Target: California State Legislature
Goal: Revise educational budget to better provide for needy students in overlooked districts
Recently, the California State Legislature passed a budget that allots more money to school districts where there are larger percentages of needy students. In order to receive this additional funding, school districts must have at least 55 percent of their students in need. This creates a problem—large numbers of needy students reside in districts where they do not make up at least 55 percent of the student population, and thus will not receive additional funding though they need the support badly.
In the Torrance Unified School District, for example, disadvantaged students make up 37 percent of the student population—a large number, but not large enough to receive additional state funding to provide for these students’ needs. Though two students may have similar needs, the student that attends a school in Torrance receives a $1,795 supplement while the one who attends school in the Centinela Valley Union School District receives $4,188. The only difference is in the percentage of needy students in the district.
Needy students who constitute only a small percentage of their school district population are called “invisible students,” and sources estimate their number across the state to be around 645,000. It may be a better idea to allot funds based on students’ circumstances rather than the percentage of needy students in a district, so that students who need significant support but who reside in a less needy district will not be overlooked. Alternately, the threshold can be lowered so that school districts whose needy student percentage falls just below the line will not have to suffer from a lack of resources.
By signing this petition you can help urge the California State Legislature to revise its educational budget in the future to serve the needs of students more effectively.
Dear California State Legislature,
I recently learned about a budget passed that would allot more educational funds to school districts where needy students make up 55 percent or more of the district population. While I do applaud you for helping solve the problem of disadvantaged students, I’d like to remind you not to forget about our “invisible students”—those who need significant support but who are too few in number in their districts to receive attention.
Sources say that there are around 645,000 such children in the state, and I believe we need to work harder to identify these students and to provide for them regardless of their districts’ demography.
I would like to ask you to revise your budget in the future to better provide for these invisible children just as you have thoughtfully provided for their counterparts in clearly needy districts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The 216 via Wikimedia Commons