FAQs – State Funding

1)  Our real estate is so expensive here, why doesn’t San Carlos get to retain more of its property taxes for the schools?

Proposition 13, passed by California voters in 1978, reduced overall property taxes by approximately 50%, and also “froze” allocations of each individual’s property tax bill distributed to various local agencies (school districts, city, county, community college district, health district, et al).  So, the allocation of property taxes today is effectively based upon the relative needs of each of these agencies in 1978.  In addition, San Carlos does not have a large property tax base compared to many neighboring towns due to the lack of bigger businesses.  So, even though residents who purchased a home here after 1978 pay a relatively high amount in property taxes due to the high property values, there is no relationship between the amount any resident pays and the money received by the schools.  The total allocation of the property tax roll slated for the San Carlos school district is actually less than the mandated state minimum (the “Revenue Limit”), so the state must “backfill” remaining money.  So effectively, San Carlos School District’s budget is determined by the state and not by local property taxes.

2)  But didn’t Proposition 30 on School Funding pass November 2013?

Proposition 30 did not increase state funding for public education, but rather was designed to prevent further cuts to education above the reductions that had already occurred for the prior five years.  So, Proposition 30’s passage had the effect of stabilizing state education funding, but did not increase money for education over what had been spent the prior year.  It’s also important to note that the sales and income tax increases as part of Proposition 30 expire between 2016-2018, so it’s uncertain how that will affect the state budget and allocation to public education.

3)  I understand that San Carlos is among the lowest funded school districts that feed into the Sequoia High School Unified District. However, I don’t understand why this is the case. Can you explain?

State Funding for San Carlos public schools is directly impacted by the passage of Proposition 13 that was passed in 1978 by California voters. Proposition 13 reduced overall property taxes by approximately 50% and also “froze” allocations of each individual’s property tax bill to various local agencies (school districts, city, county, community college district, health district, et al).  So, the allocation of property taxes today is effectively based upon the relative needs of each of these agencies in 1978.  In addition, San Carlos does not have a large property tax base compared to many neighboring towns due to the lack of bigger businesses.  So, even though residents who purchased a home here after 1978 pay a relatively high amount in property taxes due to the high property values, the total allocation of the property tax roll slated for the San Carlos School District is actually less than the mandated state minimum (the “Revenue Limit”), so the state must “backfill” remaining money.  So effectively, there is no relationship between the amount San Carlos residents pay in property taxes and what is received by the school district; the district’s budget is determined by the state.

For a more in depth explanation, please see our Education Finance Video at http://scefkids.org/video/ 

4)  Doesn’t the new Local Control Fund Formula increase state funding?

The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is a new methodology for determining the former “Revenue Limit,” the allocation that most school districts (including San Carlos) get from the State per student.  The formula was designed to provide greater weight (and hence more funding) to districts with larger populations of children in poverty and children who are English language learners. San Carlos, having a relatively low percentage of these greater need populations, receives a lower allocation. Due to the overall improvement in the state economy, most school district’s per student funding will increase slightly this year with both one-year funding and some ongoing funding. While this is good news for our schools, funding levels are still not back to 2007-2008 levels.

5)  What about the recently passed Measure P? Doesn’t this provide additional funding to the schools?

Yes. The passage of Measure P will help our schools. It ensures that the parcel taxes supporting the schools will continue for an additional six years and increase the tax by $58 per parcel. This will result in approximately $530,000 in additional annual funding. This funding will help pay teachers and other operating costs, and together with SCEF grants will provide increased services in library, technology support, counseling, literacy, and professional development, among other areas.

6)  With the passage of measure P, why should I still support SCEF?

As stated above, Measure P increases school funding by $530,000. SCEF this year will make over $2.4 million in grants to the District and CLC. While the increased parcel tax is extremely important, the schools still count on SCEF to support core programs. SCEF represents approximately 8% of the District budget, and community support is still needed to keep our schools strong.

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