Financial Accountability and Governmental Spending

"California’s K-12 Spending Challenge: Just the Facts, Ma’am" 
By Carl Brodt, Fox and Hounds, November 5, 2012
California’s K-12 per student spending fell 16% in real terms from the pre-recession peak in FY 2007-08 to FY 2011-12—a drop which rippled down into cutbacks affecting classroom staffing and student services. This trend toward significantly lower K-12 per student spending will not continue into this fiscal year even if voters reject Proposition 30's and 38's tax increases designed to restore some of the spending... (34 kb)

By Lance T. Izumi, Orange County Register, October 30, 2012
As Gov. Jerry Brown scurries around the state to save Proposition 30, his ballot measure to increase state sales and income taxes, voters are expressing skepticism that the tax revenues raised by the initiative will be spent wisely. They have reason to worry because Prop. 30 includes no reform of wasteful, inefficient and ineffective government programs, policies or practices.... (34 kb)

"Improving public schools depends more on reform than money" 
By Carl Brodt and Alan Bonsteel,Los Angeles Daily News, October 27, 2012
California‘s November ballot has two measures - the Brown Initiative, Proposition 30, and the Munger Initiative, Proposition 38 - with the same concept: Raising taxes for our public schools to compensate for the cutbacks during the recession. But the real question is "Why are there no school reform issues on the ballot?"... (35 kb)

"The Reality of School District Spending" 
by Alan Bonsteel, MD, redefinED, November 9, 2011
In the last decade, the school choice movement has succeeded in the unmasking of falsifications of dropout rates by school districts and the loss of almost one-third of our children before graduating from high school. The contrast with the far lower dropout rates in schools of choice is now the most powerful weapon in the armory of the school choice movement. However, there remains another falsification that is also crucially important to the school choice battle, and that is the phony per-student spending rates that districts release.

"California Focus: Spending more, getting less" 
By Alan Bonsteel, Orange County Register, August 29, 2007
The 51-day-late state budget signed Aug. 24 by Gov. Schwarzenegger appropriates a record $11,584 per student in grades K-12. (7.99 kb)

"Dropout stats not only phony ones Ignore the propaganda: Per-student state education funding at all-time high" 
By Alan Bonsteel, Orange County Register, May 27, 2005
In April, the Harvard Integration Project blasted the California Department of Education's falsification of our high school graduation rates, a report that was on the front pages of almost all of our largest daily newspapers.. (15.4 kb)

"'Cutbacks' aren't schools' problem"
By Alan Bonsteel and Carl Brodt Los Angeles Daily News, May 8, 2004
It's hard to pick up a newspaper these days without reading stories about cutbacks in our public schools. Almost everywhere, art and music, sports, counselors and librarians are being slashed. In four years, the number of the state's 1,056 districts in danger of defaulting on their bills has almost quadrupled, from 15 to 57. (12 kb)

"Schools a swamp of waste"
By Carl Brodt,CMA, and Alan Bonsteel,MD Orange County Register, January 16, 2004
On March 2, Californians will vote on a $15 billion bond measure put on the ballot in a deal cut between Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Legislature. Even if the bond measure passes, we'll still need to find billions and billions in spending cuts or new taxes to paper over California's massive deficit. (190 kb)

"School spending: honesty, please"
By Alan Bonsteel Orange County Register, August 6, 2003
At long last, the Legislature has reacted to the worst fiscal crisis in the state's history by passing a desperation budget. It is full of accounting tricks, but allows us to stagger into the next fiscal year. Newspapers throughout the state have reported the latest K-12 per student spending figure, alleged to be $6,887. (104 kb)

"State Budget Favors Schools, Spending on students near record high, yet scores remain dismal "
By Alan Bonsteel and Peter Hanley Los Angeles Daily News, September 20, 2002
On Sept. 5, Gov. Gray Davis signed the state's new budget, a mere two months late. A record $24 billion tax shortfall caused by the meltdown of the high-technology stock-market bubble forced draconian cuts almost everywhere, but K-12 education remained almost untouchable. (140 kb)

By Alan Bonsteel, M.D. and Peter Hanley June 25, 2002
The ongoing budget crisis, with a record $24 billion shortfall in revenues, is leading to an unprecedented showdown around the July 1 constitutional deadline. Draconian cuts will be made almost everywhere, but one area remains untouchable: K-12 education. Because of 1988's Proposition 98, which enacted minimum levels for funding of our public schools, and California's belief that education is critical for the future, K-12 funding will remain at near-record levels. (192 kb)

"Where Does the Money Go?"
By Hon. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Congressional Record, May 8, 2001
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker’s announced policy of January 3, 2001, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. STEARNS) is recognized during morning hour debates for 5 minutes. (204 kb)

"A New Study of Public Education Spending in California"
By Hon. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), House of Representatives, May 8, 2001
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, this morning I wish to address the necessity for this House to balance its priorities and to begin to move forward its legislative agenda.

"Where Does All the Money Go?"
By Robert Holland, The School Reform News, January 1, 2001
In the wake of defeats for statewide voucher initiatives in California and Michigan, the president of the nation’s largest teachers union was quick to draw the lesson that Americans want even more money pumped into the existing structure of public education.

Where is all the money going? Bureaucracy and Overhead in California's Public Schools
by Alan Bonsteel, M.D and Carl Brodt, CMA, November 1, 2000
Per student funding in America's public schools increased by 96% in constant, inflation-adjusted dollars between 1970 and 1990. (250 kb)

"Quality Gap"  
by Carl  Brodt  California Political Review, May/June 2000
California's per pupil education spending must be increased to the national average of state education spending –so say Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin and other politicians, implying that failure to do so will prove Californians are less committed to education than taxpayers in other states. (123 kb)

"California  schools  believe their own lies"
by Alan Bonsteel and Carl Brodt Los Angeles Daily News, March 14, 2000
No excuse for  the meltdown of California's public schools has been flogged more  enthusiastically  by  the  public school establishment  than the alleged lack of money. (112 kb)

"None Dare Call It Hooey" 
by Lance T. Izumi, J.D. Capital Ideas, February, 15, 2000
Since 1994, I have been delivering a regular monthly radio commentary for KQED-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate in San Francisco. My on-air jabs at the follies of government have no doubt infuriated many, including my editor at the station, a former Democratic congressional staffer.

"How  to  pay  teachers  what  they're  worth"
by Alan Bonsteel, M.D. Orange County Register, February 6, 2000
Governor  Davis  recently  announced  his  belief  that   California  taxpayers would never be willing to pay enough in taxes to permit market-level salaries for our teachers. (7.33 kb)

"The  Myth  of   Fiscal   Accountability   at   Public   Schools"
by  Carl Brodt California Political Review, January/February 2000
SINCE  THE  School Voucher initiative in 1993, apologists for the disastrous status  quo  in  California's  K-12  education  have  argued that issuing state-funded  scholarships  to  children  trapped  in  bad public schools would not meet basic standards of fiscal accountability. (109 kb)

"A view of education spending"
by Lance Izumi, California Journal, December 1999, vol. XXX, Number 12.
Open up the newspaper and it seems that every education article contain! some obligatory comment about how California isn't spending enough on schools. For example, when Governor Gray Davis signed the state budget, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that, "Although the amount spent per pupil will rise by $274 to $6,025, state spending remains far lower than the national average of $7,583 in the 1999-2000 school year." (6.40 kb)

"California public school spending hits record high"
by Alan Bonsteel, M.D. Stockton Record, November 20, 1999
Last June, Californians were shocked to discover that the "official" California Department of Education dropout rates were phony, and that 10 times as many students were dropping out of high school as the CDE admitted to –about one-third of our children, in fact. (149 kb)

White Paper:
A  Short  Primer  on  Per  Student  Spending in California
by Lance Izumi, Carl Brodt, CMA, and Alan Bonsteel Pacific Research Institute, November 18, 1999
One of  the most  contentious  issues  in  education  is  the  debate over per-pupil spending. (41.5 kb)

Education Revolt in
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