Monday, March 20, 2017

California recently approved billions in tax increases meant for education, but investigators have now discovered millions meant for underprivileged kids is actually being spent on other purposes, including staff pay hikes.

Californians pay the top marginal income tax rate in the nation, 13.3 percent. So as we prepare for Tax Day, it is worth considering where all that state tax money is supposed to go and whether or not it actually reaches the students it is intended for.

California’s single largest budget item is education funding. In fact, the state’s budget for K-12 schools and two-year community colleges has increased from $47 billion in 2011 to a projected $73 billion in the 2017-2018 school year.

Last November, voters extended the state’s income tax on high-income earners, which provides billions of dollars for K-12 education and funds the state’s Local Control Funding Formula. The LCFF was designed to give school districts flexibility, more local control and guarantee that the districts with substantial numbers of disadvantaged students receive more state money for those kids.... appears that many school districts may be spending money intended for disadvantaged students on district-wide expenses. A new February 2017 report by the Center for Public Integrity notes that as “the LCFF unfolds, complaints are surfacing about dubious expenditures — on school policing or across-the-board staff pay raises that state officials warn should be ‘targeted’ to benefit disadvantaged kids.”...