This week we heard some grim news about California school finance.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that 12 districts in California are not able to pay their bills this school year or next, according to a report by the state Department of Education. And another 175 school districts might get to this place as well. This situation will affect 2.6 million children in our state.
This is a steep increase from the report that was issued just last February, when 7 were in the negative list and 120 in the 'qualified' list. These numbers could increase dramatically if initiatives to raise taxes for public schools fail to pass this November.
Californians are concerned about this problem. In a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) 78% of likely voters said they oppose the automatic budget cuts the Governor has said he'd have to make if his initiative is not approved. But only fifty four percent of likely voters said they would vote for his initiative. The support grows to 89% among Democrats when voters are asked to tax higher earners. And even though a large majority (81%) report that their child's public school has been affected a lot, the support for local taxes to support construction projects is only at 55% and at 51% to benefit local schools.
We are lucky in Culver City. Voters showed their interest in investing in our schools with the approval of Measure EE last year. But ours is still a small district and smaller and rural districts are the districts more likely to face financial difficulties.
The PPIC poll also showed most California voters (79%) understand that school districts in lower income areas have fewer resources than those in wealthier areas. Fifty four percent said more of new funding should go to those districts. When asked the same question, but asked to consider that other districts would get less, 53% of respondents support giving more of new funding to schools with more low income students.
I wanted to learn how we feel about this issue in Culver City, so I created a survey, mirroring the question in the PPIC poll, but asking if more of new funding should go to schools (not school districts) with more low income students.
I'd love to get your thoughts on the subject -- here is the link to the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FYN2C35
I will close the poll on June 8th and report results on this site. Please feel free to share this blog with others. You will not be asked for an email address, so you can feel confident that your responses will be kept confidentially and you will not receive additional emails.