Feeling the Pinch: Navigating Financial Pressures in Pursuit of Educational Quality and Equity

Toward Funding Adequacy

Imazeki, J., Bruno, P., Levin, J., Brodziak de los Reyes, I., & Atchison, D. (2018). Working toward K–12 funding adequacy: California’s current policies and funding levels. Available at https://gettingdowntofacts.com/ sites/default/files/GDTFII_Brief_Adequacy.pdf

In this brief, the authors examine the impact of recent changes to California’s education funding. Passage of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) has increased California’s per-pupil funding in real dollars, yet funding levels remain below comparable states’ spending. California uses an unduplicated student weighting, wherein districts receive additional funding according to a single category of student need (i.e., English Learner status, Foster Youth). This contrasts to other states that allow duplicated counts for student need, helping raise per-pupil spending. Further, California voter’s passage of Proposition 13 has limited the state’s ability to raise education revenue from property taxes. Using a professional judgement approach, researchers posit that California’s education budget would need to allocate over a third more (approximately $26.5 billion) to achieve its goals for student learning.

Funding the Next Generation. (2019). A proposal to democratize local taxing policies in California to meet the needs of children and youth. San Francisco, CA: Author. Available at https://cacollaborative.org/ sites/default/files/Funding_the_Next_Generation_2019_A_proposal_to_democratize_local_taxing_policies.pdf 

This paper makes the case for a California constitutional amendment that would make it easier for district and county education board members to advocate for the needs of children by empowering them to place measures on the ballot to generate general revenue. The authors describe San Francisco’s groundbreaking Children and Youth Fund, which earmarks monies from the general fund to serve the needs of children. Yet, other counties and districts have encountered obstacles when trying to emulate this strategy because special tax measures are difficult to get on the ballot and require a 2/3 majority vote to pass. Additionally, general fund measures lack enforceability. To overcome these obstacles, the authors recommend the constitutional amendment.

California School Funding Coalition. (n.d.). California School Funding Coalition – Who we are [Promotional document and member list]. Author. Available at https://cacollaborative.org/sites/default/files/ California_School_Funding_Coalition_nd_Who_we_are.pdf 

This flyer describes what the California School Funding Coalition (CSFC) is, its history in advocating for K–12 funding reform, and what policy areas it is currently focusing on. CSFC was formed in 2013 when it joined with others around the state to advocate for and win funding increases for the then-proposed LCFF. The document also lists some of the most important policies it has backed since 2013, including legislation that fully funded LCFF and created a Career Technical Education incentive grant program. The coalition is currently working on ways to illustrate how district costs (e.g., special education, pension contributions) are outpacing increases in LCFF funding, and they continue to fight for increased LCFF base grant targets, which they name as their top priority. The flyer contains a list of the coalition’s member districts.