As voters face how to vote on the one substantive new tax issue (Prop 13, not Measure I which is not that substantive in my humble opinion), I decided to do some investigative work on why our CA schools need an infusion of $15 billion. I have seen and heard a lot of confusion about this 2020 version of Prop 13. The most clear and concise explanation I can find, is included here for your information.
My question is why do we need $15 billion for brick and mortar assistance when we passed the Lottery in 1984? I thought the Lottery was supposed to supplement our spending needs???
When the California Lottery was passed in 1984, I thought additional school funding needs were a thing of the past. Here is what the Lottery is obligated to do for splitting up the Lottery funds from us “SUCKERS”:
The breakdown has remained more or less the same since the voter-approved 1984 Lottery Act was passed, since it mandated a specific formula: 50 percent for prizes, 34 percent to schools and 16 percent for administrative and marketing costs.
Rough numbers since the Lottery started in 1985 through fiscal year 2017/2018?
Over $34.2 Billion has been given to schools. link
Are you as surprised as I am by that number?
In 2015/2015, Ca spent $76 Billion on public schools. Here is where that money came from:
Sources and Funding for K–12 Education in 2014–15 (in millions) link
So how much is that per student?
Proposition 98 Per-Pupil Funding, 2009–10 through 2014–15 (in thousands) link
Ok. So how does that spending rate compare with other states? Although methodology counts, California ranks 46th out of 50 states in spending per student. link
Anybody else amazed at that figure?
Did you know that school districts pay around 85% of their annual budget on labor compensation? Teachers and counselors, janitors and administration folks. That is a lot of billions of dollars!
So do we need more spending? If we are to compare our spending to other States-the answer is YES. 46th out of 50 is not spending too much in my opinion.
The trade-off is that this year’s Prop 13 also includes a requirement that all the workers on the $15 billion worth of funded projects, must be union members. That kind of kills it for me. I am certainly not opposed to unions, as most of you know, but I am personally opposed to qualified non union folks paying their taxes and not being allowed to enjoy working on the projects those taxes fund. Seems kind of unfair to me.
So in answer to the question of “how much should we give to our public schools?”. I say we should give an amount that results in fair opportunity for the students as well as fair opportunity for the contractors bidding the work that those tax dollars fund. I do not know the right dollar amount, but I do know the right moral amount-zero dollars if we limit who can attend the public school. Zero if we limit who can work on the school projects.
There you have it-John’s politically incorrect opinion!
That’s All Folks