High-cost counties tend to have high real-estate values that drive high property tax receipts. In those areas where Assembly Bill 8 in 1979 (a year after Prop 13) did not take away a large proportion of the property tax left to schools, we see a number of basic-aid districts -- those are districts that do NOT take funds from the General Fund, and fund their schools using only their propergty taxes, because they generate enough property tax directly allocated to their schools to exceed the state’s targets.
Basic Aid revenues have kept pace with regional costs so, although they are experiencing much of the general pain with respect to pensions and the teacher shortage, they are coping. Their neighbor districts which, due either to lower real-estate values, higher school-age populations, or a lower direct allocation to schools, are dependent upon state aid. These harder-hit districts have become masters at belt-tightening, grant seeking, parcel-tax passing, bond levying, school-site selling, and a lot more belt tightening.
The problem is that this well-honed process works (enough) until it breaks irretrievably. Then we see a revolving door at the administration and board level, school closures, state or County Board of Education (CBE) takeovers, larger class sizes, dropping test scores, and burgeoning charter schools. This leaves the district with dropping enrollment, a higher proportion of children requiring special education, less experienced teachers, fewer accredited teachers, and unproductive antagonism between the administration, teachers, and parents.