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In Alameda County, a total of $271,824,224 was taken from school-allocated property taxes to pay the State of California's obligations in 2010-2011.  $226,273,179 was redirected to satisfy the State's VLF backfill obligation.  $45,551,045 was redirected to pay for the State's Economic Recovery Bonds. 

Unfortunately, this diversion of about 13% of the total property taxes paid in Alameda County is simply buried in "Schools" when reported to its citizens in the Assessor's Annual Report (shown below).  The correct number to show would have been about 27 cents of each property tax dollar going to schools.

Source:  State Controller's Office, Local Government Reporting Section.  (City and county detail shown in the reports, totals upon request from the SCO.)  Property tax distribution from the Alameda County Assessor's Annual Report 2013-14.

Was the money taken for backfill repaid quickly?  No.  Alameda County schools did not receive $177,507,830 of their state funding until after the 2010-11 school year was over.  The delayed payments grew to $233,196,354 for the 2011-12 school year, before declining (thanks to Prop 30) to $159,445,145 this past summer.  


As is typical elsewhere, all districts suffer from these delays, however districts with high parcel taxes or other significant local resources experience less disruption (just 6% of total district revenues were delayed for the Berkeley, Piedmont and Sunol Glen Unified districts in 2011-12).  Districts that are already reliant on the state  suffer the most (San Lorenzo, New Haven and San Leandro Districts received 22% of their total funding after school let out for the summer of 2012 [17%, 13% and 11% was "deferred" respectively], Albany City got 30% [22% was 'deferred'], and Castro Valley Unified a full third -- 33% after the last day of school [25% formally deferred]).


Sources:  Funding Excel Files - Second Principal Apportionment and from the California Dept. of Education.




Alameda was, however, held up as a model county in terms of its ability to generate enough county-wide Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund to make the state’s payments, with something left over for the school districts.  (Note that the reason for this is that Alameda has a very low base property tax allocation to schools – about 21%.  While typical for the big-city counties [LA, SF, Alameda, Riverside and San Bernardino], it means that Alameda’s wealthier suburban schools are allocated significantly less property tax than their other SF Bay counterparts in Napa, Marin, Santa Clara, or San Mateo counties.)  Lower base property tax allocations to schools, means a larger ERAF pool, so:


"Simplest Example: Alameda County.

Property tax collections in the county totaled $2 billion—of which $410 million was deposited in ERAF. Because the county’s K-12 and community college districts needed more than $410 million in additional property taxes to meet their revenue limits or guaranteed funding levels, no ERAF resources were returned to cities, counties, and special districts as excess ERAF.  Instead, ERAF resources were available to make triple flip and VLF swap payments to cities and the county ($309 million) and the remainder was distributed to nonbasic aid K-12 and community college districts ($101 million)." 


Source:  Insufficient ERAF, Legislative Analyst's Office, December 2012

Statistics Update:

In 2011-12, the redirection of Alameda County property taxes grew to $275,441,963, of which $227 million went to fund the VLF Swap and $48 million the Economic Recovery Bonds of 2004. 


In the just-released 2013-14 First Principal Apportionment, the deferral of $108,594,080 of Alameda County educational funding was detailed by school district from this to the next fiscal year; an additional $51 million is expected in the Second Principal Apportionment.  For Alameda's community colleges, an estimated $24 million will be deferred.  Alameda County will therefore see about 67% of its forced lending to the state unpaid at the end of this school year (June 2014), just under the statewide average of 70%.


Of the $108.6 million of already announced deferrals, Oakland Unified will have to absorb $20.8 million, while Oakland charter schools deal with another $5.1 million; Fremont Unified will see $15.4 million arrive late, Hayward Unified $9.5 million, Castro Valley Unified $7.4 million, Pleasanton Unified $6.6 million, New Haven Unified $6.1 million, and San Lorenzo Unified $5.7 million.  Under current statute (Ed Code Sec 14041.6), these numbers will increase by half again with the Second Principal Apportionment.


Sources:  State Controller's Office, Local Reporting Section; California Department of Education, First Principal Apportionment -- Excel files by LEA.

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