The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

July 2, 2010
CPB: California funding of schools ranks near bottom of U.S.

Is California racing to the bottom in its support for schools? A new analysis by the California Budget Project (a non-profit that advocates for the poor) says the state's funding of public education generally lags the rest of the country. CPB crunched data from the National Education Association and the National Center for Education Statistics and found:

* California ranked 44th in state spending per K-12 student in 2009-10 (Calif - $8,826; rest of nation - $11,372).
* California ranked 46th in state spending as a percentage of personal income in 2008-09 (3.28 percent versus 4.25 percent).
* California ranked 50th in the number of students per teacher in 2009-10 (21.3 versus 13.8).
* California's spending on schools as a share of the state economy trailed the rest of the country for at least 40 years and the gap grew to a record high in 2009-10 (3.3 percent versus 4.3 percent).
* California trailed the rest of the nation in per student spending since the early 1980s (inflation-adjusted dollars). The gap ballooned to $2,400 in 2009-10. 
* Largely due to Proposition 13, California schools after 1977-78 began receiving a much larger portion of funding from state versus local sources (55 percent versus 30 percent in 2009-10).

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