Our View: Cut elsewhere to spare teachers' jobs
Gov. Jerry Brown and Molly Munger differ on what is best for California's K-12 public schools. But the authors of Propositions 30 and 38, respectively, agree that the state's nearly 1,000 school districts can ill-afford to let go any more teachers.
The governor suggests that if California voters approve his ballot measure, a $50 billion tax hike over seven years, there will be no more teacher layoffs.
Munger, the wealthy philanthropreneuress, promises that passage of her measure, a $120 billion tax hike over 12 years, would not only forestall more teacher layoffs, it also would bring back some, if not all, of the 32,000 teachers cut the past three years.
Parents of California's 6.2 million K-12 students are no doubt tempted to back either measure, or perhaps both.
But there's an alternative that neither Brown nor Munger talk about, which would enable the state to maintain the ranks of public school teachers without socking Californians with billions of dollars in new taxes: Reduce the number of public school administrators and nonteaching staff and use the savings to retain classroom teachers.
Indeed, a new report by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice notes that the nation's public education system has experienced an exponential growth in employment over the decades, and that virtually all 50 states — including California — saw "bloat."