Funding Gap

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An interesting new bill on the table in California seeks to ensure greater funding equity for schools within the same school district. State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) wants more transparency given to the funding gap for what schools in the same district receive from their central offices to pay teachers--a gap that is, of course, strongly correlated with the schools' relative poverty level, since more experienced and highly paid teachers gravitate to a district's more affluent schools. This disparity--which exists in nearly every school district in the United States--has been particularly well documented for California districts by Ed Trust-West in a recent report ["Fix This Funding Gap", TQB March 11th, 2005,] bill would require districts to report how much each school in the district is actually receiving for teacher salaries, an improvement on the usual practice of simply reporting the district's average per-teacher expenditure. Simitian told the San Jose Mercury News that the new reporting requirements would lead to "what may be an uncomfortable conversation. But it's a conversation we have to have if we're going to do right by every kid in the state."