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The K-12 Crunch:

  • California ranks 1st in percentage of children who speak a language other than English at home (2008)
  • California ranks 1st in percentage of children in households who hasn't completed high school at 28% (2008)
  • California ranks 41st in expenditures per pupil (without cost of living factored) (2008)
  • California pays teachers the highest average salary in the nation (2008)
  • California ranks 49th in certified staff to students (2007-2008)
  • California ranks 50th in total school staff (2007-2008)
  • California ranks 51st in librarians (2007-2008)
  • California ranks 50th in teachers (2007-2008)
  • California ranks 48th in teachers (2007-2008)
  • Only 42% of schools perform at or above 800 API-the state's performance target (2009)
  • Only 33.9% students are eligible for admission into California State University or University of California system schools (2009)
  • 24.2% of students are English learners (2008-2009)
  • 10.8% are special education students (2008-2009)
  • 53.7% of students qualify for free/reduced price meals (2008-2009)
  • California's four year dropout rate for 2007-2008 was 18.9%
  • 32.9% of African American students drop out in 4 years (2007-2008)
  • 23.8% Hispanic students drop out in 4 years (2007-2008)
  • Only 68.5% of students graduate from high school (2007-2008)
  • Only 54.6% of African American students graduate from high school (2007-2008)
  • Only 58% of Hispanic students graduate from high school (2007-2008)
  • 160 of 1077 are in danger of bankruptcy (2010)
  • 14 of 1077 will be going bankrupt (2010)
  • 26,000 teachers were laid off in March (2010)
  • California's per pupil funding compared to the national average dropped $1000 from 1970-2000
  • Since the recession, class sizes increased in 67% of schools (2008-2009)
  • California ranks 51st in secondary teacher - student ratios (2008-2009)
  • Even with stimulus funds, in 2008-2009 California had 6.2% less money than two years prior
  • In 2008-2009, 75% of principals reported cuts to instructional materials
  • In 2009 only 20/1035 districts passed a parcel tax (9 taxes fail, 1006 did not try)
  • California's truancy rate was 24.15% (2008-2009)

More Stats

Hemet School District Fights Education Cuts

Hemet Unified School District, about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles,  has been forced to cut $32 million dollars of its budget over the last two years. One elementary school has been cut and other programs, like football and many others are threatened. Hemet education officials say they can't sustain further cuts and have joined a lawsuit called Robles-Wong v. California that is suing the state for increased funding for schools.

California School Funding: A History of Revision

California’s education funding system has evolved over the years. As a result of the state financial crisis, California’s schools are funded at some of the lowest levels in their history. Once a proud national leader of education, California has dropped to 41st in per pupil funding (or as low as 47th when California’s high cost of living is factored in). Over the past two years, budget shortfalls aggravated by the recession forced the state to cut 17 billion dollars from K-14 public education funding. 

Siblings hard at work.

Major Lawsuit Resists California Education Funding Cuts

Hoping to spur statewide reform, a coalition of students, school districts, and educational organizations has sued the state of California, claiming its education funding system is unconstitutional and has failed students.

The lawsuit, called Robles-Wong et al. v. California, could radically change the landscape of public education in California. It calls for California to meet the high demands it puts on education with significant funding and a new structure for school funding. Lawyers say the current system is a disaster. 

Plus, two Hemet, Calif., families are involved in the lawsuit. Watch the audio slideshows.