Skip to comments.CA: Documentary details schools collapse ( PBS/The Merrow Report - Prop 13 Hit Piece?)
Posted on 02/05/2004 9:32:50 PM PST by NormsRevengeEdited on 04/13/2004 2:49:34 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
If the decrepit conditions of some California public schools make you wonder how the Golden State lost its sheen, check out a PBS documentary tonight about the 30-year downfall of education in the richest state in the union.
In the hour-long documentary, award-winning TV journalist John Merrow traces the decline back to the early 1970s, when the California Supreme Court ruled in the Serrano v. Priest case that the state's system of funding schools with local property taxes was unconstitutional. Then voters overwhelmingly passed Prop. 13, which froze property taxes on homes and businesses and protected against new local taxes.
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
Or look online at
California on the way back up
Why a lawsuit will make California schools better.
A Political Solution
A Return to Traditional Educational Methods
A Question of Race
|Dr. Michael Kirst is a professor of education, business administration and political science at Stanford University.||Catherine Lhamon is an Attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, where she specializes in race-based civil rights cases and education reform.||Dr. James Guthrie is a Professor of Public Policy and Education at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and Director of the Peabody Center for Education Policy||Ron Unz spearheaded campaigns in California, Arizona, Colorado and Massachussetts to dismantle bilingual education programs.||Peter Schrag is the former editorial-page editor of the Sacramento Bee and writes frequently about education.|
and it don't =o)
Weve chosen mediocre public service, and more private money. Weve decided not to tax ourselves as much. Weve basically turned our back on schools. It's a choice we made within our state. John Mockler, First to Worst
Passed by 65% of voters in 1978, Proposition 13 is a constitutional amendment that reduced property tax rates by 57% and resulted in a dramatic reduction in the amount of local property tax revenue available for cities, counties, and especially for schools. Prop 13 rolled back property assessments to their 1976 values and limited property taxes to 1% of their assessed value. It also limited property valuation to 2% per year unless the property was sold. In addition, Proposition 13 required that all state tax rate increases be approved by a two-thirds vote of the legislature and that local tax rates also have to be approved by a 2/3s vote of the people. KEVIN STARR on Proposition 13
Proposition 13 was dubbed a political earthquake when it passed and later was viewed as the first shot of the 1980s Reagan Revolution. Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado and Florida all went on to copy key provisions of the Proposition 13, while voters in 18 other states passed nearly 40 statewide tax-limiting measures.
The detrimental consequence of Proposition 13 isnt so much money, as how it changed the governance structure of California's education system. Proposition 13 centralized decision making. It changed California from a local system of local schools, to a state system. James Guthrie, First to Worst
Prop 13 resulted in a cut in local property tax revenue of $6 Billion. Schools districts lost, on average, half their property tax revenue. In response, the state passed a set of bailout bills and, using a surplus of $5 billion, replaced much - but not all - of the funds the schools had lost. Overall, school revenues decreased by up to 15% in wealthy districts and by 9% in lower income districts. The overall result for California schools was that fiscal control moved from local communities to the state.
It's almost the third rail of California politics because it is perceived as protecting property owners so much. James Guthrie, First to Worst
Today, Proposition 13 faces a record number of proposals to weaken it, most rooted in a successful effort in 2000 (Proposition 39) to overturn the initiative's two-thirds super majority requirement to issue bonds. Now legislators are trying to eliminate the super majority for raising sales taxes and to re-jigger some property-tax rules.
However, Proposition 13 remains popular. Nearly 60 percent of adults and 65 percent of homeowners say it has been "mostly a good thing for California," according to a February survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. Among Republicans, support for Proposition 13 tops 76 percent.
Proposition 98 (1988)
This constitutional amendment, approved in November 1988, guarantees a minimum funding level from state and property taxes for California public schools and junior colleges. Proposition 98 also requires each school to prepare and publicize an annual School Accountability Report Card (SARC) that covers at least 13 required topics, including test scores, dropout rates, and teacher qualifications. A two-thirds vote of the Legislature and a signature from the governor are required to suspend Proposition 98 for a year.
Proposition 39 (2000)
"In the last three years, this state and the people of California have voted for school bonds totaling $26 billion dollars." John Mockler, First to Worst
Proposition 39 changed the requirements for passing a school construction bond that had been in place since the passing of proposition 13. The proposition, which passed by a majority vote of 53%, authorized bonds for the repair, construction or replacement of school facilities and classrooms, if approved by a 55% local vote. Before Proposition 39 passed, a 2/3s majority vote had been necessary to pass school construction bonds. This super-majority requirement had significantly slowed the building of new schools to meet the tremendous increases in the California student population as a result largely of immigration.
I was going to post... but tough to excerpt into 100 meaningful words.