“Pay more, get less” is the very antithesis of value, yet it aptly describes our state’s pathetic provision of education services.
Citizens should buckle-up and prepare to pay ever-more in parcel, property, income and sales taxes, while simultaneously suffering death by a thousand cuts to education service levels.
It seems logically inconsistent that California is banking record tax revenues, yet our schools are suffering cuts a full decade into a lengthy economic expansion. How is this possible?
The culprit, Assembly Bill 1469, was not mentioned once in recent IJ articles, “Union denounces Larkspur-Corte Madera School District cuts” and “Tam district OKs almost $3 million in budget cuts.”
AB 1469 passed in 2014 and more than doubles school districts’ required contributions to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), which is massively underfunded. These mandated employer contributions ramp from 8.25 percent in 2014 to 19.1 percent in 2020 and remain at that elevated level for nearly three decades.
Even more troubling is the assumption that stock and other investment markets earn at least 7 percent annually. If not, the budget situation will go from dire to dystopian — the cuts will truly be savage in the next recession.
Smart doctors diagnose and treat underlying diseases, not just obvious symptoms.
Budget cuts are the symptom, underfunded pensions are the disease and aggressive actuarial accounting is the vector.
Address the disease or the symptoms will never resolve.