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. Despite a $20 billion increase in K-12 spending since 2011, California continues to rank among the lowest in the nation in school funding. Education Week’s 2018 “Quality Counts” report recently ranked California as 42nd in per pupil funding, more than $3,000 below the national average. MBUSD will receive roughly $10,450 per pupil this year, putting our funding level at the BOTTOM of the state and the country. State funding alone does not meet our students’ needs, and without our community’s investment, our schools would lack many of the programs our students need for a well-rounded education.
MBUSD is a Revenue Limit District. Only a small portion of our property taxes in Manhattan Beach support 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. As a result, MBUSD is a “Revenue Limit” district and does not retain property taxes. “Basic Aid” districts, such as Palo Alto, Laguna Beach and Beverly Hills, funded education at a higher level in the 70s, so they retain excess property taxes. Consequently, funding for Manhattan Beach schools is augmented by state aid to reach the guaranteed minimum level of funding per student.
Our Students Do Not Qualify for Supplemental Funding. In 2013 California implemented the 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. While LCFF has provided additional resources for districts with greater numbers of “high need” students, education funding remains inadequate for all students. Of ALL school districts in California, MBUSD has the LOWEST number of students who qualify for supplemental funding.
Local Support is Critical. MBUSD is frequently compared to a short list of districts throughout California that have strong student outcomes. However, our per-pupil funding for education is very different from these other high performing districts. We are truly grateful for the community’s recent support of Measure MB, but the parcel tax alone cannot bridge the gap in school funding. Funding from the parcel tax, approximately $2.4 million annually, will help prevent teacher lay-offs due to increased expenses, including cost of living adjustments and pensions. Support of MBEF remains vital to continue the programs our parents expect, and our students need, to succeed. Both MBEF and local funding initiatives like the parcel tax are critical to sustaining the quality of our public schools.
MBUSD funding is very different from the other 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.