Thursday, April 15, 2004

Gutting the schools

Tyler Cowen writes:
That all being said, Proposition 13 did not work out very well for the state of California. For all their vices, property taxes are a relatively decentralized source of government support. If you don't like how the money is spent, you can move. Replacing local property taxes by state taxes ended up gutting California schools, without saving taxpayers much money in the longer run. Stay tuned...
The trouble with that is that California schools never got gutted. Yes, per-student funding declined slightly from 1978-1983, but "gutted" isn't the word for a 10% cut spread over 5 years, long since reversed. The long-term trend on California's per-student funding is up. You can say it "declined" a bit relative to what other US states were spending, but that doesn't count as "gutted" either.

See page 90 of this report for a chart of CA real spending per pupil over time compared with the US average.