01.05.09: CTA Submits Public School Investment and Accountability Act
By David Walrath
The Public School Investment and Accountability Act
The California Teachers Association has submitted the Public School Investment and Accountability Act to the Attorney General. They hope to qualify the initiative for a 2009 election.
The Public School Investment and Accountability Act is a 1-cent sales tax that will generate new, ongoing resources to local school districts and community colleges.
It generates $5 billion to $6 billion annually (between $740 to $890 per K-12 ADA). These funds are independent of Proposition 98 funding. Eighty-nine percent of funds go to K-12 schools, and 11 percent to community colleges. Funds will be distributed to school districts based on student average daily attendance (excluding ROP and Adult Education).
The new funds are solely for instructional and student improvement purposes and can only be used for the following in K-12 schools:
- Reducing class sizes in all grades beyond levels provided under current state programs.
- Providing all students the opportunity for essential programs like art, music, career technical and vocational education.
- Hiring additional school counselors, librarians and nurses.
- Providing instructional supplies and equipment.
- Providing quality staff training that is designed and implemented by teachers.
- Creating safe and secure learning environments for students and staff.
- Increasing salaries for certificated and classified staff.
- Prohibits money generated by the Act for school administrative costs.
Eleven percent of the funds goes to community colleges and can be spent on:
Providing instructional supplies, equipment, material and services.
Providing individual assessment and counseling.
Faculty development training.
Increasing salaries for faculty and counseling staff.
California schools must become more efficient and transparent in spending taxpayer dollars. The Act:
• Prohibits the Legislature and the Governor from taking, cutting or diverting the funds away from education.
• Requires the State Controller to provide for an annual, independent financial audit of the Public School Investment and Accountability Fund to ensure compliance with the Act.
• Requires local school districts to verify funds have been spent as required by the Act.
• Requires audit results to be posted for the public to review on the California Department of Education website as well as on local school district websites.
• Authorizes the California Attorney General to seek civil or criminal penalties for any misuse of funds.