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Katherine Welch

  • published Resolution in imPACT 2019-12-03 22:14:00 -0800

    Resolution

    Resolution Against Legislative Diversions of School Property Taxes

    WHEREAS, EdWeek’s Quality Counts 2019 shows California earning an F grade for school spending --  a regional-cost adjusted $10,281 per student that is 20% lower than the national average of $12,756; and

    WHEREAS, one half of California schoolchildren are not meeting state standards in mathematics or language arts; 

    WHEREAS, the California Constitution states that, “From all state revenues there shall first be set apart the moneys to be applied by the State for support of the public school system and public institutions of higher education. (Article XVI, Sec. VIII (a)); and

    WHEREAS, in 1978 Proposition 13 passed. The proposition decreased property taxes by rolling back assessed values to their 1975 basis and restricting annual increases of assessed value of real property to an inflation factor not to exceed 2 percent per year. Schools lost 49% of their funding overnight; both schools and local services were forced to make severe cuts; and

    WHEREAS, in 1979, AB 8 was enacted to satisfy the revenue loss for cities and counties by taking 30% of what remained in schools’ local property tax funding and transferring it to local governments. Schools’ share of property tax fell from 54% to under 40% overnight; and                                                          

    WHEREAS, in 1992 and 1993, those funds were returned in that same proportion, as Educational Revenue Augmentation Funding (ERAF; Revenue & Taxation Code Sec. 97), with the proviso that they could only be distributed to state-financed districts where local property taxes fail to meet the state’s funding targets; and

    WHEREAS, in 2004, the Legislature proposed Proposition 1A to voters, which they approved, which protected ALL property tax allocations EXCEPT those for public K-14 schools dependent upon state funding; and

    WHEREAS, in 2013, the Legislature chose to take away County Office of Education property tax in excess of its LCFF Target to fund the state’s own trial court costs, rather than increasing the proportion of said property tax allocated to that county’s Special Education SELPAs (Education Code Sec. 2574); and

    WHEREAS, the Legislature has allowed the growing amount of education-allocated property tax (over half a billion dollars in 2017 and almost $900 million currently)  to be handed off to non-school entities as “excess” to educational requirements, rather than including regional costs and special education, as recommended to be part of LCFF, the “more rational, more equitable” school finance system outlined by Dr. Michael Kirst et al in the 2008 blueprint for the Local Control Funding Formula; and 

    WHEREAS, in 2019 the Legislature approved -- but the Governor vetoed -- SB 5 which would have taken $2 billion of school property tax every year for three decades to reintroduce redevelopment, putting over $50 billion of additional pressure on the Proposition 98 Minimum Guarantee, reducing the directly allocated property tax to schools (not just the county educational revenue augmentation fund) in 19 counties.

     

    NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the governing board of the NAME OF SCHOOL DISTRICT, COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION OR ORGANIZATION urges the California Legislature to commit to protecting the property taxes currently received by our public schools, to forgo any efforts to further erode such local property tax allocation to schools, to add a regional cost supplement to the Local Control Funding Formula in those high-cost counties with “excess” educational revenue augmentation funding, to increase the allocation of County Office of Education property tax to Special Education before expropriating any local tax to pay state obligations, and to work to reverse historical diversions and increase transparency of local property taxes allocated to schools.

    Adopted this      day of the month of                                in 2020. 

    Motion made by:   _________________________________________________   

    Second made by: :   _________________________________________________   

    List members voting “aye”:   _________________________________________________   

    List members voting “no”:   _________________________________________________   

    List members abstaining:       ____________________________________________________________ 

    List members not present:      ____________________________________________________________ 

    OR

    Signature of CEO/Board Chair and Board members -- contact us at Info@EducateOurState.org for more info. Thank you!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • signed Petition 2019-05-09 18:55:29 -0700

    Increase Education Funding

    It's time to bring equity to school funding!

     

    With the current public school funding formula (the LCFF) California districts in high cost of living areas that are not funded solely by their property taxes receive the same amount of money per student as districts in low cost of living areas. In some districts it costs more to live than in other parts of California - therefore it also costs more to run a school. As a result we have seen, for example, the following:

    • Teacher recruitment and retention is difficult
    • Class sizes are large and continuing to grow
    • Art, music, libraries and other "extras" are being eliminated due to budget cuts
    • Cuts are being made to transitional kindergarten 
    • The achievement gap becomes larger

    One solution to this inequitable funding situation is to revise the LCFF to include a supplement for school districts that serve students in high cost of living areas, without reducing funding for any other districts. [More information is here: https://www.educateourstate.org/impact] 

    Please sign below and support this effort! 

     

    Add signature

  • What is the ‘excess’ educational funding in San Francisco that you refer to, where did it come from?

    San Francisco is unusual in that it is both a county and a city, and contains only one school district, so it illustrates the phenomenon of “excess” school property tax well.

    In 1977, before Proposition 13, San Francisco Unified School District’s levied a property tax of 0.83% of assessed (market) value to fund its schools.  Every property paid that level of tax for SFUSD because all local levies were independent of one another. (SFUSD’s levy was low for unified districts around the state — the average was 1%.)

    Proposition 13 cut the sum of all local levies (for schools, city, and county governments) down to a total of 1%.  This reduced SFUSD’s share of the new, consolidated levy to 0.30% — just under a third of local taxes.  

    At this time, the California state general fund -- fed by income tax -- was running a huge surplus.  The Legislature was able to use it to backfill about ⅔ of the property tax losses that Proposition 13 had cost schools, cities, counties and other local districts.  So, as school property tax revenues decreased, from $4.7 billion down to $2.3 billion, state funding grew from $3.5 up to $5.6 billion, for a loss of “just” $300 million.  

    SFUSD per-pupil spending actually grew slightly, from $2,333 to $2,500 per student, with property taxes still providing 30% of total funding.  During a period of 10% annual inflation, this wasn’t great, but the property tax rolls continued to grow and enrollment dropped, as the swell of baby boomers aged out of the system.   

    The following year, 15 months after Proposition 13, the Legislature decided to ease itself out of the roll of backfilling city and county losses.  The Legislature directed county controllers across the state to take away educational property tax allocations worth over $507 million (1979 dollars) — about 20% of the property tax still left in education — and give it to city and county governments.

    In San Francisco, this meant that SFUSD’s share of total property tax revenues fell from 30% down to 8.5%, where it sits today.  In Los Angeles and Alameda counties, the allocation to education shrank to 23%. Elsewhere less was taken, so the median direct allocation education in California counties is 46%.

    The financial whizzes among you will have just said, “Whoa!  Did you just tell me that schools were forced to swallow a big chunk of the cost of Proposition 13 for three large commercial counties — Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Alameda — and their cities?”

    Yes.  The AB-8 Split buried the cost of servicing counties and cities with large commercial sectors in school funding, or, put differently, allowed some large counties and cities to keep spending on local services high, subsidized by the rest of the state via the school funding mechanism.

    As the state’s general fund fortunes fluctuated over the next decade, the hole in school property taxes, and resultant large state general fund spend "on education," was unsustainable.  School funding ended up sliding downwards -- the “First to Worst” of the documentary film. Proposition 98 was passed in 1988, demanding that it fall no further as a proportion of total state spending.  

    Forced to deplete its general fund monies to meet voters’ Proposition 98 demands for schools and community colleges, the Legislature responded by reversing its earlier AB-8 action.  In 1992 and 1993, it shifted property tax allocations away from cities and counties toward “Educational Revenue Augmentation.” But with a twist. The goal was not to grow education funding, but to create a pot of money that could be used to offset the state’s own Proposition 98 obligations to support education.  

    In San Francisco, this meant the creation of a county Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund with an allocation of 25% of total property taxes, targeted to fund the state’s obligations to SFUSD and SF Community College District.  

    Thus, the 35% of property taxes allocated to all education in San Francisco at the time of Proposition 13 became available for education again.  But the majority of it — the 25% ERAF fund — is only available to the extent that the state’s school and community college funding formulas call for it.  If they do not, those property tax dollars are redistributed to the City and County of San Francisco for other civic uses.

    This is why San Francisco's controller recently announced that $400 million of “excess” educational revenue was being handed to the mayor to spend, under state law.





  • published San Mateo County in Counties 2019-03-13 22:01:41 -0700

    San Mateo County

    Are these the headlines we expect to see in the tenth year of an economic expansion?

    Budget constraints force tough choices for Redwood City Elementary School District

    Ravenswood school district faces looming budget crisis

    San Carlos schools OK budget cuts: Counseling, administration, support services trimmed to fill funding hole

    ‘Tidal wave of expenses’ in looming California school budget crisis

    Increasing San Mateo County school districts’ LCFF target funding (less any excess local property tax revenue, typically so-called ‘basic-aids’) suggests that specific districts are experiencing approximately the levels of financial pain shown below (above and beyond the general pain described in West-Ed’s “Silent Recession”).  

    Across the high-cost counties we’ve reviewed, this pain is generally reflected in multiple measures including less-experienced staff, higher staff turnover, less support staff, fewer enrichment programs (unless supported by external funding sources), perennial budget shortfalls, lower reserves, larger schools, larger class sizes, lower salary structures, antagonistic relationships between trustees, parents, unions, and staff.  It is often worse, however, in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage, since the fixed Federal free-or-reduced-price-lunch cut-off excludes many high-needs students from LCFF student-need supplementation who are experiencing housing-cost related poverty.

    Wonder how districts are educating their communities and taking action? See Redwood City's flyer here.

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    Time to make an imPACT!

    Please contact your state legislators.  Here is the state search tool to find them. Their details are below. Rally friends to make a bigger imPACT

    • Email is nice -- tell them how your school is hurting and how you want them to “support a regional cost supplement to the Local Control Funding Formula in the May Revise.”  (They’ll be impressed.)
    • A phone call is better -- ask their office if they are supporting a regional cost supplement for your school district -- share a personal story and tell them where they can find more information (here!) if they ask. 
    • Tweet to your representatives -- ask if they will stand up for your schools and your students and support a regional cost supplement! Tag #MakeAnImPACT and @EducateOurState
    • Fax your legislators' offices -- phone calls and faxes are always heard. Get your friends to all do it together for a bigger imPACT.

    Now dig deeper!  Whom do you know in the Education Community?  An education researcher at Cal, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCSD or USC?  A school board member? Send them an email, too, and link to this site.  We need to influence the influencers!

    Still willing to work to help your kids, grandkids, neighborhood kids AND the kids on the other side of the tracks in your county? Please, put this on Facebook and Twitter, talk at your school PTA meeting, address your school board. We are here to help -- just reach out to us here and let us know.

    WRITE, EMAIL, TWEET and CALL

    State Legislators

    KEVIN MULLIN: Assembly District 22 https://a22.asmdc.org Capitol Office, Room 3160P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0022; (916) 319-2022 District Office 1528 South El Camino Real, Suite 302, San Mateo, CA 94402; (650) 349-2200
     Twitter: @KevinMullin Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AssemblymemberKevinMullin/

    MARC BERMAN  Assembly District 24 https://a24.asmdc.org  Capitol Office, Room 6011 Sacramento, CA 94249-0024; (916) 319-2024  District Office 5050 El Camino Real, Suite 117, Los Altos, CA 94022; (650) 691-2121
    Twitter: AsmMarcBerman   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AsmMarcBerman/

    SCOTT WIENER State Senate District 11 https://sd11.senate.ca.gov Capitol Office State Capitol, Room 5100, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4011 District Office 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14800, San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 557-1300
    Twitter: @Scott_Wiener   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScottWiener2/

    JERRY HILL State Senate District 13 https://sd13.senate.ca.gov Capitol Office State Capitol, Room 5035, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4013 District Office 1528 South El Camino Real, Suite 303, San Mateo, CA 94402; (650) 212-3313

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  • published imPACT 2019-03-13 21:58:45 -0700

    imPACT

    Equal isn’t equitable.

    We need per student funding to reflect regional cost differences in our most expensive counties.

    Children in the poorest schools in our wealthiest counties are seeing the biggest cuts in their schools; this makes it imperative we move to Parity And Cost Transparency (thus our title, imPACT) by giving these districts a supplement to account for the higher costs in these districts.

    Make an imPACT and bring equity to these students and these schools in our most expensive counties. 

    California’s school finance system provides the SAME funding for a student in a less expensive county, where a two bedroom apartment may rent for $900, as it does for a student living in a more expensive county, where the same apartment can rent for three or four times as much (see graph below). This means that, for example, while the teacher shortage may be impacting all districts, it impacts these districts even more. As another example, a family of four – with two parents working as custodians, teachers, school nurses, administrators -- can just make ends meet for $67,000 in Sacramento or San Bernardino county. A similar family needs over $108,000 in the Bay Area to maintain the same modest lifestyle, according to the California Budget & Policy Center.

    rental_rates.png

    When the new funding formula was originally developed (it went into effect in the 2013-14 school year), cost of living was intended to be part of the calculation, in addition to student needs. Former State Board of Education Chair Michael Kirst’s 2008 blueprint for this “more rational, more equitable” school finance system in California clearly stated that district revenue should be linked to “student needs and regional costs.” When that funding formula, called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) (click the link for a definition of LCFF) was implemented in 2013, however, regional costs were omitted to achieve full implementation sooner. We have heard several other reasons for this omission; you can read those reasons here

    The misery experienced in the poorest districts in our wealthiest counties goes beyond that experienced by all districts across the state, so well described in West-Ed’s The Silent Recession.  Our effort here is to bring equity to school funding by supplementing some districts for cost of living differences; no district in the state would receive less than they currently receive. The state recognizes cost of living for other investments (e.g. childcare); it is time to supplement that difference for K-12 education.

    A regional supplement is surprisingly affordable. Although the total shortfall is $1.1 billion -- less than $700 million, or 1% of the total LCFF budget, would be needed from the General Fund. Why? Because over half a billion dollars of “excess” property tax revenue, allocated to education, but redirected, is available to pay for it annually in the four highest-cost counties.

    Basically, a fund was created to allocate some property taxes to schools, but the money in that fund only gets to schools up to the level the state says schools should be funded -- which does NOT include a cost of living supplement.  We know from county child care allocations, for example, that it is CRITICAL to adjust for cost of living -- otherwise counties could not attract providers. However, we have not made the same adjustment for K-12 funding. It's time. If you have additional questions about how a district could have "excess" education revenue more information is here (the amount), here (the history) and here (an explanation).

    imPACT is our campaign to address this inequity, now. The extreme financial crisis facing most schools in the poorest districts in our wealthiest counties makes it imperative we move to Parity And Cost Transparency and supplement funding for cost of living differences in those counties. Please join us in asking the Governor and Legislature to incorporate a regional cost supplement into the school funding formula, LCFF, as originally intended.

    Do you live in one of the ten highest-cost counties in California -- including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Orange, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Ventura? Find out how much additional financial stress your local districts are experiencing by clicking on Counties.

    We have provided questions and answers for parents and other concerned community members and one for analysts. We add more every day. If your question is not listed, please add it in the comment box at the bottom of either of those links and we will post your question and a response. Thank you!

    Do you wonder how there could be “excess” property tax revenue -- meant for, but not going to, schools -- available to the Legislature for schools in the most expensive counties: San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin and Santa Clara? Click on $623 Million.

    Are you asking yourself if this completely fixes California school finance? No. It rectifies an immediate problem, recaptures hundreds of millions of dollars for education starting in July, and serves to reassure voters -- especially in the areas where any new full, fair and adequate funding will predominantly be raised -- that their local needs are respected.

    Make an imPACT -- contact your local legislatures if you are in an imPACTed county -- including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Orange, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Ventura -- click on the counties link here and your county page will have the information to contact your legislators.

    We also need to reach out to Governor Newsom, his Education Advisors and the key Legislative committees. Join with other parents and members of the education community to have an imPACT now. Email us here to get involved, and with questions or for connections.

    Join the fight for equitable -- not nominally equal -- funding of all children in California. 

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  • wants to volunteer 2016-10-11 19:42:58 -0700

    Note Your Vote!

    Please Note Your Vote! 
    Thank you for standing up for the children of California!

    Become a volunteer

  • published EOS 2016 Voter Guide in Yes on 51,55,58 2016-10-06 21:47:48 -0700

  • published Education Funding Diversions * in Learn 2015-05-09 07:33:27 -0700

    Education Funding Diversions

    Warning: The reality of what the state has done with taxpayer money allocated to our children and our public education system can be disheartening. Please believe us when we tell you that together we CAN and we WILL stop this madness. 

    We welcome the opportunity to explain any of the legislation below; it can seem overwhelming at first. Reach out here. You do not need to become a finance expert, but instead to understand there is a pattern here that is hurting our children, our public education system, the integrity of our government and the future of our state. Here goes...

     

    $10 BILLION A YEAR

    How Education Funding Diversions

    Have Grown Over Decades

    Parents and voters are puzzled.  Why are our state and property tax bills so high -- yet local school funding seems to be so low?

    School board members are puzzled.  Why is funding flat for schools -- when local real estate prices are skyrocketing, home sales are robust, the State General Fund is growing, and so much new construction is sprouting up nearby?

    Pundits, politicians and PACs blame perennial scapegoats:  Proposition 13, illegal immigrants, “greedy” teachers’ unions, wealthy basic-aid districts, pensions, top-heavy administration, to name a few. 

    Academic papers dissect school funding from every angle, but miss a black hole:

    California government has developed a bad habit of diverting educational funding from our schools
    to solve unrelated problems.

    As activist parents, we analyzed where our school revenue was raised, looking hardest at local property tax. There we discovered how billions of dollars of revenue allocated to our schools is routinely manipulated away.  It was truly disheartening to see how local property taxes were taken, overwhelmingly from our poorest children, weakening our public education system.  We came TOGETHER to make a difference -- believing we could expose and stop these diversions. JOIN US -- pause the endless local fundraising for basic programs and step up to reclaim funding statewide. Join us to strengthen school funding and transparency. 

    Here are the facts that will help you make sense of Legislative Analyst Office Whitepapers and Ed-Data district funding information.

    Local Funding Was Stripped Away from Schools (AB 8 Split of 1979)

    What Happened: In the aftermath of Proposition 13, the Governor and Legislature told cities and counties to make up their lost revenue by taking an average of 30% of the existing property tax allocation to schools.  More was taken away in high-tax, industrial counties that had seen the largest cuts from Proposition 13, less was removed in suburban and rural counties.  Sacramento promised to make up the schools’ losses from the State's General Fund.

    Result:  This significantly reduced the stable, reliable share of property taxes flowing to K-12 schools (dropping the allocation below 10% for San Francisco’s schools and under 25% for schools in Los Angeles, Alameda, and other major industrial counties, while leaving suburban and rural counties at  40%+, including like Marin, Santa Barbara, and Napa). 

    Lessons:  Many schools (especially urban ones) became heavily dependent on the State’s General Fund.  Revenue for schools switched from stable local property tax to unstable state income tax revenue—which fluctuates with the State’s economy.  Without changes to local property tax allocations, increased tax revenue and changes to Prop 13 only provide minimal extra funding in most urban areas. (In San Francisco, K-12 schools only get 10 cents out of every dollar of increased property tax.) 

    Proposition 98 is Routinely Manipulated and Undermined

    Background: After Proposition 13 reduced education funding, voters approved Proposition 98 (1989) to give K-14 schools a “fair share” of the state’s growing budget.  But, no sooner had voters acted than actions were taken to undermine that funding…

         Prop 111: “Traffic Congestion Relief and Spending Limitation Act Of 1990”

    What Happened:  The Legislature, under cover of raising gasoline taxes for highways and requiring a balanced budget, gutted Proposition 98 by introducing “Test 3.”

    Result:  Test 3 allows the state to cut back funding to education during a slow economy with only “maintenance factor” promises to catch up education funding when times get better.  Any reductions to education funding are not repaid.

         Proposition 30 (2012): “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education…”

    What Happened:  The Governor proposed, and the Legislature passed, a state budget that included new funding proposed under Proposition 30 as part of Proposition 98 funding to schools—so funding to schools would be cut if it didn’t pass.  Under the “promise” of funding education through increases in personal income and sales taxes, voters approved Prop 30.  But …

    Result:  While the State was able to pay off delayed obligations to schools, the changes Proposition 30 made to the state constitution actually diverted funds away from schools in the long term.  $6B of new taxes were added temporarily, but $6B of existing sales tax was removed from the Proposition 98 calculation permanently, resulting in a $2.4B annual loss to education unless Proposition 30 were renewed!  Hence the need for Proposition 55 (2016). 

    Lesson:  Be suspicious of any proposition by the Governor or Legislature that impacts education funding -- however neutral the Legislative Analyst’s summary may be.

     

    $1 Billion of School Property Tax is Now Branded “Excess” and Quickly Moved Out of Education

    Background - School Districts:  After the AB 8 Split and Proposition 98, the Legislature reclaimed the portion of school property tax given away in 1979 for education.  It set up an Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund in each county to share the reclaimed portion among its least-wealthy districts.  However, the sharing stops once the state’s target district revenue is met -- and then the “excess” is handed off to local governments.  

    Result:  Introduction of the new, flat (not adjusted for regional costs), statewide Local Control Funding Formula in 2013 has meant that districts in the most expensive counties in the state face flat budgets while local costs (and local property tax revenues) skyrocket.  $300 million of “excess” school revenue will be redistributed by the mayor in San Francisco this year; $270 million in Santa Clara County; $230 million in San Mateo County, ditto Marin, Napa, etc. This is revenue that was collected from the taxpayers for education, and it would have made a big difference to the poorest children in the richest counties (for more detail see https://www.educateourstate.org/impact).

    Background - County Offices:  County Office of Education property tax was split between oversight and special education (SELPA) functions -- ranging from 0%-80% depending on how special education funding was levied in July 1977. In 2013, the Legislature ruled that County Offices of Education must hand over all oversight property tax revenues in excess of their LCFF targets to pay state’s trial court costs.  COEs weren’t allowed to transfer “excess” oversight funds to support their SELPAs.  

    Result:  In 2014, $17 million was transferred, it has grown to $90 million in five years and will top $100 million next year.  Had the money been channeled into Special Education by tweaking the allocation factor, it would have opened up $44 million this year in additional Proposition 98 funding.  

    Lesson:  Cities, counties and the Legislature play the “property tax is inequitable” card to grab as much stable, reliable funding away from schools as they can.  Constantly.

     

    The “Triple Flip” & The Vehicle License Fee (VLF) Swap (2004)

    What Happened:  The Legislature needed to fund $11 billion of deficits AND pay its revenue sharing obligation to local governments for vehicle license fees when the Governor reduced those fees.  Both the “Triple Flip” and “VLF Swap” diverted local property taxes allocated to schools to satisfy these debts to cities and counties, promising that "Proposition 98 would hold schools harmless."  

    Result:  Throughout the recession, billions of dollars of stable property tax were removed from schools, then the schools got “deferrals” from the State’s Proposition 98 “hold harmless” guarantee -- IOUs instead of cash.  Worse, the mechanics of the VLF Swap actually shifted billions more school property tax away than the State’s underlying obligation ($2.5B extra in 2014-15 alone).  The decision to tie the diversion of school property taxes to the increase in county property taxes vs. the underlying obligation of vehicle license fees, drained school and state funding by $10 billion of vital 2008-2015 recession funding.  The Triple Flip finished in 2015, but the VLF Swap has no end date, and is growing to $9B next year. Thus $9B of schools’ share of stable, reliable local property taxes will be taken away -- making their funding less secure and their cost to borrow money higher.

    Lesson: The Legislature is always eager to ‘make a deal’ handing school property tax to local governments, promising to pay schools back, but the State is a lousy credit risk.

     

    Schools Are the State's Lender of Choice in Hard Times

    What Happened:  When the State economy contracted (2008-2012), the State not only reduced actual Prop 98 spending to schools but also issued $10B in IOU’s (deferred payments to schools).

    Result:  This forced schools to incur borrowing costs (though the payments were deferred they still had to pay their staff, etc.), raid reserves (reducing interest income and scaling back capital projects), and cut programs/raise class sizes in order to pay their bills.

    Lesson: When hard times come, our schools are forced to bear the costs of the State’s debts.  

     

    Unfunded Promises Have Consequences

    Background:  At the height of the dot-com bubble (1999), the Legislature was persuaded to increase teacher benefits and reduce pension payments, but without anticipating a future funding stream to support these changes.

    What Happened:  The dot-com bubble burst and state revenues fell.  The unfunded liability in CalSTRS grew rapidly to $80B+. The Legislature finally took action in 2015, dumping the majority of the financial burden on school districts without increasing funding to help districts absorb these costs. The state’s 1999 decisions became the schools’ 2019 burdens.

    Result:  Schools educating today’s and tomorrow's students are forced to pay for these promises now (and for the next 29 years) – with the result that future ‘spending on students’ is really just paying for teaching decades ago plus the lost interest on that obligation.

    Lesson:  Unfunded commitments and mandates grow until someone is forced to pay them.

     

    Cities Covet School Funding for Redevelopment

    What Happened:  Cities discovered that redevelopment measures were much more lucrative after Proposition 13.  The rollback of property values to 1975 levels built in large tax revenue increases after any sale, even if no redevelopment activity occurred. The Governor and Legislature ignored that fact, allowing cities to remove another 20% of the property taxes that still remained to schools, assuming these losses would be “made up” from the State's General Fund.

    Result:  By 2010, 14% of all property tax was being consumed by redevelopment agencies -- over half of it out of schools’ allocation. The Governor & Legislature tried to limit redevelopment – only to discover that most funds had been committed to debt service. 

    Lesson:  Cities, hungry for infrastructure revenue, are watching for an opportunity to take property taxes away from schools again. Senate Bill 5 in 2019 passed easily in the Legislature; thankfully it was vetoed by Governor Newsom in October (for details see EducateOurState.org/NoOnSB5). This effort WILL be back in 2020 -- we need YOU to help stop it.

    While voters and parents work hard to get money into schools -- others work smart to get it out again.

     

    Inequitable Application of Proposition 13

    Background:  Commercial property owners have successfully sued and lobbied California governors and legislatures to create loopholes.  Real estate partnerships and large commercial investors hide behind small business owners to escape property tax increases.

    Result:  This reduces overall property tax revenues and shifts the burden of paying for local services onto homeowners.  Because fewer homeowners bother to take the $70 homeowners’ exemption, staffers claim this shift hasn’t occurred.

    Lesson:  Money and successful lobbying have limited local taxes for some privileged property owners, while creating a large group of home-owning voters who, since they’re paying a lot in taxes, expect more from their cities, counties, local services and schools than they receive. 

    Why are our taxes so high, while our school funding is in the cellar?

    Because school funding is the easiest to raise -- and raid.

     

    Contact us to give kids a voice – or if you have questions or need more information.

    Together we can make a difference.

     

    Contact us here if you would like a 2-page PDF of this information. Thank you.

     

    Updated 12.3.19


     


  • donated via 2014-07-23 15:05:03 -0700

  • commented on 2014 Initiative 2013-11-21 06:59:14 -0800
    Time for communities to take matters into their own hands. Let’s fix this mess and make a difference for kids. This initiative will start us on the road to transparent and stable school funding. I’m proud to be a part of this effort!

  • donated via 2014-07-23 05:21:11 -0700

    Donate to Educate Our State

    EOSlogo-eblasts.jpgWhen caring people like you stand together and speak in one voice, our students and our state will win.

    Thank you for being part of our effort to build the voice for students and for public education. Your engagement truly makes a difference.

    This donation to Educate Our State is not tax-deductible under IRS regulations.  

    If your donation needs to be tax-deductible, please make a donation to Educate Our State Leadership Center here.

    You can also mail your donation to Educate Our State, 6114  La Salle Avenue, #608,  Oakland, CA 94610.  For questions or to volunteer, please email us at info@educateourstate.org. Thank you for caring!

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