How are California schools funded?
Each state in the U.S. funds schools slightly differently. The primary difference is between two scenarios: (1) funds are raised and spent locally or (2) funds for districts come primarily from the state. In California we are primarily model (2), with a couple of exceptions.
Sometimes people refer to the same exact money in different ways: for example, technically you pay your property taxes in Albany to Alameda County. Technically, that money stays in the county and is eventually distributed to school districts. But really, the money is controlled by the state, because it’s state law that determines how much each district will get.
For simplicity, let’s think about four ways in which districts get money. In order to understand each one, you’d want to look at the parallel level of government, their laws and regulations.
How does Albany compare to other districts?
- State funding: money that is distributed using a state formula.
- Federal funding
- Local funding (any local revenue source: the biggest ones are parcel taxes, but local districts may also raise money from different fees, such as those paid for after school programs or at the swimming pool.)
- Non-government funding (e.g. donations)