Failure to Fund CA Education

Truthout published an article yesterday that does a solid job of describing California's failure to adequately fund the public education system. It's no secret that our state's educational system has been in a downward spiral for the past few decades, and the argument that Prop 13 is responsible for this is no secret either. But in reading Rose Aguilar's piece, she makes a strong linkage between the problem and the cause and it makes a fine point why efforts at reform need to be considered.

Aguilar covers the fact that a majority of schools are increasing class sizes while the actual school year is being shortened.  And she finds the root cause of our educational funding problems here: "Before Proposition 13 passed, more than half of school budgets came from local property taxes. Today, only 20 percent of funding comes from local property taxes. The majority comes from state income, sales and corporate taxes."

We could use some discussion here about parcel taxes. Sure, they can fill the gap here and there and they have certainly saved a good number of teachers from getting pink slips, but aren't they just band-aides for this bigger problem?

On top of the educational impact, Aguilar covers some of the other inequities Prop 13 has left us with, including the following:

"Since the passage of Proposition 13, in virtually every county in the state, the share of the property tax borne by residential property has increased, while the share of the property tax borne by nonresidential property has decreased, according to the report. In Contra Costa County, for example, the residential share of the property tax went from 48 percent to 73 percent. In Santa Clara, the residential share went from 50 percent to 64 percent, despite massive industrial and commercial growth. In Los Angeles, it went from 53 percent to 69 percent."

How can we not pursue reform?

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137