California Approves Record Amount In Public School Funding

California public schools will receive a record amount of funding, but will it be enough to bring trust back to the system?

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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California public schools

California public schools are in trouble. Record enrollment drops and chronic absenteeism is affecting classrooms across the state. Yet somehow, state lawmakers have approved the largest education budget for California public schools yet. 

During the pandemic, schools received billions of dollars in funding. Many of which spent those taxpayer dollars on non-public health-related materials. California specifically utilized money dispersed to combat the COVID-19 virus to institute Critical Race Theory in classrooms. The state received a massive $9 billion dollars in Elementary and Secondary School School Relief funds (ESSR). California public schools used some of this money to train teachers on LGBTQ+ issues, “implicit bias,” and race-based studies. 

California public schools have been suffering since before the pandemic. While politicians like the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, blame COVID-19, the truth is that these schools have been struggling to properly serve students for some time. No amount of funding has changed that. On Thursday Newsome signed a massive $128.3 billion in school funding that is mainly to be used on mental health care and “equity” programs. It also expands meal plans and potential transportation issues. 

Whether parents approve of these measures funding California public schools or not, they have paid for them with their tax dollars, and many Californians are not happy with the current state of education. Students have suffered from learning gaps due to excessive pandemic protocols, some California schools are no longer allowed to give students failing grades — no matter how far behind they fall, and gender theory is being pressed to such a degree that a mother has had to sue her child’s school for allegedly brainwashing her daughter to change her gender. Families are fleeing the system in search of education alternatives. Enrollment is down and expected to continue plummeting. Chronic absenteeism is at 40% in Los Angeles. That means that almost half of students are missing large amounts of school days in some California public schools. 

Public schools receive funding based on enrollment or attendance, sometimes both. So if enrollment and attendance are both down, how can California afford massive public school budgets? The state already has the highest sales tax rate in the nation, as well as the highest gas tax. It also levies additional “excise taxes,” that charge exorbitant amounts for excesses, like 33% for buying fruit from a vending machine. 

If money were an issue for California public schools, the state has pulled in plenty of funding to fix issues for years. In addition, during the pandemic, billions were pumped into the school system as well, but schools chose to use that money on identity politics instead of updating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) applications to encourage students to advance in these subjects which are growing fields. Now California state officials are throwing more money at the situation, yet doing little to change funding policy, add more oversight to ensure that funds are appropriated properly, or survey parents to determine what will draw them to enroll their children and ensure they come to class every day. 

California public schools

The state has a history of taxing the people for programs that continue to turn out failures. Whether this massive amount of money can fix California public schools is yet to be determined. For now, parents focused on core curriculum and academic achievement must look elsewhere if they wish for their children to receive a well-rounded education that teaches useful skills for the future.