Administrators of the New Jerusalem School District in south San Joaquin County are unhappy that the state has dramatically reduced how much money they will get from the state this year. We’re more unhappy about the exorbitant $8.7 million the combination traditional-charter district received last year.
As education writer Nan Austin reported in Sunday’s Bee, the district received more than half a million dollars for each of its 16 kindergarteners in 2012-13. To be fair, the district spent some of that money on its hundreds of charter students, for things like busing.
But the district capitalized on a quirk in the state funding formula and now has the audacity to complain that it wasn’t notified before the start of this school year that its allocation will be reduced to $750,000 this year, which works out to more than $32,600 per student for its 23 kindergarteners this year. Typically, public schools get $5,000 to $6,000 per student in state funding.
Superintendent David Thoming said they realized last year’s grand funding was not likely to last. With that in mind, we would boldly suggest that the district use the $3 million it held in reserve from last year’s windfall to meet the staffing and other obligations it made for this year. And for future years’ budgets, the district should, to borrow from contemporary slang, get real.