What are our schools doing with our money?

TheRealGCS's picture

It's easy to say we need more education, but I'm wary of giving schools more money. It's a chicken and egg problem about quality of schools and funding, but I'd like to know my tax dollars are going to a program which will use them well (be that a school or something else). With our schools failing, I'm not sure whether we're failing our schools or if our schools are failing us.

NKlein82's picture

What money?

California does spend a lot on education.  Ever since Proposition 98, we have spent at least 40% of our $80 billion state budget on K-12 education.  Yet despite spending tens of billions of dollars on education, we have not spent enough.  According to EdSource, a non-partisan, educational non-profit, California has been consistently below the national average for per-pupil spending.    EdSource also says that California is not spending more money on school administration.  California needs to increase education spending and ensure that the money is not being wasted.

edwardyoung720's picture

City College of San Francisco

Although K-12 is getting a lot of funding, i agree that there still needs to more and better spending. Putting that aside, i personally feel that some of that attention and funding should go towards community colleges as well. With huge budget cuts in the school system, we are paying more and getting less. Several classes have been cut and this forces students to fight for the limited class space. Students who suffer setbacks on their academic plans because they can't get the classes they need will seek out ways to catch up like taking summer session, yet unfortunately, those have been cut as well. Money needs to be better allocated amongst our school systems!

bew003's picture


Hi gcs, I can understand your wariness of giving schools more money, but a good education is in my opinion, one of the most important things to be focusing on in things the city should be reforming.  I don't believe we are spending too much money on education--in fact, I think we should be giving our schools more money.  But I agree that we should be holding schools more accountable to make sure that our tax dollars are being put to good use.  More transparency in the use of the money, and more public awareness and input in how we should be using at least a part of the money would be nice.

rg36's picture

Merit-Based Pay for Teachers

There are a lot of things wrong with our schools today. Our per-pupil funding is only $9,000, unlike other states, who spend more than 10 grand per pupil.

Our dropout rate is one of the highest in the nation at 20.1%.  And the place where we fund the most, regarding our schools, is teachers. The salaries of teachers in California are among the most highest paid throughout the nation. It doesn't even matter how well the teacher teaches because if they've been at the district for a long time, they get tenure or seniority. Now that we're in a recession, and we're cutting funding for education, the districts are laying off all the new teachers, but they don't know that the teachers who are new, are actually the ones who perform the best.

Our teachers should be paid based on the performance of their teaching. The administration of each school should properly determine if the teacher is giving her students an adequate learning environment, and base the pay from there.

Our education system has too many flaws for us just to throw money at it. We need a total reform of our education system. We need to ensure that all students have the adequate resources and opportunities to succeed in the future.

buchsons's picture

Merit-Based Pay for Teachers

I agree.  There needs to be a method of rating teachers so that they are in part paid on merit.  One possibility is to track students to see which teachers have the lowest dropout rate over time.  You could start tracking from Kindergarten.  Teachers that fall into the lowest quartile would lose tenure and receive pay cuts while teachers in the highest quartile would be rewarded. 

Teachers at all levels could be tracked this way.  E.g., if a kid drops out in 10th grade, it counts against all teachers the kid had.  It would be interesting to see if there are kindergarten teachers that have a higher dropout rate over time than others.

Unfortunately, teachers' unions are unlikely to agree with any type of merit based pay system. 

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