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 San Diego County Board of Education Calls for Full and Fair Funding of Schools

​The San Diego County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution at its February 2018 meeting calling for the full and fair funding of California's public schools. The resolution reads:

WHEREAS, California has the sixth largest economy in the world, and the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any state in the nation; and

WHEREAS, despite California’s leadership in the global economy, the state falls in the nation’s bottom quintile on nearly every measure of public K-12 school funding and school staffing; and

WHEREAS, 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; and

WHEREAS, K-12 school funding has not substantially increased, on an inflation-adjusted basis, for more than a decade; and

WHEREAS, under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), state funding for K-12 schools has only this year recently returned to levels predating the Great Recession of 2007; and

WHEREAS, the modest revenue increases since the implementation of LCFF have been eroded by rapidly increasing costs for health care, pensions, transportation and utilities; and

WHEREAS, 58 percent of California’s public school students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch — 13 percent above the national average — and 23 percent of California students are English learners, more than twice the national average; and

WHEREAS, California’s investment in public schools is out of alignment with its wealth, its ambitions, its demographics and the demands of a 21st-century education; and

WHEREAS, in 2007, a bipartisan group of California leaders commissioned a report titled Getting Down to Facts, which stated it would take an additional $17 billion annually to meet the State Board of Education achievement targets for K-12 schools; and

WHEREAS, in 2016, a California School Boards Association (CSBA) report, California’s Challenge: Adequately Funding Education in the 21st Century, updated the Getting Down to Facts data and determined that, adjusting for inflation, an additional $22 billion to $40 billion annually would be required to provide all public school students with access to a high-quality education; and

WHEREAS, 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; and

WHEREAS, California trails the average of the top 10 states by almost $7,000 in per-pupil funding; and

WHEREAS, in Robles-Wong v. State of California, a group of plaintiffs led by CSBA argued that California’s school funding system violated Article IX of the State Constitution by denying all students access to an education that prepares them for economic security and full participation in our democratic institutions; and

WHEREAS, the California Supreme Court declined to hear the case by a 4-3 margin, prompting Justice Goodwin H. Liu to write: “It is regrettable that this court, having recognized education as a fundamental right in a landmark decision 45 years ago [Serrano v. Priest (1971) 5 Cal.3d 584], should now decline to address the substantive meaning of that right.”; and

WHEREAS, in order to prepare our students for participation in a democratic society and an increasingly competitive, technology-driven global economy, California must fund schools at a level sufficient to support student success; and

WHEREAS, despite its vast wealth, California has consistently underfunded public education while widening its scope, adding new requirements and raising standards without providing appropriate resources to prepare all students for college, career and civic life; and

WHEREAS, if California is to close opportunity and achievement gaps and create a public school system that offers consistently high levels of education, the State must provide schools with the resources to meet the needs of their specific populations;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the San Diego County Board of Education urges the State Legislature to fund California public schools at the national average or higher by the year 2020, and at a level that is equal to or above the average of the top 10 states nationally by 2025 and to maintain, at a minimum, this level of funding until otherwise decreed.

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 14th day of February 2018 at the regular meeting of the San Diego County Board of Education.