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On June 4, 2019 at the polls, we’ll approve fairly funded Public Education for all by voting YES ON EE. It’s a gift to democracy from the body politic. See here/howcorporatematchingworks

In the meantime large corporations and industrial landowners have launched a stunning reveal of Big Business As Scrooge.  They’re sabotaging the rest of us, fueling a deluge of anxiety on social media. Guess what? The questions evoked have straightforward answers:

(1)  WHAT about the lottery?

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Experts say:  “Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding about California’s lottery comes down to the false impression people have about its role in funding our schools. … [Because it turns out,]… Well, the lottery doesn’t provide very much to K-12 schools.”

About 20 cents on the dollar goes to K-12 schools for a total of $1 billion dollars a year — actually a drop in the bucket of CA education funding.  The vast majority goes into the pockets of the businesses that sell the tickets and maintain the machines and the lotto system — and the tickets are mostly bought by residents of low-income neighborhoods.  Since a change in the law in 2010, ticket sales have gone up and returns for schools have gone down.  More here:  Scalextric Renault Sport RS . 01/2018/06/19/lottery.php

It’s smarter not to send Education dollars to Sacramento but to keep it right here locally, under our own citizen’s watchful eyes (see #7 below).

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(2)  Didn’t we already increase our taxes for education?

Temporarily — yes.  In the wake of the Great Recession, we saved our schools with Prop 30 which raised taxes from 2012-2018 on individuals making over $250K (joint filers making over $500K).  A 0.25% sales tax increase ended in 2016.  An extension of the income tax on the wealthy was passed in 2016 (Prop 55) and will last through 2030.  With that assistance, California’s spending on education rose a little but remains in the bottom 20% of all states in the union.

Remember when local business leaders “supported” Prop 30? Remember when the opposite turned out to be true? See BNWT Jellycat Special Edition Jemima Bashful Bunny RabbitSoft Stuffed Large Keel Tiger Animal Plush Cuddly Toys Baby Kids Gifts What if this is happening again? This measure has made for some very strange bed-fellows/commoncause4EE. But that shouldn’t affect support for properly funding public education. Fair is fair.

(3)  What about all those other huge sources of education funds?

Meaning possibly …

      • Title I (poverty) federal funding?  It weighs in at only about 4% of the General Fund budget.
      • Funds earmarked for ‘Special education’?  Special education is consistently underfunded relative to the federal mandates. Worse, that scarce money is shrinking relative to the increasing identified needs of our kids.
      • Bond monies?  It’s only for facilities and tech.  Bond money can’t be spent on the classroom and staffing costs such as mandated by a parcel tax.]

(4)  How about I just do Donor’s Choose or give directly to my school through the PTA?

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(5)  Did LAUSD really spend $1.3 billion on iPads? 

No.  The Bond Oversight Committee started asking critical questions and then voted against additional expenditures which put the brakes on the program:  POKEMON GIRATINA SHINY 30 CM SOFT TOY snowman 487 big dragon plush doll go bluee  /ipadoversight

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(6)  Are they just going to waste the money on stuff I don’t think the kids need?

Text of the measure is here:  Measure_EE_Official_Ballot_Text /measureEEtext

Relevant portions:

WHEREAS, the purpose of the parcel tax shall be to maintain and increase programs and services provided by L.A. Unified (PreK-12 schools, adult/vocational/career schools, and early education), including Local Charter Schools, in support of students and local schools. The funds from this parcel tax will be used for the following specific purposes:

      1. Lowering class sizes;
      2. Providing school nursing, library, and counseling services;
      3. Providing quality instructional programs, critical school resources and materials;
      4. Retaining and attracting high-quality teachers and school employees;
      5. Providing safe, secure, clean, well-maintained and supportive schools;
      6. Providing schools with necessary administrative services; and
      7. Supporting low-income students, English-learners, foster/homeless students, students with disabilities, students enrolled in high-need or low-performing schools, or otherwise disadvantaged students.

WHEREAS, funding generated by this Measure may NOT be used for:

(7)  LAUSD isn’t responsible.  Money won’t be spent as promised – it never is!  Who’s watching the hen house??

The Board of Education has passed a resolution with specific requirements for an oversight committee:

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Resolved further, That the membership of the Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee shall consist of nine (9) independent representatives with significant expertise in at least one of the following areas: academia, school/public finance, parent and family engagement, and performance measurement and management. Each nominated member shall reside within the boundaries of the District and the membership shall reflect a balance of participants with each of the aforementioned expertise areas;

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Text of the resolution here/LAUSDresolutions — type “EE” in the search box labeled ‘Title’ and click on “show resolution”.

(8)  Don’t we already pay too much in property taxes?  Where is it all going??  

The bottom line:  In CA, as in most states, public education is funded via property taxes. 

Since the 1970s, local property taxes go to Sacramento to be divvied up and sent back to local school districts.  This was done to combat the historical inequities between school districts located in wealthy versus low-income communities.  Also in the 1970s, Prop 13 passed assessment limits on residential and commercial properties, keeping property taxes artificially low until a lot changes hands.  This has had paradoxical effects on our tax rates because residential properties change hands more regularly while commercial concerns can use certain business structures to evade reassessments and higher taxes.  In other states, 70% of property tax revenues come from commercial property whereas in CA, the balance is flipped and residential owners provide more of our property tax revenues than businesses do.