As school districts throughout California return for the second half of the school year, every single school district will be forced to continue dealing with a local crisis created by Sacramento, the issue of full funding for California’s schools.
As Sacramento continues utilizing its local control funding formula, the truth of the matter is that the funding formula simply does not work and hurts many districts significantly. School districts are being provided with very limited funds by Sacramento, yet our local costs continue to rise. It is not a coincidence that school districts throughout the region are having very similar and loud conversations about reductions, the sale of district property, parcel/bond taxes and the closure of schools.
These “out-of-the-box” ideas are being forced on school districts out of desperation, as we are all seeking to pay our teachers and staff a living wage while also protecting key instructional programs from elimination for our students.
During budget decisions, school boards throughout the state are filled with parents, staff and stakeholders advocating for their positions. As both a parent and an educator, I completely understand their passion, as we all want the very best for our children. However, often overlooked, is the fact that the subject of the passion is misplaced because, as I stated earlier, school districts are forced to work with the financial dollars and constraints put on them by Sacramento.
In reality, the focus of this passion should be both the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom because it is their decision that is forcing school districts to make these decisions. Most recently a state budget proposal came out from the governor that does not change the disposition or situation for California schools. When will Sacramento make a significant change that positively impacts our public education system?
With that in mind, I call on you as the parents, stakeholders and supporters of public education to reach out to your local member of the state Assembly, Senate, and the governor to let them know that school districts need full funding. Pitting communities against each other because of limited school district dollars is not how California is going to maintain its status as the economic epicenter of the world.
We need change, and we need it now for California students in our public schools.
Dr. Carrie Andrews is the superintendent of the Cambrian School District, a K-8 public school district in San Jose.