Decades of Systemic Inequities

California’s current school finance system just doesn’t make sense. If you were to look at all the California revenues directed to districts and public charter schools in 2011-12, the most recent data available from the Department of Finance, as they relate to how many disadvantaged students they serve, it just looks like a random bunch of dots. For instance take this diagram of a sample of local school districts and public charter schools (LEAs) serving high school and middle school students. It makes no sense.

2011-12 Revenues per Pupil by Percentage of
Students Eligible for Free & Reduced Price Lunch
Detail of High School LEAs with Revenues between $5,800 and $8,200

The districts at the bottom of the chart are receiving $2,000 less per student than those at the top of the chart. That means $60,000 less for every 30 students. The resources are clearly not tied to the needs of the students being served. In fact, if there is any apparent trend, it is that districts and public charter schools serving more students in need are receiving fewer resources. How can we expect those LEAs to ensure that their students succeed if they are being asked to meet greater challenges with less?

These systemic inequities have persisted for decades and they must be addressed if California is to meet the Constitutional rights of all children to basic educational equality and opportunity to learn.

See how local school districts and public charter schools in your community fare and how irrational and inequitable the distribution of resources is in your region. LEAs are organized by State Senate and Assembly district and a tool is provided to find yours in case you don’t know which district you live in.

Source: California Department of Finance