Securing and Protecting Education Funding in California
California and the rest of the country are enduring a pandemic-induced economic recession, and school and district leaders are bracing for the fallout. Funding for California schools had improved rapidly between 2013 and 2019, with districts spending roughly $13,100 per pupil in 2018–19 as compared with $9,680 only 6 years earlier. However, that level of funding still fell short of what would have been adequate given California’s goals as a state, the student population it serves, and its cost of living.
Schools and districts now face three major challenges: precipitous declines in student achievement and social-emotional well-being due to COVID-19; increased costs associated with distance learning and school reconfiguration to comply with public health orders; and the need to tighten budgets.5 Securing and protecting the funding necessary to address student needs and meet state goals will require an enormous and sustained effort from many stakeholders.
The new report Securing and Protecting Education Funding in California produced by Policy Analysis of California Education (PACE) examines how California might secure and protect revenues for schools in sustainable and responsible ways over both the short and long terms. It discusses why California needs adequate education funding, how California’s schools are currently financed, and how that structure affects schools during good and bad fiscal times. It then draws upon research as well as perspectives from policymakers, advocates, and education and tax policy experts to offer recommendations.
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