SACRAMENTO, Calif. – There was disagreement earlier this year when California lawmakers overhauled the state’s school funding system in an effort to invest more money in education programs for lower-income and English-learning students.
The debate centered on who should receive extra funds – school districts or individual schools that the neediest youngsters attend. Lawmakers finally decided to give it to school districts, which prompted many people to wonder if it would be wasted on increased compensation for union teachers.
There was supposed to be a safety valve to keep that from happening. The California Board of Education was given rule-making authority to make sure the money isn’t misappropriated at the local level.
But some say the state board’s authority has too many loopholes. State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles) has introduced legislation that would more precisely define which students would be served with the extra money, and mandate parental input into the use of the money.
Padilla’s bill has the education establishment in an uproar, according to the Sacramento Bee. A coalition of status-quo organizations, including the radical California Teachers Association and California School Boards Association, argue that the legislation would interfere with the education department’s rule-making authority and “diminish district flexibility to target funds to critically needed programs.”
Give us a break.
We’re guessing that the school boards and unions are mad because Padilla’s legislation would make it more difficult for them to hijack the money and use it for unintended purposes. We’re certain that teacher union officials were counting on the extra revenue to pad teachers’ salaries and benefit packages.
Now they’re learning that the money might actually be spent on poor kids, and they’re fighting like crazy to keep that from happening.
The people of California should pick up their phones, call their legislators, and demand that the schools and unions be prevented from getting their mitts on these funds. Taxpayers are forking out more dollars so the neediest kids can get better instruction and have a better chance in life. The money should be used for that purpose, and little if anything else.
By Steve Gunn at EAGnews.org