A California School Funding Map Tool

No revenue extension? School funding per student falls steeply

The map tool below shows the entire state of California. You can choose to look at funding for school districts, or by State Senate District or State Assembly District. Click on the map to find information, go here if you’re already fired up and looking to take action.

This map tool is a starting point to show what the estimated loss in per-pupil spending would be under an all-cuts budget. An all-cuts budget means current sources of revenue will expire on June 30, 2011 without extension.

Solve the problem and save our schools

Governor Brown has asked the legislature to let the people vote to extend school funding.

Only 2 more GOP votes in the Assembly and 2 more GOP votes in the State Senate are required to let Californians vote before June 30. The same small handful of votes could also make up the 2/3 needed to pass extensions for school funding directly in the legislature.

If we vote to extend revenue for another five years, the impact is minimal. State funding of K-12 education will be reduced by $19 per pupil.

If we allow an all-cuts budget as some legislators insist, and let taxes that fund kids’ educations expire, then we can expect to see cuts of $764 per pupil in every school district in the state. Added up at school after school, that means less money to hire teachers, bigger class sizes, the possible closure of school libraries, and fewer resources in the classroom.

Parents must ask themselves: Can I make up the $764 difference in state per pupil spending on my own? Added all together, can the loss of $764 from the state per pupil multiplied by hundreds of children in my child’s school or thousands of children in the district be made up by community fundraising if that amount is in the millions of dollars? Can I make up these losses year after year?

EdSource, May 2011: California’s Fiscal Crisis: What does it mean for schools?

If not, it’s time for a broad-based way to fund schools. A vote to extend existing revenue before it expires on June 30, 2011, is the best and most immediate way to do this.

Over the past three years, $18 billion has already been cut from the state’s contribution to K-12 education. To cut more would be to jeopardize public education in this state.


Tool troubleshooting


  1. Enter your address or zip code in the field next to “Go to.”
  2. Choose to see results by “Funding,” “Senate Districts,” or “Assembly Districts.”
  3. You’ll see a red pin marking the location on the map.


  1. To see a school funding report, click on the area near the pin but not on the pin.
  2. If you double-click on the district area but do not get the school funding report, check to see that you have chosen to see results as “Funding.”

Senate District or Assembly District:

  1. To see Senate or Assembly District information, choose the one you want to see by clicking on the circle next to your choice, then click on the area near the pin but not on the pin.
  2. If you double-click on the district area but do not get the the district number, elected representative, or political party, check to see that you have chosen to see results as “Senate District” or “Assembly District.”

How to understand what you see

Federal, state, and local money funds local public schools in an extremely complex formula. This highly technical formula must factor in state and federal laws, and rely on accounting methods specific to government. You can find an excellent detailed explanation here, at EdSource.org and here, at the California Budget Project.

We present accurate, but simplified information in this map tool, using projected losses to school districts after June 30, 2011, under an all-cuts budget as calculated by the non-partisan, non-profit California Budget Project. CBP results were released on April 28, 2011.

For more details and the most up-to-date information that affects your neighborhood school, please consult your local school district.

This tool was created by Sreeram Balakrishnan and Cynthia Liu, two grassroots parent advocates working with the non-profit group Parents for Great Education. Sreeram is a Technical Program Manager at Google Research (www.google.com/fusiontables), and a parent in the Los Altos Elementary School District. Cynthia is a parent of a first-grader at a California public school, founded K12 News Network and, with Parents for Great Education, helped research and project manage the collaboration. We thank the volunteers who helped test this tool. We’re also deeply indebted to Jonathan Kaplan and the California Budget Project for sharing their research, and providing support and informal advice. This was purely a non-profit effort made with donated labor and expertise.


  1. New Web tool illustrates extent of budget pain for schools | All of California - May 5, 2011, 5:19 pm

    […] Web tool illustrates extent of budget pain for schools Posted on May 5, 2011 by admin A new Web tool allows parents to see the effects of impending budget cuts on particular school […]

  2. Del76Toro - May 5, 2011, 6:17 pm

    Great job. This tool should be recieving publicity in order to cause the underlying issue of education to be taken up by those in office. Thank you, for such an easy and quick tool pertaining to education which is the key factory in the improvement of our society and the world as a whole.

  3. DFM - May 8, 2011, 5:00 pm

    What I'd like to see is a line by line breakdown on what and who all the money spent on. I'm sure that what the people in the administraive postions think is necessary isnt. Then abolish the Federal and State offices of education. They dont educate anyone and have huge bloated budget.

  4. Cynthia - May 8, 2011, 11:38 pm

    Anyone can go to Edsource's website and see that information here: http://www.edsource.org/pub11-fiscal-crisis-brief

    Click on the link to download the pdf and look at page 2. You'll see that "instruction" is 50% of every dollar spent, "instruction-related" (textbooks, computers, flashcards, workbooks, whiteboards, etc) is another 12%, and special education is yet another 12%. That's a total of 74% spent directly educating students. Only 5% goes to administration. The rest, about 21%, goes to feeding students and facilities upkeep. There's no waste there.

    I think you'll find it's unwise to eliminate state and federal departments of education. Who will collect statistics on student progress and certify teachers and monitor their professional development?

    I think you'd be better off turning your scrutiny to charter schools, which accept public money but don't necessarily have the same financial reporting requirements, and private schools. Are those well-run? Is there transparency so someone who sends a child to a charter or private school can check to see the funds are spent wisely?

    • DBK - June 2, 2011, 5:53 pm

      Thanks for the link. I find the categories not that useful, though. Do you know of a source that breaks it down to: admin salary+benefits, current teacher salary+benefits, classroom expense (textbooks, etc), facilities expense, and pensions? This is the breakdown that i think could shed light on potential action paths. My suspicion is that the problems stem from unsustainably high pension commitments, but I would like to see the data.

    • Jeff - April 5, 2012, 5:11 pm

      So, if 21% goes to feeding students, that works out to $11/day/student. Now, I realize that half of that goes to facilities, so let's say about $6/day/student for food. Now, my kids only eat at school about half the time, and then have to pay for food, so that $6 number is misleading. Think about what kind of breakfast/lunch you could provide for that kind of money, and I think we see significant waste.____Now, let's do some more math. If, as edsource indicates, 50% of district money is spent directly on instruction, that implies to me that teachers are earning $145,000/year given the average classroom sizes. If that is the case, I'm quitting my job and becoming a teacher. Now, we know teachers don't earn that, so the number is some sort of accounting fiction. Add to all of this that the state skims 12% off the top to do what they do, and we're looking at something below 38%, and I would surmise well below 38% that is spent on actual, real classroom instruction.____Before everyone jumps on the "we need to spend more money" bandwagon, how about if we spend it wisely first.

    • Cynthia - April 7, 2012, 3:48 am

      Jeff, what are the sources for your numbers? Where does it say 21% (of what?) "goes to feeding students"? You seem bent on showing "waste/fraud/abuse" (a popular conservative refrain), but because your math isn't clearly anchored in anything, it's impossible to check your work. School lunches do not cost $6/day. And where do you get average teacher salaries equaling "$145,000"? You do realize that each district has its own budget, don't you? So your blanket figures don't make any sense unless you talk about them in the context of a specific district.

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    […] This great map tool designed by concerned parent advocates demonstrates how much funding-per-pupil will be lost under the all-cuts-budget that would take effect on June 30: [W]e can expect to see cuts of $764 per pupil in every school district in the state. Added up at school after school, that means less money to hire teachers, bigger class sizes, the possible closure of school libraries, and fewer resources in the classroom. […]

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    […] is the amount of decline expected per student, if the tax hikes expire on schedule.  I remain mystified as to why all budget cuts to […]

  7. Slim Pickins, 13 May 2011 « Theoptimisticconservative's Blog - May 14, 2011, 1:50 am

    […] is the amount of decline expected per student, if the tax hikes expire on schedule.  I remain mystified as to why all budget cuts to […]

  8. Lafayette for education - May 14, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Amazing application, article and work. Keep it up. We’re fighting with you.
    Lafayette For Education
    Twitter: @ca4educ

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  10. Elizabeth - June 10, 2011, 3:08 pm

    We desparately need something like this map for Texas! Our school funding has been cut drastically and we already rank in the bottom 5 out of 50 states in education. We need to get parents and teachers organized better as well. Maybe we can get some ideas from y'all!

  11. california map - September 16, 2011, 8:43 am

    Campaigns That Matter is an online community comprised of those interested in bipartisan California politics and political news

  12. Brent - June 16, 2012, 1:03 am


    I am a college student working on a project for one of my classes. This map would really come in handy, to use the boundaries to show some other information I working on (poverty rates & drop-outs). If you would send it to me, it would save me a lot of time and make my life a lot easier; I would be forever grateful!

    Please email me at brent@shakytable.com if you have the time.



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    […] both residential property tax revenue from recently purchased homes that were now under water, and Republican obstruction of an opportunity to renew vehicle taxes that had formerly helped fund […]

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