Local Revenues for Schools: Limits and Options in California
With K-12 schools representing the single largest expenditure in the state budget, education funding has been a central issue throughout the chaos that has recently characterized California's budget process.
School districts throughout California have endured deep cuts in state funding, and more cuts are looming. But state law severely limits the revenue-raising authority of school districts and local communities. At the same time, the results of local bond and parcel tax elections indicate that Californians want better funding for their local schools and are willing to tax themselves to achieve that.
Ultimately, the state cannot fix its fiscal woes without addressing funding for public education and a discussion about local revenue options ought to be part of that process.
This 8-page report provides background on California school districts' current options for raising their own revenues and describes some of the ongoing discussions about ways to allow communities to raise more funds for their schools.
- Locally generated revenues are a very small portion of school funding, and the amounts vary dramatically by community.
- A lawsuit concerned with funding inequities and an initiative aimed at controlling property tax increases in large part created today's state-controlled school finance system.
- Diverse stakeholders are discussing ways to allow communities to raise more funds for their schools, including changes to Proposition 13.
- Local revenue options should be part of larger discussions about how to fix the state's budget process.
EdSource thanks Full Circle Fund for supporting the production and dissemination of this report.