You Ask, We Answer: Pacifica School District Funding Explained

While Pacifica school supporters push for more operational funding, Patch explains the funding nitty gritty.

During the California Teachers Association , we received some interesting questions about how lottery funds are used in the .

As it turns out, in the 2009-10 fiscal year, CA Lottery revenues  generated $1.1 billion to subsidize the cost of education to over 8.567 million students in California’s public schools - that's $129 per pupil. 63 percent of those funds are spent on salaries and benefits for teachers, 20 percent on classroom materials such as textbooks and the remainder is spent in other areas.

It seems concerns among residents are centered on where operational funding for Pacifica public schools will come from – and rightfully so.

Pacifica Patch has put together the need-to-know facts about Pacifica School District funding:

Where does the district’s operational budget come from (current fiscal year)?

  • 90 percent from state funding  
  • 2 percent from foundations and grants
  • 2 percent from parent teacher organizations
  • 5 percent from parcel tax (Measure N – passed by voter approval in 2008)
  • 1 percent from federal stimulus funding. $200,000 of federal stimulus funding has subsidized physical education, art and music programs, libraries, school safety programs and more. These funds will expire in June of this year.

What role do Measure N parcel tax funds play in the school district’s budget?

Pacifica School District has received approximately $3.2 million in funding to-date from the Measure N parcel tax, approved by voters in 2008. $1.95 million of those funds have been used for teachers’ salaries. The expected revenue from the tax is approximately $1 million per year, collected bi-annually ($500,000 in December and April) until 2013.  

How have Pacifica schools downsized due to budget cuts?

Due to budget cuts to Pacifica School District, administrators, teachers and staff have taken concessions. In 2008, all employees accepted a salary freeze. This cost-cutting measure saved the district $210,000. Employee concessions in fiscal year 2010-11 totaled approximately $831,000, which included five furlough days and a closure of all district facilities during Thanksgiving week of 2010.

Praise for Measure N

Local group, Saving Pacifica Schools, dubbed Thursday in the Week of Action “Thank You Pacifica!” day because, said member and parent of two at Matthew Levie, “we have a very active parent community that has been very knowledgable about Pacifica schools.”

Levie also credits taxpayers for helping the district weather the gap in limited state funding through Measure N parcel tax contributions.

“We are reminding [tax payers] that the parcel tax is responsible for five percent of Pacifica School District’s budget, and thanking them,” said Levie. “That money pays for 13 teachers.”  

Saving Pacifica Schools is self-described as a “political action committee that lobbies on behalf of Pacifica's public schools.”

Want to know more?

The school district has also published their 2011 annual report online for the public.

Lena Robinson May 17, 2011 at 08:51 PM
We live in a large state with a lot of kids to educate. Someday some of the kids in public schools (including our public universities) today will be prescribing us our medications, filling our prescriptions and driving the bus that will take us home. Some of them will even be inventing the treatments that will provide us a better quality of life as we age. I for one want these kids to have a good education so a) we have younger adults to fill these jobs as the rest of us age out of them and b) they are going to be good at their jobs. So I am going say it, part of our budget shortfall is that we are NOT paying enough taxes. Arnold (that guy with that one kid he forgot to tell us about before some of us elected him governor) cut the vehicle licensing fee and it started going downhill from there. OK I know it is not that simple but if the VLF had been maintained our fix would not need to be so big now. Start thinking of the big picture, Charles. Our still HIGH standard of living did not come from nowhere. It came from visionary people, born long before any us still breathing, who decided to invest in the future. Pay it forward Charles.
Stephanie Trelogan May 17, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Ah, Charles...I get that you are very frustrated, but our schools are not the problem here. You say parents should be the ones paying? We are, I assure you. Ortega Elementary's PTO funds science, PE, art, even the library (!)—basically anything that isn't reading, writing, and arithmetic. Our schools are impoverished and in crisis, and parents, among other people, are doing everything they can to keep that ship from sinking. I know you feel you've paid enough, and I understand that, but...whether or not today's kids are educated will affect all of us, even you. Best of luck to you, wherever you decide to go.
Stephanie Trelogan May 17, 2011 at 09:13 PM
What a well-crafted comment, Lena. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.
Charles May 17, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Rich Campbell May 17, 2011 at 09:55 PM
Charles, even if you don't want to pay for kids education, you should support the parcel tax out of pure self interest if you own your own home in Pacifica. There are plenty of real-estate studies that demonstrate a good school system leads to higher property values. It is a public good that attracts families with money. Just ask anyone in Marin or parts of the East Bay (e.g., Lafayette) or in the South Bay (e.g., Cupertino). Our school system could use more funding, but it is already good enough that I personally know of families from south of Devils Slide and San Francisco trying to get in, and of families that have moved here in part because of the system.
Charles May 17, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Just for the record I don't get Sol or Med. Not old enough 54, I was just a hard working stiff that pays ALL HIS TAXES, never took time off from work, never went on extravagant vacations, never used state disability or unemployment and proud of it. Can you say the same??
Lena Robinson May 17, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Can't say I am 54 and can't say I never took time off of PAID WITH MONEY work, because I did . . . to raise my kids. Though I did not bring home a pay check for this WORK, my schedule was typically 24/7. I have produced some productive members of society who at a relatively low cost TO YOU (I will readily admit your tax dollars have helped educate them) will be working hard to pay for YOUR social security and medicare in your later years. (Don't tell me you are such a purest that you won't be using those governmental benefits.)
Todd Bray May 17, 2011 at 10:35 PM
Folks the hidden elephant isn't taxes but how much state, county and municipal employees from top administrators on down the line get paid. Without some sort or adjustments to compensation your kids education will continue to be thrown under the public employee bus.
Charles May 18, 2011 at 01:05 AM
Rich, I've lived here for 25 years and though I never went to school here I will say you have a point about having good schools. But having said that housing in this area are selling slow and raising taxes is not going to help.. The city wants a parcel tax for this a parcel tax for that, assessment for this and that. At the same time businesses are moving out and frankly parts of Pacifica linda Mar for example are becoming a dump. You have garbage cans out in front of homes weeds growing everywhere, cars parked that don't run, roads that haven't been repaved, Traffic on hwy 1, if there is ever a disaster this town is in deep do do.. I'm a fiscal conservative that believes in checks and balances so I'm afraid its going to take more cuts and more revenue, not raising taxes before things get better in this town. People do not want their property taxes to go up by hundreds of dollars every year. The fact is more people are moving out of Cal. than moving in.. There are other beautiful states with less property taxes and some with no state tax and no earned income tax. Let me also mention the sewer plant that is going to cost Pacifica 50 million dollars. I also here there is a palm tree issue in Valley Mar and they want to assess the property owner $1000. on there property taxes for 20 to 30 years to pay for moving the electrical lines. This is whats going on out there.. So if you don't agree with anything I've said We will just have to agree to disagree. Peace Out!
Eddie Shore May 18, 2011 at 02:03 AM
I wonder if Mister Bray will ask his good friend City Attorney Cecilia Quick to forego 10% of her contractually guaranteed termination buyout? seems like his efforts to become the Scott Walker of Pacifica should be consistent across the board. Education is important to real estate values, but what is ironic is that adamant no-growthers like Rich Campbell also fail to acknowledge the proximity of commercial infrastructure and jobs also play a key role in real estate values. Moreso than the "open space" myth. Mrs. Ervin also touts the benefits of an education, which is undeniable, yet when 40% of Pacifica's population commutes over the hill for employment, one has to question . . . what good is funding education if those students cannot live and work in their own communities?? How does that benefit Pacifica to educate them and ship them out to Sunnyvale? (pt 1)
Eddie Shore May 18, 2011 at 02:06 AM
(pt2) Here's the real elephant in the room . . . the taxpayers and homeowners did not create this mess, nor did the public employees whether they be city staff or teachers. They all signed contracts that should be honored. The politicians and 20+ years of radical unbalanced environmentalism activism did. It baffles me how people cannot connect the dots between the financial shell game the city of Pacifica has played for so many years as a result of their adamant no-growth land giveaway policies, and the neglect to its infrastructure which is the REAL scourge of the city. whether the supporters of education like it or not, whether it is fair or not, the homeowners and businesses in Pacifica DO connect the irresponsible policies of this sitting City Council with any hand digging into their pockets for a bailout. If you don't think its fair, then get some more business minded people on City Council. We got enough open space.
Charles May 18, 2011 at 02:28 AM
My prediction is Pacifica is going to be the next Vallejo Ca.
Scotty May 18, 2011 at 06:26 AM
"if you someday, somehow require the services of someone educated in our school system say like a doctor or nurse or paramedic you can pay an education surcharge at your office visit " Lena, you act like doctors or nurses or paramedics are some kind of free public service. Please let me know where you receive these services and don't pay for them so I can go there next time. Most doctors and nurses and paramedics that I know are well paid for their services.
Deborah May 18, 2011 at 03:12 PM
So only the people with kids should pay for the schools, and who should pay for the trees? Everyone? Only the people who live close to them?
Lena Robinson May 18, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Scotty, you missed my "education surcharge" proposal for those folks who do not raise kids. Charles says he does not want to pay for someone else's kids to be educated so I am trying propose an alternative way to account for the benefits that raising children has for our society. Kids cost a lot when young, but when they grow up they usually become part of our society's human capital, providing goods and services for our economy and for now supporting social security and medicare through their payroll taxes. Educating a child is an investment in all of our futures. Why should Charles get a free-ride in that respect?
Scotty May 18, 2011 at 07:16 PM
I think we should pay for education whether we have children or not, but your analogy actually makes Charles' point, Lena. The families or students themselves pay for the education to become a doctor or nurse or paramedic, because they know that investment will lead to future income.
Deborah May 18, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Well, there are two different things going on. An advanced education such as med school is an investment and should be paid by students. Basic education is a fundamental building block of society. Without it, society crumbles.
Charles May 19, 2011 at 12:50 AM
Public Schools: Make Them Private !!!!!!!!!!!!!! by Milton Friedman Milton Friedman, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976. http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-023.html
Charles May 19, 2011 at 01:27 AM
Privatization of a town’s public schools would solve many problems. It would reduce the cost of education and thereby lower property taxes used to support them. It would eliminate the need of a centralized state administrative apparatus, with its high-paying administrators and assistant administrators. It would free local schools to adopt learning programs that actually work, thereby improving student achievement. It would re-invent the idea of educational freedom, on the foundation of which this nation was built. It would also get rid of the stranglehold that the teachers’ unions have on the schools. www.thenewamerican.com/.../7366-should-the-public-schools-be-privatized
Karen Ervin May 19, 2011 at 04:50 AM
Obviously people have strong philosophical differences on this forum regarding public education, but I would just like to add a few thoughts to this discussion before it ends: 1) I hope people understand that public education is not a money-making entity. Districts across the state of California are at the mercy of the state and the generosity of their local communities. The only possible legal way to enhance their funding is by parcel taxes and independent non-profits. Both districts in Pacifica have done a phenomenal job at managing their limited financing; they have endured intense financial cutbacks and significant personal losses and continue to strongly support our children. 2) Personally, I am a strong smart-growth advocate within Pacifica and have always hoped for changes within our community to make it stronger, more vibrant, and more self-sufficient, but even if these things were to occur within this city, the schools would still be at the mercy of the State. They are separate entities from the city infrastructure, largely due to changes resulting from Prop 13. 3) In regards to Charles’ remarks concerning private education, there is little, if any evidence, that charter schools or private schools do a better job at educating our children, and even if this were not the case, most families could not afford to provide their children with a private education.
Stephanie Trelogan May 19, 2011 at 02:44 PM
It would also reinforce the separation between the classes, so hard-working stiffs would not be able to afford to send their kids to school. Just sayin'.
Charles May 19, 2011 at 05:54 PM
Re: Public Schools make them Private !!! It will cost LESS!! I urge every parent and tax payer to click on these links and read the articles.. Here are just two: http://www.thenewamerican.com/opinion/sam-blumenfeld/7366-should-the-public-schools-be-privatized http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-023.html The people who are against the privatization of school more than likely work for the school district so keep that in mind.. Have a open Mind... JUST SAY-IN :-)
Stephanie Trelogan May 19, 2011 at 06:20 PM
I do not work for the school district, I assure you...unless volunteering for no pay @ my kids' school counts. And although we could send our kids to private school, we choose not to -- because we believe that ALL CHILDREN are entitled to a good education, regardless of their parents' economic circumstances. Privatization of schools will make it so that kids whose parents can't afford tuition won't be educated. Is that really what you want? Signed, A Pacifica parent who believes that EVERY CHILD deserves a good education
Karen Ervin May 19, 2011 at 06:26 PM
For the record, I have no affiliation with any school district in Pacifica or anywhere, other than that my children attend school in the JUHSD. Previously, I was a school board member for the Pacifica School District but my term ended last year. I have always been very interested in the private/public debate and am open to arguments on both sides. If public schools were provided with the same student body that private schools get, along with similar resources (most private schools charge far, far more that the amount received/child by the public schools), than that would be a fairer comparison. Regardless, the large majority of citizens are unable to afford the extra expense of private school.
Charles May 19, 2011 at 06:39 PM
What Does "Privatization of Public Schools" Mean? By Craig Gordon (Oakland, CA) Copyright 2006 http://www.educationanddemocracy.org/Resources/Gordon.htm
Deborah May 19, 2011 at 09:12 PM
The way I read the Gordon article, he is against privatization.
Chris Fogel May 19, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Yes, Craig Gorden is quite clearly laying out a case against privatization in this piece.
Stephanie Trelogan May 19, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Most certainly.
Charles June 13, 2011 at 03:17 AM
No more surprises Norman. Just like a fisherman I threw out the bait and and hooked a couple of Fish. Craig Gorden is a Oakland teacher and a Union Official.. Nuff!
Charles June 13, 2011 at 03:20 AM
So Just to make it clear I'm still retired and still voting NO ON ANY PARCEL TAX NOW OR IN THE FUTURE...................


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »