A coalition of California education groups is backing state legislation aimed at revealing the spending inequities that often exist between high- and low-poverty schools within districts.
Drafted by Sen. Joe Simitian, a Democrat, the bill would require districts to report publicly how much they spend at each of their schools.
A recent report by the Education Trust-West, an Oakland, Calif.-based research and advocacy group that backs the measure, showed that many of the state’s largest districts spend less per teacher, on average, at their schools with the most children living in poverty than at their schools serving better-off families. (“Salary Totals Found Lower in Poor Schools,” Feb. 16, 2005.)
The reason for the gap, the report says, is that the schools with needy children tend to have the most inexperienced teachers, who earn lower salaries. Those gaps usually remain hidden, because few districts report school-by-school budgets that reflect actual spending for staff salaries at each building, supporters of the bill said at a press conference last week.