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Journal of No. 118

December 15th, 2010

4th period Biology is brought to you by Yogi Bear in 3D & Van de Kamp's Fish Sticks @ 09:51 am

LAUSD is considering funding sports, food services, art programs, Academic Decathlon, etc. through corporate sponsorship and advertising logo emblazonment.

Given the fiscal disaster, this may be a grotesque but necessary step, if the alternative is to shut down the football team and the art program.

But it seems a shame we can't adequately fund public education publicly. Yes, that means taxes. So what. It's not like these corporate fairy godmother donors are charitably giving of their own money -- all that money came from consumers. Call it a corporate-mediated tax. This is better?

If and when CA and the LAUSD rights its financial ship, it'll be interesting to see how long it takes to push this back out of the schools. Or will the schools get addicted to and complacent about this new source of funding?
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Date:December 15th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
Cripes. considering how we used to pester our parents for the toys and other knick knacks we saw advertised on TV I think they weren't just glad of the education we were getting in school but the time spent away from the TV. *sighs*

I was wondering, because you're all like educated 'n such on teh economicks, what your view on Prop 13 vis school budgets might be. It gets pointed to as the bad guy so much that it seems like it's the central problem by virtue of "well, everybody says." Which makes it harder to research. What do you say?
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Date:December 15th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
educated 'n such on teh economicks

Ha. I have very little knowledge of, nor interest in, economics. But hey, opinions I got plenty.

Prop 13 has plenty of flaws [and my fingers grow itchy to rant about them] but I think its negative influence on school spending has been exaggerated, especially at this point in time. The primary effect of Prop 13 was to limit the growth in one source of CA state revenue (property taxes). The state has other ways of generating revenue, and it has compensated to some extent for whatever effect Prop 13 had. So frinstance, sales tax was 6% in 1978, and now tops 10% in some parts of the state. Of course, shifting taxes from property tax to sales tax shifts the burden from homeowners and corporations to poor people. Oh, those itchy fingers got the better of me!
Anyway, prop 13 doesn't say a darn thing about how much we could or should or must spend on education, which is the topic under discussion. It may have cut one source of potential general funding for the state, but the state has plenty of other avenues for funding.
On the spending side, we have things like Prop 98, setting a minimum percentage of state budget to be spent on education.
Of course when things are bad, like in the recession:

#1 - state revenues fall so the state has less to spend, so even if we use the guaranteed percentage from prop 98, the same percentage of a smaller number means less gets spent on education.
#2 - the state suspends prop 98 anyway so the schools get even less than that.

And of course, the needs of education are only going up. More kids, more schools, more spending.

So if we know that needs are going to continue increasing, but our revenue sources can have downs as well as ups, it would seem only reasonable to protect education by taxing a little extra in the fat years, so that we have money to tide us over in the lean years without cutting educational services.

But of course:

#1 - the state government never met a surplus it wouldn't like to raid and spend.
#2 - the Howard Jarvis-y taxpayer organizations would go mega-bananas about how the state is taking more of OUR MONEY than it needs.
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Date:December 16th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association is so far whacko that even Howard Jarvis would have nothing to do with them.
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Date:December 16th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Ahhh. I seeeee! Hm. Now I'm left to wonder why Prop 13 gets pointed to then, in cases of education budget shortfalls. though I guess it's likely political legerdemain since no one wants to get caught shortchanging schools, it's better to spread the blame around. ...I guess?

Well it's helpful to see what Prop 13 actually did, and yeah sales tax != property tax for revenue growth.

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Date:December 16th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
If you believe Wikipedia, it says:

"[Prop 13] Effect on public schools
California public schools, which during the 1960s had been ranked nationally as among the best, have decreased to 48th in many surveys of student achievement. Some have disputed the attribution of the decline to Proposition 13's role in the change to state financing of public schools, because schools financed mostly by property taxes were declared unconstitutional (the variances in funding between lower and higher income areas being deemed to violate the equal protection clause) in Serrano vs. Priest, and Proposition 13 was then passed partially as a result of that case. California's spending per pupil was the same as the national average until about 1985, when it began decreasing, which resulted in another referendum, Proposition 98, that requires a certain percentage of the state's budget to be directed towards education."

Note that Prop 13 also added the 2/3 majority needed to pass a budget clause (which we FINALLY have started to overturn).

How did it affect education? It lowered the money put into it even as more schools, teachers, etc. were needed due to rising population (rising population, I am going to say, partially due to our then-splendid educational system). Since revenue dropped to schools, they've had to find other means of making that shortfall. Hence, tuition increases for college and the lottery.

Overall, Prop 13 led to all our weird, crazy taxes and fees on everything else, a la car registration fees and sales tax. Is prop 13 the SOLE cause of our educational abyss? No, but I'm labeling it Brutus on the Ides of March.
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Date:December 15th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
Or will the schools get addicted to and complacent about this new source of funding?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say, "Yes."

Journal of No. 118