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Spend $36 Billion More

Wednesday March 12th, 2014   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 7:00am PDT   •  

CAEduDept_200K-12 education is the biggest item in the California budget, but for California’s education cartel the state never spends enough. As this report notes, the Education Coalition, an alliance of unions, school boards and administrators, “lobbies for higher school spending continuously.” The Coalition wants to put California in the top 10 states on per-pupil spending. That would cost California an additional $36 billion a year. To raise spending to the $11,864 per-pupil average for all states would add $20 billion to current spending in the neighborhood of $50 billion for K-12 and the community college system.

Before they reach students in the classroom all those dollars must trickle down through multiple layers of bureaucratic sediment. For example, the Centinela Valley School District in southern California, which serves only 6,600 students, is paying superintendent Jose Fernandez $663,000 a year, and his deal grants him an annual raise of 9 percent. The district also loaned Fernandez nearly $1 million – $910,000 – at a rate of 2 percent, to buy a home in upscale Ladera Heights. Fernandez has 40 years to pay off the loan.

Fernandez’s haul is so grotesque it prompted a bill by Torrance assemblyman Al Muratsuchi to prevent “excessive school superintendent compensation packages.” The assemblyman felt compelled to add that “the vast majority of school administrators are honest, hardworking educators.” That may well be doubted, particularly the “educator” part.

District superintendents do not teach. They are basically bureaucrats, bagmen, and public-relations pitchmen. Their primary job is to make parents content with the tenth-rate education the government K-12 collective farm inflicts on students. Superintendents are all overpaid and Fernandez may be the most overpaid of all. Like the entire state, school districts are not exactly up-front about bureaucratic waste.

Taxpayers should recall that, academically, California is a bottom feeder, and about one-third of students entering the California State University system need remedial math and English. So all that spending has not translated to high achievement. On the other hand, Jose Fernandez and his fellow bureaucrats are living large and the education cartel wants to spend $36 billion more. As in the past, politicians are likely to give the cartel everything it wants.

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March 2014