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Funding Education – Moving Forward

I knew our educational system was funded through taxes, but seriously did not really understand the full process and its importance until now. In reflection, I remember listening to the older generation as they sat around discussing politics, taxes, voting, which led towards real heated debates over the have and the have not’s and the fairness of it all. This topic did not gain my full interest or attention, until now. Now the picture is clearer of the conversations of yesterday; I can finally hear their voices and understand.
According to Brimley, Berstegen, & Garfield (2012), taxation is the system that transfers funds from where they are produced to where they are needed. The funding of public education is dependent upon funding from federal, state, and local government. It’s a little known fact that when it comes to the funding of our schools, the U.S. Government contributes about 10 cents to every dollar spent on K-12 education – less than the majority of countries in the world. And it wasn’t until 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as part of his War on Poverty, that the federal government created a lasting program to fund K-12 education (Woodruff, 2008).

The ruling of Serrano v. Priest “established a standard for California by the court and applied in practice that a child’s education must not be affected by the wealth of his or her parents or neighbors, except by the state as a whole (Brimley et al. 2012).” According to the National Center for Education Statistics, state and local funding accounts for approximately 93 percent of education expenditures (Woodruff, 2008). What’s the source of these funds? In most states, it’s sales and income taxes (both corporate and personal). But on a local level, these funds usually come from property taxes, which are set by the school board, local officials or citizens. It’s this system that causes the most dramatic differences between states, and even within districts. Depending on the property wealth of a community, its schools might boast gleaming buildings and equipment, or they might be dilapidated – struggling with the burden of outdated equipment and unpaid bills (Woodruff, 2008).”

Listed below are some of the principal taxes used to transfer funds to the public school system in California. They are property tax, personal income, corporate income, sales tax, as well as privilege, severance (oil and gas), and sumptuary (alcohol and tobacco) taxes; plus the lottery.
According to Brimley et al. (2012), the property owner pays taxes on real or personal property for individuals and businesses. Real property includes land, buildings and improvements. Personal property consists of tangibles, such as machinery, livestock, crops, automobiles and recreational vehicles; and intangibles, such as money, stocks and bonds. “Property taxes at the local level have proven to be a good and reliable source of revenue for operating schools and providing many other services of city, town and county government (Brimley et al. 2012).” However, there are a few criticisms surrounding the unfairness of individuals having to pay taxes on the full value of the property versus their neighbor who pays fewer taxes based on the era in which they purchased the property.

“California personal income tax laws are progressive in the sense that they charge a much higher rate for high earners than for those earning relatively small incomes. Income taxes pay for state programs and projects such as public schools and state highways. The state’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) audits the expenditures of state income tax and makes this data available to the public. In 2013, for example, 31.7 percent (the largest portion) of the state’s income tax revenue went to health and human services, with 27.4 percent going to K-12 public education (www.statelaws.findlaw.com).”
Another source of revenue that funds public schools is Proposition 30. This initiative passed, increasing income taxes on single earners earning more than $250K a year and joint filers earning more than $500K for 7 years and includes a 3% income tax on earners of $1 million or more, as well as an increase in sales tax of 0.25% for 4 years.

“The Lottery’s mandate in the California State Lottery Act is to provide supplemental funding to California public education on all levels from kindergarten through the University of California plus several specialized schools. Since its inception in October 1985, the Lottery has provided more than $26.6 billion to students in California’s public schools (www.calottery.com).”

Lastly, Governor Brown restructured California’s education finance system through the newly Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which eliminates nearly all categorical programs and allocates resources to school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education. School districts with larger shares of disadvantaged students would receive additional LCFF dollars per student. The LCFF provides school districts school districts with supplemental funding for English learners and students from low-income families (Kaplan, 2013). The LCFF provides school districts with greater authority over the use of resources and require each district to adopt a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) and approve spending sufficient to implement the plan. However, the LCFF excludes several sources of school district revenue, including: certain local dollars, such as parcel taxes; state dollars for programs such as special education, the After School Education and Safety program, and child nutrition programs; and all federal dollars (Kaplan, 2013).

In the voices of those before me, let’s continue to support and move our educational
system towards what is just for our future leaders of the 21st century.

References

Brimley, V., Berstegen, D., & Garfield, R. (2012). Financing education in a climate of change.
Pearson Education, Boston: MA
California person income tax laws (2014). http://statelaws.findlaw.com/california-law/california-personal-income-tax-laws.html#sthash.8OUVYAzR.dpuf
Contribution to education (www.calottery.com)
Kaplan, J. (2013). Moving forward: Addressing inequities in school finance through the
governor’s local control funding formula. The California Budget Project, p. 1-29,
Sacramento: CA. http://www.cbp.org
Woodruff, J. (2008). How do we fund our schools?, The Educational Broadcasting Corporation,
New York: NY

Describe and analyze the relevance and impact of Proposition 13, AB 8, & Gann Limit on financing California education from the perspectives of equity and adequacy. By ShaRon Davis and Tracey Washington

Public school funding is the largest program in the California State Budget receiving more than 40 percent of the state’s General Fund resources (CDE., 2014) and yet the $70 billion allocated to the public K – 12 schools in the 2013 – 2014 school year were not adequate. The question of adequacy involves what is enough to educate a child and the answer differs based on the needs of the child. In California most of the learners speak English as a second language and therefore need more money invested into programs specifically designed to teach them English before they can learn the common core subjects. California also has this nation’s worst child poverty rate (WestEd.org 2000) and children from low income families do not have the basic resources required for learning. Therefore, the state which is charged with providing a public school system that offers all students an adequate education (Townley, Schmieder-Ramirez, & Wehmeyer, 2012) must provide monies to supplant as well as supplement instruction. The following presentation will discuss three of the laws that dictate how public schools are funded in California.

Proposition 13

Proposition 13 was meant to provide some ease for property owners. Before proposition 13 the county assessor decided the worth of property and the tax. This practice was subjective and biased (Cal-Tax.org. 1993). Proposition 13 sets limits to taxes at one percent of the property’s purchase price with taxes not increasing more than two percent in any given year. What homeowners believed was in their favor also reduced taxes on commercial property; property used for business. Additionally some tax laws (loopholes) enabled commercial property owners to avoid paying taxes usually based on the percentage of the business that an individual owned (Cal-tax.org, 1993). The owner controlling more than fifty percent of a jointly owned business pays the property taxes. Proposition 13 helped both homeowners and business owners but it hurt the state’s general fund from which school financing was derived because it decreased the funding to schools. Proposition 13 maintains low tax rates on property until it is sold and then the tax owed is reassessed (California Tax Data.com, 2014). When the market value of the property increases, property sells at higher rates and the additional tax revenue collected can help schools, but during the recent recession real estate values dropped and people were not selling their property so there was insufficient money to invest in education (public schools).

However, California is in a period of economic recovery and Fund the UC, a student coalition, has a practical solution to Proposition 13 which is to do away with the two percent maximum yearly increase for commercial property assessments in favor of assessing the properties at their actual market value. For example, commercial and industrial property would be assessed differently from residential property through a tiered system. It requires land and buildings owned by publicly traded companies to be reassessed every three years instead of when the assets change hands (Marois & Nash, 2011). California has dropped in national ranking from one of the best public school systems in the country to the bottom. Although this reform may not be welcomed by property owners of commercial and industrial businesses, it is an equitable move to ensure more funding for public education because commercial and publicly traded companies have held an unnatural advantage for years as the value of their property has been grossly underestimated (Senior Editorial Board, 2014). The California Legislative Analyst’s Office projects that by doing this, the state tax revenue will increase by $4 to $5 billion, with $2 billion of that projected to be spent on education (Senior Editorial Board, 2014). Currently, Fund the UC is lobbying state officials in Sacramento to put a Proposition 13 reform measure on the 2016 California ballot (Senior Editorial Board, 2014).

GANN

According to Martin (2000), “in the late 1970’s the Gann limit prohibited the Legislature from spending excess stashes of cash; while the goal of Proposition 13 (Article XIIIA) was to cut local property taxes, it still left taxpayers vulnerable to increases in other types of taxes, and the initiative did not limit state spending and local revenue growth (p. 1).” Proposition 4 (Gann initiative, Article XIIIB) said to be the meat of Proposition 13, sets limits to the amount of money state and local governments can receive each year from taxes. The government calculates annual operating budgets and collects taxes to fund these operations. All taxes collected in excess of the budget should be returned to taxpayers.

According to Martin (2000), “eight years after the passage of Proposition 4, California experienced a revenue flow of $1.1 billion over the Gann limit. Governor George Deukmejian wanted to spend $400 million on schools and refund $700 million to taxpayers, the Legislature refused to pass the bill authorizing the education appropriation (Martin, 2000).” Shortly thereafter, two initiatives were placed on the ballot to fine-tune the Gann limit; Proposition 98 of 1988 allowed schools to receive Gann limit refund revenues up to four percent of schools’ minimum funding base and Proposition 111 of 1990, altered how the Gann limit is calculated. Proposition 111 added K-14 public school enrollment rates to the population formula correcting school-funding inequities and dedicating half of the excess revenues to taxpayers and the other half to schools. It also declared that the Gann limit would trigger only if tax proceeds were in excess for two consecutive fiscal years (Martin, 2000).

The government calculates the cost of living increases as the change in the California per capita personal income (CDE., 1978; Martin, 2000). Gann sets limits to appropriations on some, but not all appropriation limitations and some monies collected in excess of appropriations is not returned to the taxpayer. State subventions for example are exempt from appropriation limitations, as well as debt service, appropriations for mandates ordered by the courts or the federal government (Martin, 2000). Additional monies collected to respond to emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, floods are not subject to appropriation limitations. But, school operating budgets, faculty, instructional materials, school facilities for K-12 education and community colleges are subject to appropriation limitations. Pre-K budgets were not delineated in this discussion. The money allocated to the operation of public schools is not adequate. The question of equity seems to be a question of how much money is necessary to operate the schools adequately. How much are people willing to pay to educate future generations? This question is paramount because the workers and leaders today must be replaced in order for this nation to continue to maintain and achieve. Some of the tax burden experienced by homeowners must be offset by tax dollars from businesses that pay little if any taxes toward public education. An important note on GANN; it is possible for the government to adjust the appropriation limits when more tax money is collected and therefore not need to return money to taxpayers, but it is not clear when and how this decision is made.

AB 8

After the passage of Proposition 13, educational finance was re-addressed, with school districts receiving a portion of the property tax (through the AB 8 allocation formula) and direct payments from the state, and other sources (Chapman, 2006; Digest Key, 2009-2010). This transaction reduced schools’ reliance on property tax revenues and increased the state’s share of responsibility for school finance (Jayamaran, 2006). AB 8 is an attempt to develop another method of collecting and allocating funds for public education. It is a new plan that will be more transparent and clearly state the formula to be used, unlike the system that is used today. This current system is considered complex, irrational and burdensome and its complexity is an obstacle to transparency. Therefore the new plan produces an easy to understand allocation system that will support student learning (Digest Key, 2009-2010). School funding in the west is lower than in other regions. Assumptions that schools in these states can reach ambitious goals for students by reallocating existing resources may not be valid. Studies of best practices substantiate what works to adequately educate children which includes funding pre-k programs, reducing class sizes, increasing professional development for teachers, providing tutors for struggling students and providing access to computer technologies. All these practices require additional funding. Adequacy funding formulas expose the gap between what schools now receive and what they really need, particularly those schools facing the costs of educating large numbers of students with special needs (Townley, Schmieder-Ramirez, & Wehmeyer, 2012).

References

California Data.com (2014) http://www.californiataxdata.com/pdf/Prop13

California Taxpayers’ Association (1993) http://www.caltax.org/

Chapman, J. I. (2006). Proposition 13: Some unintended consequences. Public Policy Institute

of California, p. 1-31, http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/op/OP_998JCOP.pdf

Jayamaran, N. (2006). Schools finance in California and the proposition 98

guarantee. California Budget Project, p. 1-31, Sacramento:CA.

http://www.cbp.org/pdfs/2006/0604_prop98.pdf

Marois, M. B. & Nash, J. (2011). California schools suffering as proposition 13 tax cap breeds

fiscal chaos. Bloomberg, p. 1-3.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-07-12/california-schools-suffering-as-prop

Martin, L. (2000). Exploring the Gann Limit: Then and now. California Taxpayers’ Association,

p. 1-6, http://www.caltax.org/mem/digest/July2000.jul00-9.htm

Senior Editorial Board (2014). Reform prop. 13 to fund education. The Daily Californian,

p. 1-10, http://www.dailycal,org/2014/02/11/reform-prop-13-fund-education

Townley, A.J., Schmieder-Ramirez, J.H., & Wehmeyer, L.B. (2012). School finance: A

california perspective, 9th Edition, Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publisher

Play Is Essential for Preschool

I attended a meeting two weeks ago, and one of the topics was play versus academics in the early education environment.  We were asked to to stand to either side of the room with the headings being “Just Let Me Play” and “Academic Common Core Ready.”  I know that children lern through play and preschool students engage their whole body in play to understand the world around them.  The concern with that is children do not get outside to play like they did years ago creating fun with their environment.  This article brings to light what research states about threats to preschool play.  During the meeting, I chose to stand next to “Academic Common Core Ready,” because I believe you can balance the two by merging them together.  If play is planned with intentionality, students will learn academically through fun filled activities.

This entry was posted on June 23, 2014. 2 Comments

Top 10 Issues Facing Technology Usage in Society

This article highlights the top ten issues teachers are faced with when using technology in the educational setting.  Although this article doesn’t speak to this, however, parents and students are given rules on technology usage and must sign-off before they are released to utilize the Internet and computers in the educational setting.

Jeopardy Curation

Jeopardy Curation

Thanks to this technology class and my PKM System, take a look at the back wall. During this CD 11 class, technology was integrated to engage the students in a final class activity using a game of Jeopardy. The game was created highlighting four categories with five icons (answers) under each category. The students were throughly surprised, as was I because the game actually worked with music and the sound effects liked designed.  At the end they were all Jeopardy Champions!

Capturing Data

Capturing Data

This photo represents the data collected on 4-year olds at the end of the year using data the Desired Results Developmental Profile 2010 (DRDP-2010). Edwards (2014) states, “The data always show room for improvement, but the daily analysis fuels our commitment to improving student achievement and teacher effectiveness. Teachers in early care/education collect data twice a year using the DRDP-2010. By doing so it drives their instruction and supports them with planning and using differentiated instruction to move their students towards mastering each developmental level: exploring, developing, building, & integrating  (Click on the above photo to learn more about Desired Results Developmental Profile 2010).

Reference:

Edwards, M. A. (2014). Every child, every day: A digital conversion model for student achievement. Pearson Education: NJ

Feedly

Finally, I learned about Feedly.  I thought Feedly was a link on my blog page, and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting the same results as my colleagues when they spoke about Feedly.  Thanks to Dr. Bonni, I am able to have the blogs I follow, the RSS feeds from the organizations I am interested in, as well as any subject or personal readings I like to engage in all in one place.  It is so much easier to log in to Feedly, and Viola, it is all there for my reading, tweeting, answering, and blogging post pleasure.