California’s education funding is at a record high. So why are schools short on cash?

There may be no greater paradox in California government these days than the fiscal health of the state’s public schools. Education funding is almost certain to hit a record high when a new state budget is enacted next month, and yet local school districts are hitting the panic button when it comes to their finances.

That both things are true is a function of the complicated way the state funds education and the cost pressures that appear to be the new normal — especially worrisome because there’s compelling evidence that the status quo is unsustainable.

“There’s not a district in the state that’s not experiencing this,” said Kevin Gordon, a longtime education lobbyist. “It’s just so counterintuitive in a growing economy.”

It’s important to first understand how schools are funded. Most districts receive a combination of local, state and federal dollars. California, more than other states, relies on statewide tax revenues to pay for education — a framework cemented in 1978 when Proposition 13 capped local property taxes and schools turned to an ever-growing subsidy from Sacramento. https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-road-map-california-school-funding-shortfall-20190512-story.html