To: Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Governor Jerry Brown
From: Austen Sandoval
Re: Sacramento City Unified School District
California’s significant changes in educational policy have potentially been a boon for the city of Sacramento’s ~47,000 students. However, a gap remains between the reforms themselves and ensuring that education providers have the necessary resources in order for the consequences of these reforms to be realized.
The city of Sacramento’s K-12 public education system, as of 2017, consists of 46,815 students across 82 different schools. The district employs 2,210 teachers with an average tenure of 13 years and has a total budget of ~$498 million (Ed-Data.org). There are 3 key issues:
· Budget shortfall – In June of 2018 the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) adopted a budget that fell $24 million dollars short of the funding budgeted for by Jorge Aguilar, the superintendent of the SCUSD. Governor Jerry Brown has allocated an extra $3.9 billion in state funding for local school districts, however, this increase provides almost no benefit to the SCUSD. For example, the state of California mandates that the SCUSD pay ~$50 million towards their employee pension fund this year, which surpasses the SCUSD’s state funding by $3 million dollars. Further, the SCUSD has always offered full family health benefits to its employees, which has contributed to an unfunded medical benefit liability of $619 million. Another key contributing factor, is the SCUSD’s pattern of spending one-time California state capital infusions on recurring costs, thus, normalizing overspending (Gonzalez, 2018). All of these factors have contributed to a lack of necessary teachers and teaching resources to properly educate the youth of Sacramento (Aguilar, 2018).
· Inequities for students of color and low-income students – There are large gaps in educational opportunities for students of color and low-income students in the SCUSD. Below is a table outlining the statistics (For example, 28.0% of white students are enrolled in a school that scores in the top 20.0% of citywide mathematics scores):
As shown above, white students are 7.0% more likely to attend a top mathematics school and 23% more likely to attend a top reading school than black students. Also, Non-FRL students are 22.0% more likely to attend a top mathematics school and 35.0% more likely to attend a top reading school. Further, there is a 7.0% proficiency gap in mathematics and an 8.0% proficiency gap in reading for FRL students compared to non-FRL students. (DeArmond, Denice, Gross, Hernandez and Jochim, 2015).
· Lack of college placement – There is a severe disparity between the percentage of high school graduates that the SCUSD produces and the amount of students taking steps to enroll in universities. In the SCUSD 76.0% of high school students graduate every year, however, only 6.0% of 11th and 12th grade students are taking the SAT/ACT each year. Further, only 4.0% of...