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La Cañada schools need continued community support

November 14, 2012|By Wendy Sinnette

The dust continues to settle given the results of last week’s election. The passage of Proposition 30 brings some measure of immediate relief to school districts throughout California, but it also creates an unprecedented urgency for pervasive communication and messaging from local districts — because the financial problems facing our schools have only been mitigated, not eliminated.

No new funds for La Cañada schools

The marketing campaign from Sacramento associated with Proposition 30 was oversold to the public. It claimed to “fix” the problems with districts’ budgets and the crisis we have been facing for five years regarding school finance in California. That is simply not the case.

The passage of Proposition 30 prevents a $455 cut per student in the current school year and subsequent years projected until 2015-2016. With La Cañada Unified School District’s current enrollment at 4,117, we averted an annual cut of over $1.8 million. However, Proposition 30 provides no new dollars for schools. Instead of additional massive cuts, we are instead faced with a flat funding reality, the same level of funding we received in 2011-2012, which we all know was inadequate.

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Cuts absorbed here for five consecutive years

“Flat funding” means current year funding at $557 per pupil below the levels La Cañada Unified saw in 2007–2008. This equates to a current $2.2 million dollar cut to revenues from those the district received five years ago, before the onslaught of Sacramento cuts. If you total the cumulative per pupil reductions since 2007-2008 they equal $2,716 per student — $10.8 million of actual cuts to our schools. In terms of comprehensive revenue reductions, not just dollars we were cut but dollars we should have received from statutorily anticipated cost-of-living adjustments, the district has lost more than $20 million in funding since 2007-2008.

Deficit spending for the foreseeable future

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