Funding Conundrums…

For parents involved with our school PTA and Foundation, thoughts of fundraising and programs are on the daily list. One common concern stems from the thought – “I pay my taxes, why do we still need to raise money?” I have been thinking a lot about that and started doing some research. I found Ed100 to be a great starting point resource to get a general understanding. Here is what I learned:

There are several things you ought to understand about the allocation system:K-12fundingCA

  • There are four major kinds of revenue sources for education.
  • Property taxes are not usually the main source of funding, despite what people think.
  • Given the current system, your district can only do things on the margin to affect how much revenue it has.
  • California is different from other states in the very small level of revenue raising power local communities have.
  • The amount per pupil your district gets may be very different from the one next door, in part because of the revenue sources outside of state control.


The “other local funds” slice, only 6% of the funding pie, is generated and controlled by local school districts. This sliver includes interest income, leases on unused properties, parcel tax proceeds, donations, and a host of other miscellaneous sources. Thanks to some unusual provisions of California law, the state controls both the allocation of its general fund contribution to schools and local property taxes, hence, adoption of the LCFF.

This is the first in a series I am working on to shed some light into how our schools are funded. Stay tuned….

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