State funding of Palo Alto schools has dropped by more than two-thirds in the past three years, a school budget official told the Board of Education Tuesday, June 12.
As budget woes deepened in Sacramento, locally raised funds such as the parcel tax and parent contributions have assumed increasing importance, Chief Business Official Cathy Mak said.
State funding of Palo Alto schools now stands at just over $5 million toward Palo Alto's roughly $160 million operating budget -- down from $17 million three years ago, Mak said.
In the same period, local parcel tax revenue has grown from $9.3 million to nearly $12 million, and contributions from the independent parent-led foundation Palo Alto Partners in Education have nearly doubled, coming in this year at $4.4 million.
Mak proposed a 2012-13 school district operating budget of $163.2 million, using reserve funds to make up for a $5.5 million shortfall in revenue.
Mak's proposal assumes failure of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax package on this November's ballot -- and thus a $5.3 million so-called "fair-share" hit to Palo Alto -- as well as a 2 percent growth in local property tax revenue.
With 70 percent of its revenue coming from local property tax, Palo Alto does not receive funds based on student headcount. Recent enrollment growth has meant a 10 percent drop in revenue per student over the past four years, excluding funds donated by Palo Alto Partners in Education and the PTA, Mak said.
The proposed 2012-13 budget will return to the board in late June for approval.