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Help us fix the remaining inequity in school funding

How we arrived at our estimates

Each year, the California Department of Education publishes its First Principal Apportionment (familiarly, the P-1) showing the Local Control Funding Formula Snapshot for all Local Education Authorities (school districts and independent charters) in the state.  Taking the LCFF Target Funding shown in the 2017-18 P1, and applying the MIT Living Wage index increments to districts in those counties above the state average, yielded a combined excess economic stress level of $1.1B.  

That is to say that, this year, districts in those ten counties were absorbing $1.1B of stress above that experienced by the districts in the state as a whole.  This stress may be absorbed by:

  • parents (longer distances to school, school closures, increased supply or donation requests),
  • children (bigger classes, more outside tutoring, less experienced teachers, crumbling facilities),
  • teachers (longer commutes, less administrative support, increasingly buying supplies out-of-pocket, moving for a new job, increasing special ed concentrations as charters proliferate),
  • administrators (less support personnel, more reporting to do for LCAP than was required in 2007 with fewer available resources, criticism from dissatisfied parents), and
  • communities (low-income parents moving because there are no supports and longer distances to larger schools, increased parcel taxes or donation requests).

Interestingly, of the $1.1B, $420 million is already available as ‘excess ERAF’ in San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin and Santa Clara Counties.  Just as increased economic activity in those counties has pushed housing prices up, so have property taxes risen. San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo would STILL have $203 million left over (totally our $623 million ERAF mentioned earlier) to distribute to other county needs, including schools.

If these ten districts were equitably funded, under $700M would need to be funded by the General Fund.  Altogether, this shortfall is less than 2% of total 2017 LCFF Target Funding.

Perhaps even more interesting, if you review the districts that would receive funding and the amounts they’d receive, is the fact that LCFF’s needs-based funding works.  Sadly, this also means that the most disadvantaged schools are the hardest hit by failure to reflect regional costs.

 

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