School Funding Basics

Why do our schools need MBEF anyways?

You have heard again and again that funding for our schools is inadequate. But few people understand WHY. There are four main factors that impact school funding in our District.

State funding for education in California is inadequate. California ranks 44th in the nation in school funding, and 50th in both student-to-teacher and student-to-counselor ratios. While states like New York and New Jersey average over $20,000 per pupil, last year, MBUSD received roughly $9,600 per pupil, putting our funding level at the BOTTOM of the state and the country. Without our community’s investment, state funding for our schools does not meet our students’ needs.

MBUSD is a Revenue Limit District. Only a small portion of our property taxes, high as they are, fund education. The formula to allocate property tax dollars is based on spending levels in the 1970s. At that time, MBUSD was a K-8 district and allocated a small portion of property taxes to schools. Proposition 13 and Assembly Bill 8 set the allotment of property taxes to education so that districts are unable to move additional tax dollars to schools. As a result, MBUSD is a Revenue Limit district and does not retain excess property taxes. Basic Aid districts, such as Palo Alto and Laguna Beach, funded education at a higher level in the 70s, so they retain excess property taxes. Because our property tax allocation is so low, most of the funding for our schools is subsidized by the state.

Our Students Do Not Qualify for Supplemental Funding. In 2013, California implemented Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to provide additional resources to public school districts with higher numbers of students who qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, are English Language Learners and/or are foster youth. Of ALL school districts in California, MBUSD has the LOWEST number of students who qualify for supplemental funding.

Manhattan Beach Does Not Have a Parcel Tax. Unlike many highly ranked districts in California, Manhattan Beach does not have a parcel tax to supplement state funding for our schools. A parcel tax is a flat tax assessed per parcel for ongoing educational expenses, such as teachers and enrichment. The districts listed below each have a parcel tax and a community-led foundation, like MBEF, that provides anywhere from $1 million – $6 million of funding each year.

MBUSD is frequently compared to a short list of districts throughout California that have strong student outcomes. However, our funding is very different from these districts. For example, as depicted in the Per Pupil Funding chart above, Palo Alto is a Basic Aid district and retains a large portion of their property taxes, and has both a sizeable parcel tax and education foundation. Similarly, Piedmont has a parcel tax that accounts for 25% of their district’s budget, as well as an education foundation.

MBEF is the only District-wide resource that funds teachers and enrichment.
Your support of MBEF is critical to the quality of our public schools.

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