BHEF Annual Campaign to Support Public Education in Beverly Hills
It’s no secret, the definition and scope of public education in California has been a moving target for the past four decades. Documentary films like From First to Worst and Waiting for Superman have continually sounded the alarm about the dramatic decline in the state of public education in the United States and California. Up until the late 1970’s, California schools were ranked among the best in the nation. Today, we rank extremely close to the bottom. And, it’s also no secret how we got here – California’s systemic disinvestment in public education.
The financial crisis that faces the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) today, however, is unparalleled. Over the next three years, BHUSD is projected to face an approximate $3.5 million shortfall within its annual operating budget. This trend must be reversed and underscores the need for all parents, citizens, businesses, and property owners in Beverly Hills to take action. The stakes are high for all, especially our students, if we do not act now! The financial emergency facing our District can no longer be called a “one time only event.” This is the new normal.
The current actual cost to educate a student in Beverly Hills, with a robust education that reaches beyond the core requirements, is approximately $11,000 per student, per year. The State of California currently provides approximately $6,200 per student.
The District’s remaining funding comes from a combination of Federal Funding, State Categorical Restricted Funding, the City of Beverly Hills (in a Joint Powers Agreement), the PTAs, and BHEF. This brings us to approximately 90% of total per student costs, or $10,000 per student, per year.
In other words, we are still $1,000 short per student, per year. This would maintain the quality education that our students are currently receiving but does not include funding for our community’s desire to grow additional academic and extra-curricular programs.
The BHUSD at a GlanceHowever, there is excellent news about our schools. The Beverly Hills Schools continue to receive many state and national awards for outstanding and innovative programs; each of the five schools is recognized by the state as a Distinguished School. Last year, BHUSD ranked 18th out of 1,000 California School Districts with regard to its Academic Performance Ranking. There is room to grow, however – as almost all of the Districts ahead of us have robust Education Foundations and are able to vigorously support their own State and Federal funding. We can only grow with the help of you – our parents and friends – and your increased private financial support for public education.