California education by the numbers

Someone I know with a young child in a San Francisco public school shared the factoids below. They are the tip of the education data iceberg, and present a mixed picture. Pitiful per-student spending and above-average teachers’ salaries (btw, I have no objection to people being compensated). Total estimated 2008 – 2009 revenues from all sources: $71.9 billion.

My friend’s primary question is whether the money reaches the students, or whether it is diluted in overhead and other spending with an attenuated impact on the students. Spending and spending decision making are opaque. If this interests you, the next time you are surfing cable and find the SF Board of Education meetings, or you are at a PTA meeting, listen for evidence funding actually reaches the kids. We’re checking into it ourselves, through the SF League’s Advocacy Committee. More in this space reporting what we learn.

Back to the data, most are sourced from the 9/08 EdSource Report, also the SF Board of Education, and the PTA Education Reports.

California…

**spent $614 less per pupil than the 2005 – 2006 national average.
**ranks last in total school staff per student.
**has far more K through 12 students than any other state (averaging 5.9 million children per day, 2008 – 2009).
**teachers’ salaries are among the highest even when adjusted for the local cost of living.
**spent more on school facilities from 2003 to 2006 than any other state, after years of low investment.

More information:
EdSource 2009 Budget Action: www.edsource.org
San Francisco Board of Education: sfusd.edu
Second District of the California State PTA – San Francisco: sfpta.org
PTA Education Reports: capta.org

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