Equitable School Funding
Marin County has two dozen public school districts for 33k students (to put this in perspective, San Francisco Unified is a single school district with nearly twice as many students).
Marin’s balkanized district framework means some schools are overfunded while others are getting much less, especially those in poorer areas who need it most. There is overwhelming evidence that increased spending on education leads to better student outcomes, especially among low-income students and students of color.
What We Know
While districts might not be able to influence how much money they receive from federal and state funding sources, a large portion of their overall funding is locally controlled. In addition to the main problem of two dozen districts each receiving different amounts of funding per student, the Byzantine roadmap to understanding district budgets and financials means only experts understand where our schools receive their funding.
Use the data tabs below to learn more about how much funding each district receives.* The orange bubbles on the first tab represent state and federal public sources and the green bubbles represent locally controlled funding (both public and foundation).
*Note that federal, state and SchoolsRule county-wide school funding allocations are primarily based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA), which is the total number of days of student attendance divided by the total number of days in the regular school year. A student attending every day would equal one ADA. ADA is not the same as enrollment, which is the number of students enrolled in each school and district. Schools and districts with student populations that face barriers to attendance including access to transportation, health care, and housing stand to see decreases in per pupil funding if enrolled students are unable to attend.
The goal of this initiative will be to advocate for equitable alignment of education funding throughout Marin’s system of schools and educational support services. The partnership is currently exploring options and more information will be shared soon.
Public Policy Institute of California
Most of the funding for K–12 education comes from the state.
In 2018–19, California public schools received a total of $97.2 billion in funding from three sources: the state (58%), property taxes and other local sources (32%), and the federal government (9%). These shares vary across school districts. Of the 6.2 million K–12 students in California, about nine out of ten attend one of the nearly 9,000 regular schools in 1,026 school districts while the other 11% of students attend about 1,228 charter schools—which are publicly funded but not subject to some state regulations. More than half of public school students are economically disadvantaged, and about a quarter are English Learners.
Since signing it into law in June 2019, Texas lawmakers, educators and policymakers have been working to implement one of the most sweeping pieces of education legislation in the state’s history. Known as House Bill 3, the legislation significantly increases state funding for public education and distributes it more equitably, promising to vastly improve early childhood education, reward exceptional teachers, increase support for college and career readiness, and direct highly effective teachers toward the classrooms that need them most.
Susan Minichiello, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
August 12, 2019
As its schools face declining enrollment and shrinking budgets, local policymakers are asking why Sonoma County has 40 public school districts – and exploring whether they can save money and improve students’ education by consolidating.
Mario Koran, VOICE OF SAN DIEGO
April 7, 2014
Parents and even administrators often don’t like to talk about where they get extra money or how federal money is spent. But here’s what we’ve learned so far about the nonprofit fundraising groups that boost certain schools.