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ABC SCHOOL BOARD ADOPTS RESOLUTION TO RAISE PER STUDENT FUNDING IN CALIFORNIA

 

By Tammye McDuff

The ABC School Board unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the State of California implement full and fair funding.  ABCUSD Trustee Chris Apodaca recently spoke to the Hawaiian Gardens City Council about the issue,  “What this basically means  is that we want to change some of the statistics in California education.”

“For instance, the State ranks 41st out of 50 states in ‘per student’ funding. “California prides itself for being on the leading edge of technology, yet fails in student funding,” said Apodaca.

“The state ranks even lower, 45th for student to teacher ratio, and ranks 48th in student to staff ratio,” he said.

“This impacts counselors, support staff, instructional aides, just about everyone associated with a school,” stated Apodaca. “The State is, however the sixth largest economy in the world, yet we rank in the bottom ten in education. “This begs the question,” said Apodaca, “what are our priorities in this state?”

Apodaca, with Vice President of the Board Leticia Mendoza, and in collaboration with the California School Boards Association, drafted the resolution to increase the funding of California schools to the national average, it is part of a statewide initiative asking the state to increase funding to the national average by 2020.

Just that increase in funding will raise the per student payout by $1,961 or $49,000 per classroom

Apodaca will be meeting with legislators in Sacramento next month to discuss the next steps of making this a reality.

The resolution also requests that California strive to be in the top ten in funding by the year 2025. Many people are opposed to this resolution, stating that it will increase taxes. Apodaca says he is not asking for a new tax or increased taxes but rather a re-allocation of funding. “It’s simply a matter of where we prioritize our schools in the state budget.” said Apodaca.

 

Click on image to view ABC Board Member Chris Apodaca speak at Hawaiian Gardens City Council meeting about California school funding.

 

A recent study session held by the Board looked at the aging district facilities. The Facilities Master Plan was created by 20 community members over a period of 18 months. This committee visited every school, every facility and every district office, roughly 2.4 million square feet of instructional space that makes up the ABC Unified School District. The committee constructed an itemized list of all areas that needed to be fixed immediately and what could wait.

The total cost came to an overwhelming $250 million dollars.

“Our facilities are safe,” notes Apodaca, ”but the funding has not been adjusted.”

Apodaca pointed to teacher salaries in the District.

“We cannot give our teachers a full cost of living increase. They are still making what they did coming out of the recession. We are losing teachers to higher paying districts. We lost five speech language pathologists last year alone.”

More information on the full and fair funding initiative can be found at the California School Boards Association website: www.csba.org/fff

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