The Education Trust-West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college.

School Finance

School Finance

CALIFORNIA’S NEW EDUCATION FUNDING FORMULA: What is it? Who benefits? What does it mean for students? How can I get involved?

In July 2013, California dramatically reformed the way we fund our schools. The new law, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), replaces an outdated and unfair education funding system. In this guide, we provide parents and community leaders with the information they need to ensure that LCFF is not just about local control and flexibility, but also—and most importantly—about educational justice. 

To access this community guide and additional information about LCFF in multiple languages, go to the website. You will also find:

LCFF Explainer Videos;
District Funding Data Tool;
LCFF One-Page Overview (English, Spanish & Chinese);
LCFF Community PowerPoint Presentation;
Advocacy Letter Campaign Tool.

Local Control Funding Formula

"Local Control Funding Formula"

By Melissa San Miguel, External Relations Associate, The Education Trust-West 

July 30 2013

Tipping the Scale Towards Equity: Making Weighted Student Formula Work for California’s Highest-Need Students

California’s education funding system is fundamentally unfair, with large gaps in funding between the wealthiest and the lowest-income school districts, as well as between schools within districts.

In 2012, Governor Brown sought to correct the funding gaps between districts by shifting to a weighted student formula (WSF).

Publication date: 
October 25 2012

New Education Trust—West Report Exposes Stark School Funding Gaps in California’s Largest Districts; Calls for School Funding Equity and Transparency

OAKLAND, CA (October 25, 2012) – As the debate over school funding and weighted student formula continues to heat up in California and around the nation, The Education Trust—West releases its latest report, Tipping the Scale Towards Equity: Making Weighted Student Formula Work for California’s Highest-Need Students. Using new data submitted by school districts to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education, this report reveals disturbing school funding inequities and inconsistencies in California’s twenty largest school districts.

Testimony to Select Committee on English Learners on March 26, 2012, by Carrie Hahnel, Director of Research and Policy on Weighted Student Formula

March 26, 2012 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Select Committee on English Learners


“Will the Weighted Student Formula Help English Learners?”

Panel on Accountability and Monitoring


Good afternoon, Chairman, members of the committee. I’m Carrie Hahnel, Director of Policy and Research for The Education Trust—West. We are a nonprofit advocacy group focused on closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income students and students of color. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak on such a critical topic for our state’s students.

The Cruel Divide: How California’s Education Finance System Shortchanges its Poorest School Districts

A new report released today paints a step-by-step picture of startling inequities in California’s system of education funding that harm our state’s poorest school districts. In The Cruel Divide: How California’s Education Finance System Shortchanges its Poorest School Districts, The Education Trust—West reveals that California’s highest poverty districts—those with the largest concentrations of low-income students—receive $620 less per student from state and local sources than the state’s wealthiest districts. For a mid-sized school district of 6,000 students, that amounts to over $3.7 million per year.

ETW has put together a web tool that allows you to search for a school district's per-pupil state and local revenues.  Click here to access the tool.   

Publication date: 
February 23 2012

Turning Back the Clock: The Inequitable Impact of Shortening California’s School Year

California’s education system has long failed to meet the needs of the low-income students and students of color who are now a vast majority of our state’s student population. To close persistent achievement gaps, we must dramatically improve the learning outcomes of our highest-need students by leveraging proven strategies such as increasing the amount of time students spend in school.

Yet, for the last two years, California’s policymakers have made the inequitable decision to systematically reduce the amount of instructional time that school districts are required to provide. Given that California has some of the widest achievement gaps and lowest student performance in the nation, reducing learning time in our schools should not be an option.

Publication date: 
October 31 2011


Oakland, CA) – California still has a shot at $4.35 billion in federal education stimulus dollars as part of Round Two of the Race to the Top Competition.  According to a policy brief released today by The Education Trust-West, California’s Race to the Top: A Road Map for Round Two, the Golden state can achieve second round success by quickly understanding why it lost, what other states did better, and what it must do differently to win.


(Oakland, CA) – The Education Trust–West congratulates Tennessee and Delaware, winners of the first round of the Race to the Top (RTTT) competition.

“Tennessee and Delaware have blazed a path for others to follow,” said Arun Ramanathan, executive director of The Education Trust—West. “We call on California’s leaders to follow the lead of Tennessee and Delaware by including bold and innovative reforms in our application for the second round of Race to the Top funding.”

California's quality-blind layoffs law harms teachers and students

Factors related to job performance -- classroom management skills, the teacher's attendance and annual performance evaluation rating -- should be taken into account rather than length of service.

By Timothy Daly and Arun Ramanathan

March 24, 2010