Lawsuit challenging the fairness of California's system for funding K-12 education.
1972 SB 90
Established revenue limits, a ceiling on the amount of general purpose money each school district may receive.
1976 Serrano v. Priest
The California Supreme Court ruling that the school finance system was inequitable.
1977 AB 65
Long term funding bill in response to the Serrano court decision.
Constitutional amendment limiting property tax rates and increases.
1979 AB 8
The funding method for schools after Proposition 13, with a new formula for dividing property taxes. Granted larger inflation increases to low spending districts, the "Serrano squeeze."
1979 Gann Limit
Constitutional limit on governmental spending at all levels, including school districts.
1983 SB 813
Major school improvement law, including mentor teachers, longer school day/year, higher beginning teachers’ salaries, more rigorous graduation requirements, and statewide curriculum standards.
Constitutional amendment creating the California State Lottery, with a designated percentage of earnings for education.
Constitutional amendment that guarantees a minimum level of funding for K-14 education (amended by Proposition 111 in 1990).
1996 SB 1777
Created incentives to reduce K-3 class sizes.
2000 Proposition 20
Constitutional amendment requiring half of growth in lottery money be used for instructional materials.
2000 Proposition 39
Constitutional amendment permitting a 55% yes vote for approval of local General Obligation bonds.
2000 Williams v. California
A lawsuit charging that California is not providing basic educational necessities for all students. Settled in 2004. The settlement also resulted in changes to the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) template that all schools must update and publish annually to include information on facilities, teacher misassignments and vacant teacher positions, and the availability of textbooks or instructional materials.
2008-09 Categorical Flexibility
In response to the economic crisis and to mitigate deep cuts to education, lawmakers enacted mid-year changes that granted schools more flexibility in how they spent categorical funds. SBX3 4 (Chapter 12, Statutes of 2009) allowed districts to use the money from 39 categorical programs for "any educational purpose" through 2012-13. It also reduced the penalties for exceeding class size limits for schools receiving funds for K-3 Class Size Reduction.
This flexibility was later extended through 2014-15 by Senate Bill 70, Chapter 7/Statutes of 2011. For more information, please see our categorical aid article.
On July 1, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a significant overhaul of the state's school finance system. The new "Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)" will eliminate most of the state's categorical
programs, providing instead a base grant for every student enrolled plus 20 percent more funding for every
English learner, low-income child and foster youth. Those districts in
which high-needs students comprise at least 55 percent of the student
body will get more money for a portion of those students. To learn more, please see: Understanding the Local Control Funding Formula.