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Study: CA Schools In Poor Areas Receive Less Money From Their Districts

California Education

First Posted: 05/27/10 01:49 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:35 PM ET

This story comes courtesy of California Watch

By Corey G. Johnson

California schools in high-poverty areas systemically receive less money from their school districts than campuses in better off areas, according to study by the Center for American Progress.

Aided by data made available due to the 2009 federal stimulus, researchers found a 10-percent increase in the rate of student poverty in a California public school generally meant a $411 drop in average teacher salary.

In Los Angeles Unified School District, teachers at high-poverty elementary schools make $954 less than those whose students come from more affluent backgrounds. At San Diego Unified, the salary gap is $6,766, a difference of $417 per student. At Long Beach Unified, the difference is $11,270 or $694 per student, according to the study.

The study says teacher experience is at the root of the matter.

First, teacher salary constitutes the largest category of school expenditures. Second, teacher salary increases in real terms with additional years of experience, on average. Third, traditional transfer policies privilege seniority.

A teacher's ability to transfer as desired between two district schools increases with experience ... Teachers, not unlike other kinds of workers, prefer to work at sites where their jobs are perceptibly easier, holding all else equal. This preference does not favor schools serving concentrations of low-income children.

For more info, see the report called: Comparable, Schmomparable: Evidence of Inequity in the Allocation of Funds for Teacher Salary Within California's Public School Districts.

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