Under the current system, the state guarantees every pupil in the government school
system, including charter school students, a minimum amount of revenue. Should local
property tax revenue to the school district fall below this figure, the state appropriates
money to the districts to make up the difference. The guaranteed amount, often called the
"foundation allowance," will be approximately $5,400 in fiscal year (FY) 1998.
The model assumes that the state per-pupil guarantee increases by about 3 percent per
annum from this base for the next ten years.
Some school districts are currently receiving less than the "formula"
guarantee, and many are receiving much more. The average revenue is about 6 percent higher
than the guarantee amount.69 The variation among school districts in per-pupil
revenue is declining under the constitutional amendment known as "Proposal A,"
which reformed school finance in 1994. In general, Proposal A "averaged up" the
spending of the large majority of school districts in order to bring them into closer
parity with the highest-spending districts.70 This "averaging up" has
significantly increased overall taxpayer support of the public school system.