Adequate Funding: A Matter of Political Will: County Superintendents in Santa Clara Have Come Together to Brainstorm the Efforts Needed to Move Forward on the Adequate School Funding Agenda

Article excerpt

Adequate school funding: What does it look like? How do we get to it? Who pays for it? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered so that California schools can do the job the public demands and expects. As educators, we certainly share those same expectations and will hold ourselves directly accountable for the end result, but will somebody please provide the financial resources needed to get there?

Last year, the Santa Clara County Superintendents Association met early in the fall to identify our focus of efforts for the 2004-05 school year. Our discussion centered on what was most important for us to spend our time on during the school year. The discussion soon led to a natural focal point: that of securing adequate school funding for us to do our jobs. We reviewed the successes in other states where this issue has been debated and either legislated or adjudicated.

What was clear to all of us was that rather than scatter our limited resources (and human energy), we should begin to create the dialog to put this into the forefront of our activities.

A small sub-group met and invited ACSA staff and Stanford Professor Michael Kirst, director of Policy Analysis for California Education, to begin the dialog on the subject of adequate school funding and to brainstorm what efforts would be needed to move this agenda forward.

Holding the state accountable

It was disappointing to sit at the table knowing that the governor, for all intents and purposes, blew off the Quality Education Commission, which had as part of its mission the task of providing recommendations in the area of adequate school funding. (Anyone remember the California Master Plan for Education?)

There is certainly no argument out there about the differential costs for educating a regular education student, a GATE student, an ELL student, a Title I student and a special education student. In fact these costs can certainly be quantified and averaged out across the state. …