in a report released February 6 titled The 2012–13 Budget: Proposition 98 Education Analysis.
Among their findings:
Per–pupil funding is lower than five years ago. Per–pupil funding in the current budget year is $7,583. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008, it was $8,235. Under Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, per–pupil funding would drop further, the analyst says. Between a 1.1 percent and 6 percent drop depending on whether voters approve a ballot measure in November backed by the Democratic governor to temporarily increase the sales tax by .5 percent and up the income tax rates for the state’s wealthiest earners. A 6 percent drop would mean per–pupil funding would be more than $1,100 lower than five years ago.
There are 34,000 less teachers now than five years ago. Fulltime teachers have fallen from 306,000 to 272,000, an 11 percent reduction. As a result:
The student/teacher ratio has climbed from 19.4 to 21.9.
There are less instructional days. Five years ago, nearly all districts provided 180 instructional days. Now, nearly 350 districts — one–third — offer less than 180.
“In addition, many school districts have redirected funds away from specialized programs and support services to general operations,” the analyst says. “Many school districts report shifting funds away from “flexed” categorical programs including professional development, summer school, adult education, art and music programs, facility maintenance, school libraries and high school class size reduction.”
For the teachers who remain, however, the analyst says the average salary has increased over five years from $65,800 to $67,900.
Filed under: Budget and Economy
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