Good Schools for All: Districts Struggle to Stay Afloat Despite Increased State Funding - Voice of San Diego

Education

Good Schools for All: Districts Struggle to Stay Afloat Despite Increased State Funding

Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn talk with two researchers about the pressure that pensions, enrollment and increased special educations costs are putting on local school district budgets.

The entrance to Emerson-Bandini Elementary School / Photo by Dustin Michelson

At first glance, California schools seem to be doing well.

The state plans to steadily increase education funding through 2022, giving school districts with higher numbers of low-income students, English-learners, foster youth and homeless children more money and control over how to spend it.

But despite the cushion of financial support, school districts across the state, including San Diego Unified, are preparing to make big budget cuts to stay afloat.

Jason Willis and Kelsey Krausen, education researchers at WestEd, say the rising cost of pensions, declining enrollment and increased special education costs are some of the reasons why school districts are being forced to cut back. They joined the Good Schools for All podcast to discuss their recent study.

“While the state of California has made significant strides over the last four or five years to make investments in K-12 education … it’s making it more and more difficult for school districts to continue to stay focused on investments that will enhance the education of kids,” Willis said.

In the first part of the podcast, hosts Laura Kohn and Scott Lewis go over San Diego Unified’s pitch for a new $3.5 billion bond. If approved, the measure will be the school district’s third multi-billion bond in 10 years.

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