Lawsuit filed over public school spending

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July 12, 2010 6:49:21 PM PDT
There is new pressure on California to release more money for education. Another lawsuit was filed today calling for changes in the way the state pays for its public schools.

A new lawsuit claims California demands high marks from its public schools, but doesn't provide enough funds to support those high academic standards. It was filed in Alameda County on Monday by a coalition of education activists.

"We aren't delivering fairly. It's not based on a quality education and not based on individual student needs," John Affeldt from Public Advocates said.

This is the second lawsuit filed against California and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seeking more money to fund education.

The two lawsuits are almost identical. The first one was filed primarily by nine school districts and the PTA of California. This second lawsuit was introduced by a number of grassroots organizations that represent underserved communities.

"The most affected communities of color, low income," Affeldt said.

California already ranks among the lowest in the U.S. when it comes to per pupil spending. And now because of the economic downturn, the state has cut $17 billion from public schools over the past two years.

The consequences are being felt in the classroom with a higher number of students for every teacher.

Cece Kaufman is with Educate our State, a parent-led organization focusing on reforming public education.

"It is very hard to teach to every single level when you are teaching to that many kids," she said.

Through his spokesperson Schwarzenegger said, "Throwing more money into our broken education system will not benefit students unless it is accompanied by extensive and systemic reforms."

These lawsuits seek to force the Legislature to figure out how much it really costs to educate kids in California in order to keep up with these high standards.


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