Strong public schools are an integral part of our Manhattan Beach community. Despite high property taxes, funding for our schools is not what you would expect.
FACT: California Education Funding Is Inadequate The assumption that our tax dollars adequately fund public education is simply not true. The fact is our state provides barely enough to fund the basics — not the enriched educational opportunities that we expect for our children. Funding for California public schools has been insufficient for decades — year after year California ranks at the bottom in annual per-pupil spending and 18% below the national average. Manhattan Beach receives roughly $10,500 per pupil, putting our funding level at the BOTTOM of both the state and country.
FACT: 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 1970’s. At that time, MBUSD was a K-8 district and allocated less than 20% of property taxes to fund schools. Legislation permanently restricted this small portion of tax dollars towards education, making MBUSD a “Revenue Limit” district. “Basic Aid” districts, such as Palo Alto and Laguna Beach, funded education at a higher level in the 70’s, so they dedicate a larger portion of tax dollars towards education and can retain the excess to supplement funding from the state.
FACT: Our Students Do Not Qualify For Supplemental Funding California uses the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to allocate 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 is essential to create more equity for districts with greater numbers of “high need” students, the base level of education funding remains inadequate for all students throughout the state.
FACT: Districtwide Expenses Are Growing Faster Than State Revenue Our community has supplemented state funding for decades, but as expenses rise and state funding flattens, the need has grown exponentially. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our economy, districts throughout the state were faced with tough decisions — two-thirds of California districts were already deficit spending and one-half had initiated layoffs before the pandemic. The local burden to cover the growing costs of pensions, healthcare, and other mandated services, like special education, is outpacing school funding.
FACT: 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 other high performing districts. Funding from the initial parcel tax approved through Measure MB and other local sources, such as the City of Manhattan Beach and our Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), are also an integral part of the equation. As a significant part of the district’s budget, MBEF dollars remain vital to continue to provide the education that our parents expect, and our students need to succeed.