TUSD Finance and Facility Funding
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How are Torrance schools funded?
Torrance Unified School District is funded from a combination of local, state, and federal sources. The majority of our funding comes from local property taxes and state aid. This funding is called the revenue limit and is applied to each unit of "average daily attendance." This is a percentage of actual student attendance to enrollment. Other funding is provided for special programs and services by the state and federal governments. The vast majority of these funds goes for personnel, supplies, utilities and day to day services. There are very few funds available for long term capital improvements.
2. Why does Torrance educate students who do not live in Torrance?
Like most other school districts in this area, the school age population of Torrance is declining. While it is not declining at a rate that would create significant reductions, the loss of the above mentioned revenue would seriously affect the district's programs. Every year an analysis is completed identifying any extra space in the district's schools. Only those campus' that have extra space are opened up for inter district students. State law requires districts to make space available for non resident students if there is space available. T.U.S.D. accepts only about 50% of the students who apply for an inter-district attendance permit.
3. Why should Torrance citizens support school upgrades?
The quality of a city's schools, whether it is the quality of the educational program or the quality of its facilities has a direct impact on the valuation of the residents' properties. The upgrades, included in measure R, the District's only voter approved general obligation bond issue, were intended to bring Torrance Unified's facilities up to the standards expected by this community.
4. What is the current status of Torrance Unified's bonded indebtedness (dollars above the regular property tax assessment for schools)?
Currently, Torrance property owners are assessed $17 per every $100,000 of "assessed valuation" each year. Based on the 71 school districts that have some form of general obligation bonded indebtedness, Torrance Unified ranks 68th.
5. We passed the Lottery to fund schools. Why isn't that enough?
According to the proposition passed in 1984, the Lottery funds could only be used for specific purposes. Those purposes did not include facilities or capital outlay (buses, etc.). Lottery funds only add 2% additional to the District's current revenue limit ($120 versus $5500). While these funds are appreciated, they are insufficient to offset the District's significant capital facility needs.
6. Why can't the District fund much needed facility improvements from its regular yearly budget?
As stated earlier, the majority of the District's general fund revenues go for day to day operations; personnel, supplies, utilities and services.
7. I thought the voters of California "passed" significant state facility bonds to improve our schools. Why can't those be used to improve our schools?
When the District passed Measure R, the only local school bond issue approved by the voters of Torrance, in 1998, it qualified for $70,000,000 in state matching funds. These funds became available in late 2002. They were used in conjunction with Measure R to complete significant infrastructure improvements along with state and federal required upgrades. Unless there are significant changes in State eligibility, the District has very limited new state facility eligibility.
8. How can I learn more about school finance?
http://www.edsource.org/pdf/QA_financefinal.pdf is a good source of information.
9. How were Measure R funds spent?
The following is an accounting of how Measure R and State matching funds were spent.
Measure R Spending