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Reader Billy Bob Henry wrote:

Although you make some very good and valid ponts, you’re pushing the same old government employee baloeny that we don’t pay enough in taxes mantra-and that is not the problem at all. CA is ranked #1 in teacher pay and in the middle of the pack on per student spending. If anything the school system needs to dismiss a large % of the middle and upper management, and also freeze teacher compensation- currently averaging $70 an hour. Arnold tried to cure many of the problems we have from rollar coaster tax revenues-and the biggest opponent was the public teacher unions. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. I will not shed one tear over education cuts, which already gets a DEDICATED 52%-60% of our general fund revenue(not COUNTING the billions in local real property bonds). We have enough money now-cap any teachers raises, fire some administrators. Problem solved.

Billy Bob,

As a parent/child activist, research is an imperative facet of my role. Curious please, if you will share how to obtain the statistics and data on the general fund revenue, or how to research how real property bonds are allocated.

Although there is so much I do not know, I truly do not feel California’s financial crisis is a situation of not paying enough taxes. California is the eighth wealthiest economy in the world, compared to other countries, ranking, in 2006, just behind Italy and ahead of Canada and Spain. (CCSCE: Center for Continuing Study of the CA Economy)

Presently, we are 46th in the nation in what we spend on per pupil spending. (Education Week Quality Counts, 2008).

We already spend less than $1,900 per pupil than the national average. (San Diego County Education Coalition, March 5, 2008)

My intrigue is how is it possible to be first in teacher’s salaries and virtually last in pupil spending?  In the 1970s, when California was first in per pupil spending in our nation, we had exemplary public education. Our entire country modeled their schools after California. Why this disparity?

Another intrigue, relative to our Assembly Education Committee in Sacramento, why does our Vice-Chair of Education Policy not sit on the Education Budget Committee? Why is there not a liaison to communicate what each hand is doing?

Thank you, Billy Bob, for your insight.  Your advice on how to obtain further research data is very much appreciated.

— DANA BROWN

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