ERIC Number: ED332315
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Cadillacs or Chevrolets? The Effects of State Control on School Finance in California.
Picus, Lawrence O.
Although California's real spending per pupil grew 13 percent between 1980-81 and 1990-91, real growth in educational spending here has not kept pace with the rest of the country. The reasons are complex, with many causes rooted in the state tax system design and the resulting school finance structure. This paper describes how and why California's system developed and discusses the options available to policy makers. The current situation can be traced to three watershed events during the past 20 years: (1) the "Serrano v. Priest" legal challenge to California's school finance system; (2) passage of Proposition 13's property tax limitation; and (3) passage of Proposition 98's minimum funding guarantee for education. These events have shifted control of school finance from local districts to the state. The reliance on state funding has placed California's schools in a precarious position, as the current budget deficit is approaching $10 billion. The state legislature treats the 40 percent minimum funding guarantee as both a spending floor and a ceiling, and may even suspend the proposition this year. California has achieved a system that largely equalizes expenditure disparities and has eliminated tax effort differences across districts. The price of this achievement has been increased state control over revenues available to local school districts. Even the education community's efforts to garner a fixed percentage of the state budget for schools has failed to provide a substantial growth in educational funding. (13 references) (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California