L.A. Board Demands Full Funding for Public Education

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 14, 2017) - With California lagging near the bottom nationally in public school funding, the Board of Education called on lawmakers Tuesday to more than double per-pupil funding over the next three years to support the state’s education system.

The board’s action came with its unanimous approval of a resolution, “Urging the State of California to Reclaim Its Leadership in Education by Increasing Investment in Our Schools.” The resolution details a coordinated advocacy effort to boost per-pupil funding to $20,000 by 2020.

L.A. Unified and other California districts currently receive approximately $10,000 to educate each student, with additional funding for low-income students, English-learners and foster youth. However, the state woefully underfunds the education of special-education students, whose mandated programs are among the costliest to provide.

“We have moved to 80 percent graduation with very few funds, but we will no longer simply accept what is given to us,” said Acting Superintendent Vivian Ekchian. “In order to reach our goal of 100 percent graduation, we will be asking our lawmakers for what our students deserve.”

California ranks 46th in the nation in per-pupil funding. With additional revenue, the District could invest in additional classroom resources and supports for high-needs students.

"The California I know leads by example, and increasing funding for our students, teachers and schools is a win-win situation that is urgently needed," said Board President Mónica García. "A top-tier global economy like California requires a top-tier funded PK-12 education system. This crisis needs to be addressed immediately."

“The state of California funds public education at a rate of half of New York and that needs to change," said Board Vice President Nick Melvoin, who co-sponsored the resolution. "California is the sixth-largest economy in the world, and our kids deserve at least double the current per-pupil funding from a state that leads the country in so many other ways."

“California is a national standard bearer in many ways, and we should strive to identify possible avenues to regain our place as a leader in per-pupil spending,“ said Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III, another co-sponsor.

“The future of our state depends on educating our students and preparing them to be leaders of tomorrow,” said Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson. “If our children are going to be competitive, we must provide the resources to ensure their success.”

“I support L.A. Unified’s efforts to encourage the state of California to dramatically increase per-pupil funding by 2020,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez. “Our schools deserve the resources necessary to boost academic progress and prepare students for college and the workforce. We need a coalition across this amazing region and state to demand more for our students.”

“You can see the effects of the low level of funding from Sacramento across our schools,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez, the lead sponsor of the resolution. “Our students deserve so much more. It’s past time for our state legislators to substantially raise California’s per-pupil funding. We plan to work with the education community across the state to demand change that restores California’s leadership in public education.”

“California has made some progress since the nadir of 2008-2011, and the passage and renewal of Prop 30 has allowed us to make serious investments in education,” said Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic. “However, California still ranks behind the national average in per-pupil spending, which is simply unacceptable given that we have one of the largest student populations in the country and one of the largest high-needs student populations. We need to make sure that education spending, and timely reimbursement from the state and federal governments for their mandates, are priority-one moving forward."

Local advocacy groups also voiced their support for increasing resources and re-establishing California as the nation’s leader in education investment. Speakers at the board meeting included those representing the Alliance for a Better Community, Educators for Excellence, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

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Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766

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