It's exactly what voters said they wanted when they amended the California Constitution in 1988: When the state's coffers fill up with tax dollars, public schools should be guaranteed the single-largest portion of the cash.
And so consider it good news from the Legislature's independent fiscal watchdogs that tax revenues in the current fiscal year are beating expectations to the tune of $2 billion, and that K-12 schools and community colleges get all of the money. Plus a tad more.
"Schools are the big winner," said Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor after a meeting with Capitol reporters to discuss his team's new projections, part of an annual fiscal forecast.
Those projections show school funding, controlled by 1988's Proposition 98, will grow by $2.3 billon in the budget year that ends next summer. Most of that will come from the state's general fund, with a small portion, by law, chipped in from local property tax revenues.
The new analysis projects even more school money in the years to come -- another $2.6 billion in the fiscal year beginning next July, and another $2.2 billion on top of that in 2016-17. All told, that's close to a $5 billion boost in funding by the time this year's high school freshmen finish their junior year.