Basic Aid versus Revenue Limit

  • Basic Aid vs Revenue Limit

    The Menlo Park City School District is a “Basic Aid” or "Community Funded" district, one of 125 in the state. The remaining California school districts—more than 800 of them—are “Revenue Limit” districts.
     
    Imagine that the amount of money the state has determined to run the school district (taking number of students and other factors into account) is how much it would take to fill a bucket.
     
    If a district’s local property taxes do not fill that bucket, then the district is referred to as a “Revenue Limit” district, and the state backfills the remaining portion of the bucket.
    Money from local taxes

    Money from state

     
    But if the bucket runs over with property tax money, as ours does, the district is “Basic Aid” or "Community Funded". It is allowed to keep that extra property tax money, but receives no dollars for backfill of the bucket. (It is worth noting that despite having this extra money, our school district spends about at the national average for public schools—about $11,000 per student, per year. The last numbers released for a national average are $10,441 for 2008-09. National Center for Education Statistics projects that 2011-12 spending for the national average will be $11,348. This is around one third the amount spent by area private schools.)
    Money from local taxes

    Money from state






     
    Basic Aid districts used to get some money from the state for categorical programs such as instructional materials, library, and economic impact aid, but most of that has disappeared with budget cuts. State funding once comprised 10 percent of our district’s budget. It now makes up 1.6 percent of the budget.
     
    Over the past five years, as Revenue Limit districts have seen their state budgets cut, Basic Aid districts have given up our “fair share”—$1.4 million in annual state funds in 2010-11 year, for a cumulative loss of $2.83 million over three years. In 2011 we took a final $300,000 hit, which meant $1.675 million less in annual state funding for our district than it received in 2008-2009.
     
    With this final cut of $300,000, the district lost a total of $4.5 million over four years. There is no more state money left to give without touching our lottery dollars and our constitutionally protected minimum funding of $120/ADA.