California schools are underfunded compared to U.S.

At its Jan.17 meeting, the Santa Clara County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution for full and fair funding for California Public Schools by state lawmakers.

The resolution highlights California’s poor national standing in funding for public schools. California ranks 45th nationally in the percentage of taxable income spent on education, 41st in per-pupil funding, 45th in pupil–teacher ratios and 48th in pupil–staff ratios. California funds schools at roughly $1,961 per student, less than the national average, which translates to approximately $3,462 per student when adjusted for California being a high-cost state. In addition, California trails the average of the top 10 states by almost $7,000 in per-pupil funding.

While Governor Brown’s recent budget proposal continues his commitment to the Local Control Funding Formula and provides an increase in education funding, it does not address the significant underfunding of public schools in the state. In 2016, a California School Boards Association (CSBA) report, California’s Challenge: Adequately Funding Education in the 21st Century, estimated an additional $22 billion to $40 billion annually would be required to provide all public school students with access to a high-quality education.

“As the leader of an organization that values diversity and equity and is committed to high-quality educational opportunities for all youth, I am heartened that the governor’s proposal begins to address the varied needs of our students in Santa Clara County,” said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Interim Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. “More work is needed to ensure equitable funding for districts identified for improvement under the accountability plan, marginalized students, and special education programs. I look forward to working with our legislative representatives to develop a budget that fully meets the needs of California students.”

The Santa Clara County Office of Education provides direct services to 1,528 students with disabilities from birth to age 22. The office also acts as Local Education Agency for 28,691 students and provides early learning services to 2,381 students. However, its primary role is to support students, teachers, and school districts in Santa Clara County.

“We know that many of our school districts are struggling with the lack of appropriate funding to meet the diverse needs of students, recruit and retain high-quality staff, and provide a world-class education to Santa Clara County students,” commented Rosemary Kamei, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Education. “We must not let our students and schools fall further behind national counterparts when it comes to funding our public schools.”

Budget negotiations will be ongoing in the Legislature throughout the spring, leading up to the May budget revision, which will be released on or before May 15. The Legislature will then have until June 15 to send the final agreed upon budget to Governor Brown, who will have until July 1 to sign it.

Santa Clara County Board of Education

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