Page One

School funding starts at state level

John Selawsky
Saturday September 21, 2002

To the Editor: 

On May 8, Berkeley, Oakland, Albany and other communities led and participated in a spirited rally and lobbying effort in Sacramento on behalf of our beleaguered public schools. School board members from Berkeley and Oakland joined with community members to get busloads of parents, teachers, students, and community activists to the state capital. 

I believe it is important to advocate for and lobby on behalf of public school funding on a regular basis in Sacramento. Most of a local school district’s funding begins in Sacramento, and almost all of the funding decisions that are made on the local level are actually defined by the level of state funding in any given fiscal year. California, as most of you know, has allocated far too little to our public schools for over 20 years now. Berkeley, with its uncommon community support for public education, has supplemented this inadequate state funding with local bonds and parcel taxes, starting in 1986 with the first Berkeley Public Schools Educational Excellence Project measure, to help alleviate this serious historical underfunding of our schools. 

I have the names and e-mail addresses of dozens of Berkeley residents who participated in last May’s event. I also have the names of additional people who expressed interest in continuing a presence in Sacramento at a community meeting I held on June 5. I intend to hold other community meetings this school year, at least in part to organize and get people involved in lobbying efforts in Sacramento. In my view, it is important that we start a regular, ongoing lobbying effort in Sacramento early in the budget process. 

Please contact me at or 848-0305 to add your name to those interested in lobbying efforts in Sacramento. Expect a notice of a meeting or meetings to begin sometime in late October. 


John Selawsky 

Berkeley School Board director