School Funding Explained
These are challenging days for education in our State. California schools used to be the pride of the State and a model for the rest of the nation. There was music instruction, college counseling, library staff and a wide variety of electives. Some of you may even remember taking Driver’s Ed in school, and PE classes were a given.
The situation began to change in 1972 when a court decision removed local control of education funding and gave it to the State Legislation. A formula was developed which does not provide equal per-pupil funding in our State. Because our School Board was wise and spent frugally, our District was deemed a “low-wealth” district and receives less money per pupil from the State than almost every other California school district. Despite the ongoing efforts of our School Board and PTA’s through numerous visits to Sacramento and other activities to correct the imbalance in funding that is indisputably unfair to our students, the formula has remained unchanged. Furthermore, our District does not qualify for most of the additional funding from state and federal grants and allocations. With more and more demands for the State’s money, fewer and fewer dollars are being spent on education and we continue to receive even less from the State every year.
When comparing the per-student government funding allocated to each school district (see chart), the PVPUSD receives less funding per student from the State than neighboring and academically comparable districts. San Marino Unified School District has over $3,500 more per student when local revenues are included. They receive about the same as PVPUSD in State funding, but local revenues, including their sizable parcel tax make a tremendous difference. It is also important to note that the PVPUSD’s administrative expenses (in the last column of the chart) are comparatively low, and one of the lowest in Los Angeles County.
While the efforts to change the funding will continue and we encourage you to also contact our legislators and Governor to express your opinion of the funding formula, we MUST find ways LOCALLY to maintain the excellence that we all expect in our schools.
We have been very fortunate to have the community support the bonds and parcel taxes that have been passed for our schools over the past seven years. 100% of those funds remain on the Peninsula and can only be spent in PVPUSD schools. The bonds are bringing our school sites into the 21st century; making them safe for our students. The money provided by the bonds CANNOT be spent in any other way than was stipulated in the language of the bond when it was passed. The parcel tax goes quite a long way in making up the difference in the funds that we received from the State.
The Peninsula Education Foundation was founded in 1979 for the express purpose of raising the much needed money for our schools not provided for by the State. The first gift to the School District was $250,000. This year, we have pledged $3 million to our schools, with $1.5 million of it to be spent to retain teachers and keep our class-size smaller, and our class offerings high. The additional $1.5 million is being used to provide music instruction, physical education, safe school counselors, academic counselors, College & Career Center staff and many other services once taken for granted.
We NEED your support to continue the excellence of PVPUSD schools, and appreciate any donation that you can give. Please, make a donation today.