Posts tagged ‘funding’
Is CA ranked 47th or 25th?
Comparing California (June 2008)
Getting the Facts Straight on Per Pupil Spending in California (Posted on April 03, 2008)
The Census Bureau report strongly refutes the oft-cited “fact” that California is near the bottom in per-pupil school spending. The national average was $9,138 in 2005-06. California was at $8,486, with New York the highest at $14,884 and Utah the lowest at $5,437 – one of 22 states, in fact, that fell below California’s level.
In terms of school revenues, California was 25th among the states at $10,264 per pupil, just under the national average. It was above average in per-pupil income from federal and state sources and about $1,700 per pupil below average in local revenues, thanks to Proposition 13, the 1978 property tax limit measure.
Why are the rankings so different?
Education Week adjusts per-pupil spending to reflect regional variations in cost of living, particularly teacher salaries, and the National Education Association does not.
Both start with similar spending in California during fiscal 2004-05. Education Week uses federal data, $7,905 per pupil; the NEA uses its own data, $7,942 per pupil.
Then Education Week applies a 1990 federal “geographic cost of education index” that drops California from 30th to 46th at $7,081 per pupil, well below the national average of $8,973 per pupil.
Spending more than $12,000 per pupil in Education Week‘s ranking are New York, New Jersey, Vermont and the District of Columbia. Below California are Idaho, Arizona and, at the bottom, Utah at $5,463 per pupil.
National Per Student Public School Spending Nears $9,000 (US Census – May 24, 2007)
The nation’s public school districts spent an average of $8,701 per student on elementary and secondary education in fiscal year 2005, up 5 percent from $8,287 the previous year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.
New York spent $14,119 per student — the highest amount among states and state equivalents. Just behind was neighboring New Jersey at $13,800, the District of Columbia at $12,979, Vermont ($11,835) and Connecticut ($11,572). Seven of the top 10 with the highest per pupil expenditures were in the Northeast.
Utah spent the least per student ($5,257), followed by Arizona ($6,261), Idaho ($6,283), Mississippi ($6,575) and Oklahoma ($6,613). All 10 of the states with the lowest spending per student were in the West or South.
California’s system for funding public schools has been in place for 35 years.
1968-78: California moves to a state-controlled finance system
1968 Serrano v. Priest
Lawsuit challenging the fairness of California’s system for funding K-12 education.
1976 Serrano v. Priest
The California Supreme Court ruling that the school finance system was inequitable.
Sources of Funding for Schools
- Federal government: about 11%
- State’s budget (business, corporate and personal income taxes, sales taxes, and some special taxes): about 61%
- Local property taxes: about 21%
- Miscellaneous local revenues (include such items as fees on commercial or residential construction; special elections for parcel taxes; contributions from parents, businesses and foundations; cafeteria sales; and interest on investments by local school districts): about 6%
- The smallest amount at the bottom is the California Lottery: 1.5% or about $125 per student annually
Public schools have no other revenue sources.
Distribution of the Money
- General purposes: two-thirds of total funding
- Special purposes or categories of students: other third
Each district’s income is based on:
• the average number of students attending school during the year (average daily attendance, or ADA)
• the general purpose (revenue limit) money the district receives based on ADA
• special support (categorical aid) from the state and federal governments, earmarked for particular purposes.
The California Legislature set revenue limits for each district in 1972.
The other large portion of a school district’s income is categorical aid from the state and federal governments. It is based on categories of children, such as students with disabilities; characteristics of the district, such as low-income families; or programs, such as class size reduction (CSR). The program can be voluntary, such as CSR for grades K-3, or required, such as Special Education.
Categorical aid can be a very small portion or more than one-third of a district’s budget, depending on the population of students served. The money must be spent according to the state or federal guidelines for the qualifying program.
Miscellaneous income is a small percentage of most districts’ budgets, but (with a few exceptions) districts have discretion over how to spend the money.
A State Centralized System
Proposition 13 (1978) effectively removed school districts’ ability to exert substantial control over their revenues.
- Guide to California’s School Finance System
- EdSource: Finance System
- School Finance Chronology
- EdSource: History
- School Finance Chronology
- An Introduction to Public School Financing in California
Last Updated: January 16, 2009