L.A. City, School Officials Seek More Public Education Funding
A month after it ended, the fallout from a historic six-day teacher strike in Los Angeles continues.
Last week, both the Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles Unified School Board took steps to rally for more school funding in the hopes of preventing similar skirmishes in the future.
L.A. City Council Calls On State to Step Up Its Game
The City Council passed a 12-0 resolution Tuesday, Feb. 26. It calls on the state to boost funding for California public schools to national average levels or higher by 2020. By 2025, the resolution calls for state spending equivalent to or higher than the average of the top 10 states nationwide.
According to the resolution, 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.
California funds schools at roughly $1,961 per student less than the national average, which translates to $3,462 per student when adjusted for California being a high-cost state, and California trails the average of the top 10 states by almost $7,000 in per-pupil funding, the resolution says.
LAUSD Will Pursue New Parcel Tax
LAUSD Board leaders then voted unanimously Thursday to bring a new parcel tax before L.A. County voters in June — or November at the latest. The proposal would charge homeowners and businesses 16 cents per square foot of property to raise up to $500 million per year for the district.
“It is time for Los Angeles Unified to pursue a local measure to increase funding for schools,” said LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner. “A revenue measure, if approved by voters in June could provide additional funding for schools during the upcoming school year. This will allow for the accelerated improvement in student learning, further reduction in class size and providing more support to students and educators in schools. It is time to build on the commitment the community has expressed and move forward together.”
While school and union officials were able to break the impasse and end the strike, LAUSD’s fiscal woes continue. Barring new sources of school funding, a recent report from the Los Angeles County Office of Education warns that the agreement between the district and its teachers is unsustainable.