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California per-pupil spending gets a boost in Brown’s new budget

LA School Report | January 11, 2016

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By Lisa Leff

Soaring tax revenues have carried per-pupil education spending in California beyond where it stood before the recession, but even the record sum proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown is unlikely to reverse the state’s standing as a comparative miser when it comes to investing in public schools, advocates and education officials said.

Brown, a Democrat known for preaching fiscal restraint, released a budget plan last week that would boost state spending per student to $10,591 in the next fiscal year, compared to $8,564 per student in 2007 and $7,008 during the worst of the recession. The rebound stems from a constitutional amendment that guarantees schools a minimum level of annual funding, an amount that grows considerably, as now, during good economic times.

While expressing gratitude, lawmakers and school officials noted that with California consistently ranking in the bottom 10 in state-by-state rankings of school expenditures, student-teacher ratios and other measures, the latest infusion may not be enough to get the state to the national average, never mind the top of the charts.

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