Friday, March 20, 2009

School Budget Cuts

I just finished reading a Steve Lopez column about LAUSD budget cuts, and it's pretty grim. Schools are facing serious program cuts (reading specialists, enrichment programs, p.e. teachers, etc.), and parents are being asked to open their wallets.

In upper middle class communities, school foundations, endowments (yes, some public elementary schools have endowments--crazy, huh?), large fundraisers, and major giving campaigns can make up the difference. And some schools are forgoing the niceties (no more silent auctions or big ticket raffles) and just asking parents for a set amount. (In the case of Ivanhoe Elementary, mentioned in the Lopez column, it's $1000 per child.) Schools in wealthier areas will likely be okay because parents have the time to be involved and the money to pony up, but schools in lower-income areas will really suffer. The Lopez column says that needier schools will get more money to make up for their inability to fundraise, but I doubt they'll get $1000 per child.

How will these budget cuts affect my kids? Well, they won't really. We aren't in LAUSD (we're in Glendale stinkin' Unified by geography, but we're at a charter school by choice), but public schools statewide will feel the pinch. Our charter school will probably see funding cut, and our instructional funds might be reduced (we currently get $1800/year/child), but even if they were cut in half (they won't be), we'd be fine. I just ordered about $900 in curriculum for next year (I had to spend the rest of this year's funds--use it or lose it), and it was work spending even that much. I bought ALOT, and it's really good stuff.

It's amazing how well you can educate your child with very little money. Which really means that it's amazing how much education money is spent not educating (less than 60% of LAUSD's budget is spent on teachers). Of course, no one pays me (yeah, yeah, knowing that my child REALLY understands long division should be payment enough). And I can't use our instructional funds to maintain my facility (my run-down house). I know not everyone can afford to homeschool (live on one income). BUT, if you can swing it, AND if you can tolerate it, you can give your kids a top-notch education without the stress of the drop-off lane, the headaches of homework, or the injustice felt when you see "toilet paper" on the school supplies list.


  1. We actually got a letter from GUSD saying that there won't be any cuts nor will they be asking for money from parents. GUSD appropriately budgeted and has a rainy day fund they are pulling from. I was really impressed.

  2. I think Glendale knows that the reputation of its schools draws a lot of families to the city and they don't want to jeopardize that reputation. They must be borrowing from Peter to pay Paul because the city as a whole is having financial problems (lower property tax and sales tax revenue).