The Burning Questions: Since Education funding is provided directly by the taxpayer, are we truly getting our money’s worth in the outcome? And: What are we unwilling to change in the way our money is spent and accounted for in the course of “improving Education”?
Put that way, these are uncomfortable questions. Often people have no desire to take a look at what they are unwilling to change. But it’s those stubborn sticking points that prevent us from adopting and moving forward…
My goal is to ensure that in both our words and our actions, our Education funding is used for maximum student success and with respect for the taxpayer who’s providing the funds.
Yes, it is thoroughly possible to greatly improve our students’ success, and here’s the best part: We do not even need to raise taxes!
Bob Brunton’s Education Background: I served 12 years as an elected member of the Ohlone Community College Board of Trustees. I am a proud parent whose children attended local schools. I have been a local business owner for over 30 years, and have hired many graduates straight from our schools.
California’s Education Landscape: Education accounts for California’s largest budget area. About 54% of the entire budget is allocated to Education. But we are frankly not getting our money’s worth. Meanwhile, the funding of our Education system is needlessly overcomplicated. Simultaneously, we find ourselves both overspending on Education and underinvesting in Education.
California has 5 academic institutions and over 1,000 school districts. They do not work well together, and our students and taxpayers are the ones who suffer the consequences. Flat out: The funding of our schools is uneven and unfair.
Education has become far too political. Instead of making student learning our top priority, we too often value the bureaucrats at the expense of the students and taxpayers.
Here’s the good news, though: The problems in California’s Education system are fixable. We have many great people working in our schools and teaching our students. The problem is the abundance of people and groups that are making money off the schools. This wasteful spending takes away from the core, fundamental goals of providing a quality Education at an affordable price.
The Bob Brunton Plan
Goal #1: All students should have access to quality and safe Education. In the meantime, the quality of Education should not be totally dependent on the income of the parents. It is wrong that many students are essentially trapped in poor schools. It is wrong that many students are going to school hours away from where their parents live or work. For many reasons, mainly safety, students should be able to go to school either near their homes or near their parents’ work location. I will be rewriting and updating legislation to correct this problem.
Goal #2: Help college students graduate as quickly as possible and without as much debt. One potential fix is to adopt Common Course Numbering; this works well in other states. As an example, a College Level Class such as English 101 would be available to students at any Community College, State College, University, or Accredited School. Currently, many students are limited to taking classes at their primary schools. Common Course Numbering would allow students to graduate quicker and with less debt.
Goal #3: Education is a lifelong endeavor, based upon a combination of book learning and practical career and technical education. I will introduce legislation that will strongly encourage our colleges to coordinate better so that our students will have better outcomes and a greater amount of choices.
Goal #4: Currently, there are wide discrepancies between school districts and funding, quality of facilities, quality of programs, types of programs, and so on. I will thus be rewriting and updating legislation to simplify and equalize funding. Also included in the updated legislation will be a greater, renewed emphasis on taxpayer respect and accountability.
Goal #5: Speaking of taxpayer respect, I intend to make sure of it. My legislation will require firm budgetary standards and limitations, among them setting aside 2% per year for building replacements and limiting budget allotments for payroll, pensions, and benefits.