How To Help Poor And Minority Students In Sacramento

This is the most recent demographic breakdown of pupils attending the Sacramento City Unified School District:

82 percent non-White and 70 percent socioeconomically disadvantaged, last year the district authorized teacher layoffs to help address a pre-COVID deficit that would not exist but for subsidies provided to retired employees at an annual expense of $50 million, $33 million paid in cash and the balance added to debt. The subsidies (known as “OPEB,” for “Other Post Employment Benefits”) are in addition to pensions and cover 100 percent of retiree health care benefit costs:

The subsidies are unnecessary. That’s because retirees age 65 and over have access to Medicare and retirees under age 65 earning less than $75,000 per year are entitled to subsidies from the state and federal governments through Covered California, including new state subsidies the legislature enacted into law last year:

By eliminating OPEB, the district could extinguish $500 million in debt and save more than $30 million in annual cash, providing permanent savings that could not only avoid layoffs but also provide wage increases over time. The primary beneficiaries would be active teachers and disadvantaged students of color.

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Originally posted on Medium, 7/1/20.