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Some reasons why cost of living adjustments were not included in LCFF

Some reasons why cost of living adjustments were not included in LCFF

We have asked elected officials, staffers, and academic researchers this question.  Answers included:

  • When LCFF was approved, so much more money was required ($18B) that no one wanted to deal with another chunk.
  • LCFF was a big change to the way California funded its schools -- for people to understand it, it had to be as simple as possible.
  • Implicit bias.  Aren’t these “rich” counties?  How can there be poor districts in rich counties?  Shouldn’t we just merge them together and make them all rich?  Shouldn’t the rich districts take care of the poor ones?
  • No one ran the math.  No one in the education community understands excess ERAF (this is the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund, the fund for education from local property taxes -- you can more information about ERAF under our community Q&A).  No one knew that the rich districts were spinning off hundreds of millions of dollars of property tax revenue that the poor districts were entitled to.
  • Most elected officials come from county boards or city councils. They think of ERAF as something the Legislature took from cities and counties to pay its own obligation to schools. Many do not know of the AB-8 Split, fifteen years earlier, which took 30% property taxes from schools (if you want to really dive in you can learn more about that in our list of funding diversions here).
  • Schools are the only local service that voters consistently agree to approve new taxes for.