Additional revenue is needed to address under-investment in Los Angeles schools.
Often advocates talk in terms of what we can get versus what we need. More than ever we understand that our focus must remain intently on the needs of our kids.
Getting Down to Facts II is a report that asks us to focus on adequacy. This critical report helps us understand the funding levels we need–at a minimum–to support the growth of all our kids, which for the state of California, is estimated around $26 Billion. This is a key insight.
If we look at jurisdictions that do a better job of investing in K-12 education, such as New York State, we see that Los Angeles is comparable in terms of wages–but Los Angeles’ per-pupil investment is much lower, spotlighting the ongoing divestment in our high-and-highest-needs schools. To match New York’s spending levels, LAUSD needs $2.5 billion more per year.
We intend to meet the challenge of educating all our kids.
But a single funding stream is not going to get us there. Therefore, we support the LAUSD School Board’s push for a parcel tax ballot measure in June, as well as focusing on passage of the Schools and Communities First ballot measure in 2020.
By closing commercial property tax loopholes, Schools and Communities First will bring in an additional $3.6 billion for cities, counties, and schools in Los Angeles County. $1.4 billion of that is for K-12 schools, with by far the largest portion destined for LAUSD. When we add the $500 million expected for the parcel tax, we get closer to what we need and become comparable to New York State. This is the funding required to put us back on the path of leading the country in regards to student outcomes.
So, we recognize the real progress towards what we need versus what we can get.
Parcel taxes often risk being regressive, but this concern is lessened by the approach the Board has taken of levying the tax on a per-square-foot basis. The inclusion of the 12-year sunset will ensure that the District receives much-need funds immediately while creating an opportunity to reassess the need for the tax, and how it is assessed and spent, after the 2020 decision on Schools and Communities First.
Today we appreciate the leaders making a bold decision to fund better outcomes for all our kids. And we give thanks to the teachers fighting on the front lines for this funding, our children’s futures, and more.
We are pleased about the community oversight on the distribution of funds. In those spaces, and together, we can make sure dollars are distributed based on equity, and invest in evidence-based programs such as: early care and education, career and college readiness, social-emotional supports, school climate initiatives and parent and community engagement for all high- and highest-need students.
And the bigger picture is clearer today and more each day.
This parcel tax is a bridge to a more progressive solution. Californians want their kids to attend the best schools, and we understand more than ever that it requires adequate funding to get us there. By passing this measure, and supporting Schools and Communities First in 2020, we can build the California dream for all.
About the Equity Alliance for LA’s Kids:
There have always been winners and losers, with our low-income students of color getting the short end of the stick. The Equity Alliance for LA’s Kids is looking to fix that problem. www.laequityalliance.org/
About Advancement Project California:
Advancement Project is a next generation, multiracial civil rights organization. In California, the organization champions the struggle for greater equity and opportunity for all, fostering upward mobility in communities most impacted by economic and racial injustice. Advancement Project California builds alliances and trust, uses data-driven policy solutions, creates innovative tools, and works alongside communities to ignite social transformation. For more information, visit www.advancementprojectca.org. On Twitter @AP_California.
About Community Coalition:
For nearly 30 years, Community Coalition has provided a hub to elevate South LA’s voice and empower residents to take control over the future of their neighborhood. Community Coalition works with residents to build a prosperous and healthy South LA with safe neighborhoods, quality schools, a strong social safety net. The coalition continues to work on positive economic development that reduces crime, poverty and substance abuse in South LA through resident organizing, direct advocacy, and community support services. Visit www.cocosouthla.org to learn more.
About InnerCity Struggle:
InnerCity Struggle has worked with youth and community residents since 1994 to promote safe, healthy and non-violent communities in the Eastside. We organize youth and families in Boyle Heights, unincorporated East Los Angeles, El Sereno, and Lincoln Heights to work together for social and educational justice. InnerCity Struggle provides positive after-school programs for students to become involved in supporting our schools to succeed. We have empowered students to reach their family’s dream of college. The work of InnerCity Struggle demonstrates that youth and parents working together are a powerful force for improving their communities and making real change. Visit innercitystruggle.org to learn more.