New fact sheet on California’s education funding available
Despite a growing economy, California trails behind nearly every other state in terms of the resources it devotes to education.
A new CSBA fact sheet explores California’s current investment in education, the educational needs of its students and how the support these students receive falls short when compared to the rest of the nation. These realities make the case for increasing investments in education to ensure a brighter future for our students and our state.

Growing evidence points to a positive relationship between education funding and improved student outcomes, particularly for students from low-income households. Multiple studies have shown that economically disadvantaged students who attend well-resourced schools demonstrate greater academic achievement than similar students in schools with fewer resources. Yet California has not responded to this evidence with an adequate investment in education to meet the needs of its students.

The Local Control Funding Formula took a new approach to funding education, designating more dollars to support students with higher needs — those from low-income families, English learners and foster youth. However, the funding approach merely redistributed dollars rather than providing additional resources. While increases in state tax revenue and sales and income taxes have increased funding levels slightly, when adjusted for inflation, California’s per-student funding remained below pre-recession (2007–08) levels until the 2014–15 school year.

Increases in funding have allowed districts and county offices of education to rebuild programs and expand some services, yet many fiscal challenges remain. These include an increasing local burden to cover obligations for pensions, healthcare and other mandated services such as special education services.

This shortage of financial support has had a significant impact on one of the most important education resources: the adults in schools and classrooms who are available to support students and ensure that they receive the best education possible. California has the highest student–teacher ratio, the second highest student–counselor ratio and the third highest student–total staff ratio in the nation.

As elected community leaders, school board members can have a powerful voice in setting statewide priorities for the essential additional resources needed to close opportunity and achievement gaps for California’s students. CSBA will continue to make the case for the full and fair funding of public education and support board members in their efforts to invest current resources equitably and effectively — providing resources according to need and implementing strategies that are more likely to produce positive student outcomes.

To read the full fact sheet, visit

You can also find the following additional CSBA resources related to full and fair funding:

  • The Impact of Pension Cost Increases on California’s Schools. Fact sheet based on CSBA analysis of the impact of increasing pension obligations on school districts. Available at:
  • California Education: Funding Issues Survey. Survey results conducted from March through April 2017 that show public support for additional school funding. Available at:
  • Meeting California’s Challenge: Access, Opportunity, and Achievement: Key Ingredients for Student Success. Report highlighting the research-based ingredients that schools would be able to provide for every student with adequate education funding. Available at:
  • California’s Challenge: Adequately Funding Education in the 21st Century. Report by the Education Legal Alliance Adequacy Committee that makes the case for adequate education funding with data and evidence. Available at: