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Posted on September 9 at 4:06 p.m.
Ed, we agree on many things, but we obviously disagree on the necessity on Measures A&B and Prop 30.
"today's reality should not be held "hostage" to demands for long term change."
Ed, I would disagree as to who is holding who hostage. I think it is far more accurate to say that Gov Brown is holding taxpayers and the educational establishment hostage to the passage of Prop 30.
As for relying upon advisors, in my long business career, I have always found it useful to independently fact-check any advise I received from well-intentioned advisors. In the ballot arguments for Measures A&B, it was asserted that without these funds, English, math and foreign language courses would have to be eliminated (not true). I also found it amusing to read that the funds would be subject to independent review subject to independent audit. However, the overseers are appointed by the Board (hardly independent), and I have, as of yet, not been able to identify any reputable outside independent certified accounting firm conducting any such audit of these funds.
As you know, my number one reason for opposing these Measures is that it has never been proven to me that more money without major reforms will improve student outcomes. Every study I have looked at suggests there is no correlation. Everyone connected to the educational monolith is always asking for more money, as if that would solve all the problems with education today.
Instead, we need a comprehensive teacher/administrator evaluation system and an effective and integrated system for hiring, training, evaluating and retaining the very best teachers. As you know, until very recently, the evaluation system we had was a joke. We also need to comprehensively review curriculum, particularly at the elementary schools to ensure our kids are learning the fundamentals of English and math. The bottom line is that we need to change the culture of the schools from always looking for scapegoats (lack of money) to justify the poor results.
Dr. Cash is certainly doing some good things, but the reality is that he will have to deal with the archaic tenure and seniority rules. The real tragedy is that until this past year, our schools had no real evaluation system, and no one including the principals or the superintendent were held accountable. This is not a record to be proud of.
On Reform Candidate Joins School Board Race
Posted on September 9 at 11:13 a.m.
Binky, the so-called minimum guarantee you refer to is actually the minimum guarantee under Prop 98, which effectively allocates no less than 40% of the general fund to public education.
Chester, I am an admirer of Bob Noel, who had raised the funds for a vocational charter high school which would have primarily served socially and economically disadvantaged students. BTW, he is a registered Democrat.
Posted on September 9 at 12:26 a.m.
Here is the remainder of the text regarding the uncertainty of additional revenues:
Most income reported by upper-income taxpayers is related in some way to their investments and businesses, rather than wages and salaries. While wages and salaries for upper- income taxpayers fluctuate to some extent, their investment income may change significantly from one year to the next depending upon the performance of the stock market, housing prices, and the economy. For example, the current mental health tax on income over $1 million generated about $730 million in 2009–10 but raised more than twice that amount in previous years. Due to these swings in the income of these taxpayers and the uncertainty of their responses to the rate increases, the revenues raised by this measure are difficult to estimate.
Posted on September 9 at 12:05 a.m.
Binky, I am correct. Here is the language from the legislative analysis:
New Tax Revenues Available to Fund Schools and Help Balance the Budget. The revenue generated by the measure’s temporary tax increases would be included in the calculations of the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee— raising the guarantee by billions of dollars each year. A portion of the new revenues therefore would be used to support higher school funding, with the remainder helping to balance the state budget. From an accounting perspective, the new revenues would be deposited into a newly created state account called the Education Protection Account (EPA). Of the funds in the account, 89 percent would be provided to schools and 11 percent to community colleges.
To buttress my other point, this was also included in the legislative analysis:
The revenues raised by this measure could be subject to multibillion-dollar swings—either above or below the revenues projected above. This is because the vast majority of the additional revenue from this measure would come from the PIT rate increases on upper-income taxpayers.
Posted on September 8 at 7:54 p.m.
Dr. Dan made reference to Prop 30, as if that will somehow prove to be a magic elixir for our public schools. Let's review a couple of facts that some people might not be aware of. Prop 30 does not ensure there will be additional revenues for education. All revenues go into the general fund, where approximately 40% of the money will be used for education. As Botany alluded to, with the passage of Prop 30, Ca will have the highest income and sales taxes for the entire nation. There are many economists who think the revenue projections under Prop 30 are wildly exaggerated. Since the state has missed their revenue projections by a wide margin for the last five years, I would not necessarily assume it won't happen again.
Also, the Calstrs pension fund has a $65 billion unfunded liability. They have already requested the state and the school districts to increase their pension contributions by $3.5 billion for next year. Interestingly, the projected revenue increase from Prop 30 (assuming the revenue projection is accurate) is equal to the additional contributions that must be paid next year.
BTW, in a previous comment I said, "If you go back another few years, the District had over 1000 fewer students". I meant to say, "1000 more students".
Posted on September 7 at 7:47 p.m.
In a previous comment, I meant to say, "a couple hundred more employees".
Posted on September 7 at 7:41 p.m.
There have been numerous studies showing that increased spending without reforms has not gotten us all that much. Education spending in Ca. since 1980 has increased by 450%, exceeding the cost of living. However, during that period, student test scores and other academic data indicate that student academic achievement has declined in all the core subjects.
Posted on September 7 at 7:25 p.m.
EastBeach, let's look at the numbers to decipher the school budget. In 2011-12, the overall revenues for the SB Unified Schools were $117 million. Enrollment for the year was 13,245 students. In 2008-9, revenue was also $117 million, however, enrollment was 13,835, approximately 600 students more than 2011-12. So the per pupil spending actually increased by $377 per student in 2011-12. If you go back another few years, the District had over 1000 fewer students, and the per pupil spending was even less.
Let's look at it another way. The overall educational budget in Ca., including all sources of money, is around $60 billion. There are approximately 6 million students in Ca. Almost $1,300 per student stays in Sacramento and never finds it way to the District.
Have you ever looked at the employee directory of the County Education Office? The County Superintendent has no line authority for any school in the county, and yet this office has over 100 administrators and a couple more hundred employees. Seem a little top heavy?
School financing is very complicated and convoluted, but I can assure you there is more money wasted on bureaucracy, unnecessary programs and ludicrous federal and state mandates.
Posted on September 7 at 2:12 p.m.
"but your kids may have jobs"
Shira, I don't mean to dismiss your concerns, but my focus is to ensure that all kids that attend our public schools have the requisite skills to get good jobs and become productive members of our society.
Posted on September 7 at 3:18 a.m.
Oh Oh, I forgot to include a question mark in my previous comment.