CAPTA Goal: Increase per-pupil funding by $3,000…

In light of the new series NPR has started on school funding, Why America’s Schools Have A Money Problem, some more attention should be brought to our CA PTA’s Advocacy Goal to Increase per-pupil funding by $3,000 to move California toward the national average of $11,841 per student. The CAPTA has made increasing the per-pupil funding in the state of California a priority by being a strong advocate in Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016 – 2017 budget proposal, released Jan. 7, 2016. In this proposal, there was an increase of funding by $368 per student and measures to meet 95 percent of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) requirements. The budget proposal had these increases, in part, due to Proposition 30 revenues and a recovering economy. Governor Brown is expected to deliver an updated one in May and our elected state representatives will have until June 15th to provide a final spending bill addressing this proposed increase.

 

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it does not bridge the gap between our average state funding and other states across the US. For example, in that radio piece described above, they highlighted a Chicago Ridge School District in Illinois. That school district receives $9,794 per student, an easy $1,000 more than PUSD, and they are highlighted as an extremely underfunded district (The CA average is $8,339/student).

 

So what can we do? There is time to write to your elected representatives and stress the importance of increasing education spending in CA. Proposition 30 will sunset at the end of 2018 and the funding increases for restoring art, music and PE programs, reducing class sizes, hiring more counselors and nurses and prioritize student learning are all at risk unless we get it in our state budget. Write today – don’t delay; send a message to Senator Marty Block and Assemblyman Brian Maienschein.

PTA tackles CA Teacher Shortage

In the most recent Sacramento Update from the CAPTA, we learned that our state is facing a critical teacher shortage. Some of the supporting details described in the article include:SDCounty-teacher

  • enrollment in teacher-credentialing programs has declined more than 75 percent in the past 15 years
  • between 40 and 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession for their own reasons in the first five years
  • salaries of a teacher is relatively low compared to the average salary in other professions that require comparable qualifications (…and remember, PUSD’s teacher salaries are ~80% of similar districts in CA)
  • the shortage is particularly worrisome in the areas of math, science and special education, areas with disproportionate English language learners

The Learning Policy Institute did a thorough analysis of the shortage and has provided a detailed report with policy recommendations addressing areas of recruitment, training, and improving teaching conditions. Looking at San Diego County specifically, we are in a better position than many other counties throughout the state.

 

Our CA Legislature is also putting forth nine distinct bills to address the teacher shortage, many of them focusing on recruitment, training, and credentialing. (see the Sacramento Update cited above) Sadly, none of them seem to address salary directly, an obvious, realistic incentive to choose teaching as a career path.

 

Take this in addition to the recent report from Achieve, a national education advocacy nonprofit, examining our states’ progress in achieving college and career readiness for all students, and we see a credible and urgent need to prioritize education for our current and future generations.