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September 28, 2005

For More Information, Contact:
Hema Sareen Mohan at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today that he has signed SB 687, by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), a bill to increase the information that school districts share in their annual School Accountability Report Cards (SARC) about school spending per school site, including how much they spend per student and on teacher salaries. 

The new law does two things: It requires that spending per pupil be reported on a school by school basis (not just a district wide average); and it requires that the average teacher’s salary be reported on a school by school basis as well.

Currently, school districts report expenditures as a district average, making it difficult for parents, school officials, and local communities to understand how education funds are spent.   

“At the end of the day, this is all about equal opportunity,” said Simitian.  “SB 687 is designed to give parents and concerned community members precise, accurate information about school spending.  From there, communities can decide whether that money is being put to good use.” 

Recent studies have focused on the apparent preponderance of highly educated, highly experienced, and certificated teachers at some schools to the detriment of others where lower average teacher salaries reflect a preponderance of less educated, less experienced, and non-certificated teachers. 

Simitian decided to author SB 687 when Education Trust-West, an Oakland-based advocacy organization, released its report showing substantial disparities in teacher salaries between schools within the same district.

Russlyn Ali, Executive Director of Education Trust-West, said, “This marks a historic step towards honest, public reporting about where education dollars really flow.  As a result of SB 687, California becomes the first state in the nation to allow parents and community members to know what is being spent at their schools.”
“SB 687 takes an important step toward closing the achievement gap in California public schools,” said Christopher Cabaldon, President and CEO of EdVoice.  “That gap will never be closed without addressing the equitable distribution of resources and teachers.  Transparency is the key to making that happen.”

SB 687 had bipartisan support in both the Senate and the Assembly, and garnered support from many parent, community, and education organizations including EdVoice, Education Trust-West, Public Advocates Inc., the Pacific Institute for Community Organization (PICO), and Parents for Unity. 

Simitian added, “There may be perfectly good reasons to spend more on one kid in one school than another school, but these ought to be informed choices, not left to chance.  This is a discussion we have to have, and you can’t have the discussion without the information.” 

To learn more about SB 687, visit