|Huck/Konopacki Labor Cartoons|
Public education implies that all children will be educated without additional costs to the parents. Of course for this to work, everyone must contribute a little through their taxes, whether or not they have kids.
Prior to the anti-tax revolt of the late 70s and 80s and the budget crises of the past several years, the overwhelming bulk of public education financing came from taxes. However, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, K-12 foundations, PTAs, booster clubs and other groups brought an additional $1.3 billion to California schools in 2007, up from $70 million in 1989.
Charitable fundraising has historically been used for “extras” like supplies and equipment. California Watch says that private donations are now being used to simply to keep schools open by preventing teacher layoffs, hiring librarians, and preserving music and foreign-language classes. Additionally, teachers and parents are being asked more and more to fund clubs, band, theater and other programs through donations and student fundraising activities.
The growing reliance on private donations is not simply shift in how schools are funded. Because affluent schools are able to raise considerably more money (sometimes by several orders of magnitude) than lower income schools, this trend has the potential to vastly increase the existing gap in spending and quality between schools.