Back in the old days before Proposition 13, local schools were funded locally. School boards had the authority to raise property tax rates, constrained by the understanding that the electorate would vote them out come election time if they went too far.
In practice, this meant school districts with lower property values ended up with inferior education facilities and programs. Court cases in the 1970’s began the erosion of local control in the cause of rectifying these inequities; Prop 13 put the state in the driver’s seat.
School boards can no longer levy property taxes. They can, however, ask voters to support local funding for schools through parcel taxes and bond measures. And in the majority of cases, voters have agreed with this method of filling the holes blown through local education budgets. [Read more…]