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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Prop 13 and Education in California

 From The Orange County Register

The U.S. Department of Education publishes data on per-pupil spending in public elementary and secondary schools by state and by year, comparing the annual spending in constant 2021-22 dollars. The data can be found online in the National Center for Education Statistics’ Digest of Education Statistics, in table 236.70.

In the 1969-70 school year, California’s per-pupil spending was $6,474. (That’s the inflation-adjusted number. The nominal dollar amount at the time was $867.)

Proposition 13 was adopted in 1978. In the 1979-80 school year, per-pupil spending in California went up to $8,238. It rose to $9,752 in 1989-90, to $10,663 in 1999-2000, and to $12,596 in 2009-10.In 2019-20, the most recent year for which statistics are available on the U.S. government site, per-pupil spending in California was $15,860.

The state’s Department of Finance projects per-pupil spending will be $17,444 for the nearly 5.9 million students enrolled in grades K-12 in California’s public schools in 2023-24.

According to the May revision of the governor’s budget, the state will spend a total of $127.2 billion on K-12 education.

Anyone who believes California would be better off if only we could go back to the school funding level before Proposition 13 should consider this: If per-pupil spending was restored to the pre-Proposition 13 level in 1969-70, the state’s total spending on K-12 education for 2023-24 would be approximately $38.2 billion.

That’s $89 billion less than we’re paying now.

Maybe the Legislature should focus on where the money is going.