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The issue of public school education funding is at the core of the inequalities between schools located in wealthy school districts and those in low-income school districts. Every state struggles to remedy inequitable funding, partly due to long histories of segregation and racism. Nevertheless, many states continue to believe that allowing localities to manage school funding will remedy the problems, but many localities fail to effectively and fairly manage funds.

Part I discusses the background and legal history of public school education funding in California. Part II describes the recent law passed in California, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCFF, implemented in 2013, is California’s current method of funding public schools. The LCFF grants discretionary power to local control, which are the school districts and the county offices of education. Part III examines the problems that arise when the government allows local control of school funding. The LCFF is intended to take great measures to remedy California’s broken system, but the major flaw lies within the discretionary power granted to localities.

Lastly, in Part IV, I recommend potential means of better implementation. My recommendations focus on limiting the discretion given to local control in order to ensure that school districts are being fiscally responsible and not funding unnecessary programs at the expense of poor students.


This student paper was presented at the 2016 Golden Gate University School of Law Poverty Symposium.

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