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Nov 27 / Jonathan

$6 billion “windfall” for schools?

From today’s SF Chronicle:

California schools are in line for a $6 billion windfall over the next five years, and interest groups are already lining up to get their share, promoting ideas like improving high schools, paying teachers more, and helping urban districts with severely declining enrollment.

The money is anticipated because K-12 enrollment is expected to drop while the state’s general fund revenues continue to increase. Several factors are contributing to the declining enrollment: Children of Baby Boomers are exiting the 5-to-17 age group, fewer people are moving into the state, and there has been a decline recently in the state’s birthrate.

How much of a “windfall” are we talking about here? With 6 million students in the system, $6 billion comes to $1000 per student. Spread that over five years, and we’re looking at $200 per student per year (never mind that we also have to assume that the economy stays healthy).

My local district, not atypical, spends about $7000 per student now. An extra $200 would of course be welcome, but it’s less than a 3% boost. Some windfall.

(Falling enrollment, by the way, has been a way of life in my district for the last ten years.)

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