California School News — March 2018
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Full & Fair Funding

School districts across the state adopt CSBA Full and Fair Funding Resolution

CSBA members call on Legislature to fund California public schools at the national average by 2020 and the average of the top 10 states by 2025

In last month’s newsletter, CSBA introduced the “Resolution Calling for Full and Fair Funding of California’s Public Schools.” Since then, school districts and county offices of education throughout the state have adopted this resolution, joining a movement demanding full and fair funding that provides the access, resources and supports required to provide a high-quality education for all public school students.

Despite having the sixth largest economy in the world and the highest gross domestic product of any state, California spends significantly less per pupil than almost every other state.

In 1970, California funded schools at $400 per student above the national average — roughly $2,600 in today’s money. Today, California now ranks 41st nationally in per-pupil funding at nearly $2,000 per student below the national average and nearly $7,000 per student below the average of the top 10 states. The state also ranks 45th nationally in the percentage of taxable income spent on education, 45th in pupil– teacher ratios and 48th in pupil–staff ratios.

“Full and fair funding has to be the number one issue that we take on,” said CSBA President Mike Walsh. “While the Local Control Funding Formula has now reached its target funding in Gov. Brown’s 2018–19 budget proposal, it simply does not meet the needs of our students. There is still an incredibly important conversation to be had with the Legislature.”

For most school districts, LCFF simply restored funding to the prerecession levels of 2007, doing little to close the funding gap between California and other states. Funding has not substantially increased, on an inflation-adjusted basis, for more than a decade.

A lack of adequate funding from LCFF is one reason trustees have adopted the Full and Fair Funding Resolution. “Our board felt that supporting the resolution was important because we truly have been one of the districts in California that have been ‘losers’ with LCFF funding,” said Laura Pearson, board president for Castaic Union School District, a small K-8 district that has had to cut programs and electives, increase class sizes, lay off teachers and, in Pearson’s words, “be creative.”

“An increase in funding would mean that we could do what was right for kids,” she added.

Others cite upcoming costs related to the pension crisis as a reason to adopt this resolution. “We’re managing well at this point with the funding we’re getting, but we know that we expect to have to make cuts when the pension fund contributions get larger,” said Jim Merrill, board president for Ocean View School District in Ventura County.

There are myriad reasons that districts and COEs are adopting the resolution, and they all have one thing in common: the future prosperity of California depends on the successful education of today’s future leaders.

“At my board meetings, there are continual conversations about how can we maintain certain levels of service,” said John Gordon, board president for Galt Joint Unified Elementary School District. “How can you remain competitive with neighboring school districts regarding the certificated salary schedule, especially with a teacher shortage? How can we adjust our budget while facing the CalSTRS and CalPERS increases? What are the impacts to minimum wage increases? How can we adequately provide technology to our students as well as the costs associated (infrastructure, licenses, replacement) with integrating it in our schools? The message needs to get out there that California must do better.”

To view the Resolution and more resources including an FAQ and detailed infographic on Full and Fair Funding, visit