ERIC Number: ED454596
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
For Better or for Worse? School Finance Reform in California.
Sonstelie, Jon; Brunner, Eric; Ardon, Kenneth
The consequences of the 1971 California Supreme Court decision "Serrano vs. Priest," in which the court sought to level disparities in school expenditure, and of the 1978 Proposition 13 property tax limitations are examined. The book concludes that changing the way California finances schools without changing the way it governs them has not been good overall. After an introduction that gives an overview of the book and its data sources, chapter 1 "Local Finances and the Origin of School Finance Reform," and chapter 2, "From Local to State Finance," describe California's educational finance system up to 1970. Chapter 3 reviews the "Serrano" ruling, including the revenue latitude given for special needs of school districts (categorical aid). Chapter 4 examines how the state has used that latitude, noting that more high-spending districts leveled down than low-spending districts leveled up. Chapter 5 explains how the Gann Initiative, the Tax Reform Act, Proposition 98, and loss of the business subsidy provided by local property taxes led to 15 percent less money spent per pupil. Chapter 6 shows how this decline in spending affected class sizes and teachers salaries. Chapter 7 considers the connection between the decline in revenue and a decline in achievement test scores. Chapter 8 examines whether students increasingly left for the private sector after finance reforms. Chapter 9 considers the inequities in parental voluntary contributions between districts. Chapter 10 considers differences in housing values that may reflect perception of district quality. Finally, chapter 11 summarizes data and makes suggestions for the future. Each chapter has an appendix with relevant data in table format. (Contains 130 references. (RKJ)
Publication Type: Books; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Public Policy Inst. of California, San Francisco.
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Proposition 13 (California 1978); Serrano v Priest; Tax Reform Act 1986