Education Funding

A Kinder, Gentler Schwarzenegger?

By Linda Jacobson — May 15, 2007 2 min read

Is a bipartisan wind blowing in the debate over California’s “broken” school finance and governance systems?

Reiterating his plans to make 2008 the “year of education” in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he intends to seek input from both Democrats and his fellow Republicans on how to repair the way the state pays for and governs its schools.

“I will get everyone together—from the ACLU all the way on the left to the Hoover Institution all the way on the right,” he said May 4 to the members of the Education Writers Association, gathered in Los Angeles for their annual meeting.

Gov. Schwarzenegger’s comments came less than two months after he declared that recent studies calling for an education overhaul illustrate “how broken the system is.” (“California’s Schooling Is ‘Broken’,” March 21, 2007.)

But he was emphatic in telling the education reporters that he would not tinker with Proposition 13, a 1978 tax-limitation measure that significantly reduced the amount of property-tax revenue available for school districts.

The governor has taken a bipartisan approach to a health-care proposal that he is pushing. He said that when he presents his vision for education reform in his State of the State address next January, he doesn’t want “to be shot down.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger said his past efforts at trying the confrontational approach weren’t successful.

Two years ago, he took on the state teachers’ union through a series of ballot initiatives that, among other provisions, would have increased the time it takes for a teacher to earn tenure and given state leaders more flexibility in applying the education funding formula. The California Teachers Association fought back and defeated the measures. (“Foes Seek Cooperation After Calif. Showdown,” Nov. 16, 2005.)

The package of research studies released in March concluded that even more money won’t improve student achievement in California if policymakers don’t first address a complicated system that includes multiple streams of targeted funding, along with burdensome regulations for local schools.

“We don’t even know who is in charge of education in this state,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said, listing the legislature, the state schools superintendent, local superintendents, and other positions. “It is a dysfunctional system.”

If the system is not fixed, he said, the legislature could increase funding and the money “would never get to the classroom.”

See Also

See other stories on education issues in California. See data on California’s public school system.

A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2007 edition of Education Week


School & District Management Live Event EdWeek Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images
Education Funding Opinion What Ed. Leaders Can Learn From a Wildfire About Spending $129 Billion in Federal Funds
There are five entrenched routines that leaders should reject to forge a better path forward after the pandemic.
Kristen McQuillan
4 min read
Firefighters fighting fire
Education Funding Opinion Does Place-Based Giving Make It Harder for Funders to Get Reliable Feedback?
Big donors can be lulled into underestimating the financial, political, and information constraints of place-based philanthropy.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty