The Encino Chamber recently honored its 25th Annual Teacher of the Year. I’ve chaired this event, and you know what our teachers of the year “win”? A cart of classroom supplies like markers, paper and paper towels. Things they pay for from their own pockets because of the funding crisis in our local schools.
I am a businessman. Specifically, I am an analyst who assesses the value of organizations and forecasts trends. I’ve analyzed Measure EE. And I am voting yes because it will deliver value for every community within the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Decades of underinvestment have made it so our state, the fifth-largest economy in the world, is 44th in the United States in per-pupil funding. This gap is at the heart of Measure EE. Either we correct this imbalance by adding resources to our neighborhood schools or this imbalance will correct itself through economic decline.
By law, Measure EE funds would be used to lower class sizes and help neighborhood schools retain and attract quality teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians, support staff and principals. It will invest in quality academic programs in math, science, career education and vocational education. It’s about preparing students for college and a career in a competitive economy. That’s good for all of us.
Measure EE has strict accountability. By law, all Measure EE funds would be deposited into a separate account and used only for voter-approved purposes. Every dollar is for local schools — funds cannot be taken by the state or federal government. State law requires annual public reports and Measure EE additionally requires annual audits by an independent firm.
Measure EE was placed on the ballot by a unanimous vote of the LAUSD Board. The measure earned a unanimous vote from the Los Angeles City Council. It’s endorsed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Controller Wendy Greuel, a lifelong Valley resident and advocate. It’s endorsed by LAUSD teachers and support staff. Advocates of both charter and regular LAUSD schools support Measure EE.
That says something.
This consensus exists because there is no way around the need for Measure EE. LAUSD is being reformed, and Superintendent Austin Beutner, a career business executive, is a big part of that (he also supports Measure EE). Graduation rates are up. The district is working collaboratively, for example partnering with the city and the Community College District to increase college enrollment.
But the funding status quo is simply unsustainable.