California’s Tax System

“California’s fiscal problems go well beyond the design of its tax system, but its tax system has certainly contributed to these problems” (Auerbach, 2010). It is a very complex system. There are 6 different taxes: Corporate Income, Sales and Use, Property, Personal Income, Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance and Workers Compensation Insurance.

Corporate Income Tax: California’s tax system uses a method known as unitary.
It determines the portion of income reasonably attributable to the state and thus subject to the Bank and Corporation Franchise Tax. The Appointment Formula equals the percentage of unitary income subject to California’s corporate tax:

California Payroll California Property California Sales California Sales
(percent) + (percent) + (percent) + (percent)

Shasta EDC’s website disclosed, “… January 1, 2011 California businesses will have the option to select a Single Sales Factor. This allows companies to choose to weigh only sales made in the state- not property or payroll- to determine corporate taxes owed” (

Sales and Use Tax: According to Shasta EDC’s website, California sales and use tax has 3 parts: state tax rate, local tax rate and a district tax rate. “Sales tax is imposed at the point of sale. It is the responsibility of the retailer, but paid by the purchaser. Use tax is paid on items purchased for the intent of use in California. Intent of use is defined as used in California within 90 days of purchase” (

Property Tax: Auerbach (2010) states “…property taxes raise a smaller share of income in California than they do for the United States as a whole. This is more remarkable given the very high property values in California; if taxes were levied at the same effective rates in California and the United States as a whole, then the property tax-income ratio would be higher in California than in the United States.” California’s average property tax rate is 1.1%, but uses a parcel basis varies.

Personal Income Tax: “In summary, California’s individual income tax contributes to the volatility of California’s revenues both because the income tax is procyclical to begin with, ad also because of its progressivity and its heavy reliance of particularly volatile sources of income” (Auerbach, 2010).

Unemployment Insurance: “All employers are required to pay into the Unemployment Insurance Fund… new employers are required to pay a rate of 3.4% on the first $7,000 in wages for up to three years. There is a maximum of $434 per employee, per year”(

Disability Insurance: “The State Disability Insurance withholding rate for 2014 is 1.0%. The taxable wage limit is $101,636 for each employee per calendar year. The maximum to withhold for each employee is $1,016.36” (

Workers Compensation Insurance: In 2005, landmark reform legislation known as SB 899 overhauled the system and required primary medical reviews for individuals, establish employer selected doctor networks and introduced uniform standards. “As a result, insurance capital has flowed into the state and new insurers have entered the market. According to the Department of Insurance, base rates have fallen over 35% since January 2004” (

In summary, California has a complex tax system and all citizens owe taxes in some form or fashion. “Most states still use the income tax, sales tax and property tax as their most reliable and lucrative sources of revenue. A combination of these state and local taxes ultimately define the overall tax burden for an individual. The tax burden expresses the relationship between an individual’s income and taxes paid in percentage terms” (Brimley, Verstegen & Garfield, 2012). This is not equitable for taxpayers and in order to achieve adequacy, nuisance taxes that provide a minimum amount of revenue should be avoided. The lowest (varying) tax rate is property taxes at 1.1%. Personal Income Tax is the highest tax ranging from 1.25-10.55% ( Auerbach (2010) confirms, “Individual income taxes are more important and property taxes less important in California than the typical state (p. 11). “Overall, 30.1% of state- local taxes come from property taxes, 23.5% from general sales taxes, 10.9% from selective sale taxes, 22.65% from individual income taxes, 4.7% from corporate income taxes, and 8.2% from licenses and other fees, often referred to as privilege taxes” (Brimley, Verstegen & Garfield, 2012).


Auerbach, A. J., 2010. California’s future tax system. Presented at “Too Big to Fail? Reforming California’s
Constitution for the 21st Century” conference held at USC, February 16-17, 2010.

Brimley, V., Verstegen, D. A., Garfield, R. (2012). Financing education in a climate of
change, 11th edition.

Proposition 30: School and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012

The School and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012, is also known, as Proposition 30 is a constitutional amendment that would secure recent realignment of program and funding. It is designated “… for public safety, health, social services, and related programs by placing the state-to-county revenue shift and key legal protections in the Constitution” (California Budget Project, 2012). The revenues from Prop 30 will be used to create the “Education Protection Act (EPA),” which is kept within the state’s General Fund.

This proposition specifies how funds are distributed and allocated to schools. “The greater share of EPA funds, 89 percent, would go directly to K-12 schools, county offices of education, and charter schools, and the remaining 11 percent directly to community college districts” (California Budget Project, 2012). “The challenge of distributing and expending available revenues with equity and fairness to schools and to students, regardless of the wealth of their parents or their location within a state, is as equally difficult and important as financing education adequately” (Brimley, Verstegen & Garfield, 2012, p. 50).

There is a flipside to Proposition 30. This measure adds 3 new personal income tax rates for wealthy Californians and raises state sales taxes temporary by one-quarter cent. An increase in anyone’s taxes is a touchy subject even if it is designed to fund schools and balance the state’s budget. Will schools receive their fair share? According to the California Budget project (2012), “No school district would receive less than $200 in EPA funds per student, and no community college district would receive less than $100 in EPA funds per student” (p. 2). Public meetings are required to discuss and decide how funds are to be utilized. School districts will disperse the funds to their schools. Will this be equally or adequately dispersed? “Equality means treating everyone the same. Equity means treating them fairly. Spending the same number of dollars on each student is evidence of equality, but it may not be equitable-…” (Brimley, Verstegen & Garfield, 2012, p. 50).


Brimley, V., Verstegen, D. A., Garfield, R. (2012). Financing education in a climate of
change, 11th edition. Pearson.

Proposition 39: California’s Clean Energy Jobs Act

Proposition 39 is California’s Clean Energy Jobs Act. It was put in place “…to support energy efficiency and clean energy projects in K-12 schools and other public buildings. Prop 39 presents a substantial opportunity to help school districts save energy and money (Climate Policy Initiative Organization, 2014). This act allocates revenue to California’s General Fund and the Clean Energy Job Fund Creation. Approximately $550 million dollars is allocated annually in support of Prop 39. This annual allocation (over 5 years) was approved by the Legislature. The appropriation of funds is in support of improving and expanding clean energy and energy efficiency in schools. The school districts must apply by submitting an application to check for eligibility and funds will be distributed to schools that are eligible for the clean energy projects.

Initially, the cost of creating energy efficient schools is costly. Many school districts are taking advantage of Prop 39 to get structures in order with the hope of saving millions of dollars on energy bills in the future. This proposition provides an opportunity to support districts in getting energy efficient projects completed. However, there are challenges like the lack of technical assistance to help guide the projects and financing options. Some districts may consider private capital as a resource at low cost. The primary role of Prop 39 is to provide funding for Clean Energy Projects. Is this fair? Brimley, Verstegen & Garfield (2012) discusses equity in school finance in reference to fairness. “Fairness is more important in financing education than evenness or sameness” (p. 70).

Does Proposition 39 provide equitable and adequate funding for school districts? California’s Clean Energy Jobs Act understands the importance of reducing our carbon footprint through conservation of energy and “going green.” In my opinion, Prop 39 tries to give school districts an opportunity to reduce their enormous energy bills, which will save them money in the future. It is a costly venture to convert schools into energy efficient ones. My biggest concerns are the districts who are not deemed eligible for Prop 39 funds. I am sure this proposition will do a lot of good in California’s future in terms creating energy efficient schools (for those who are eligible) and Clean Energy Jobs. Ask yourself, is this equitable and adequate?


Brimley, V., Verstegen, D. A., Garfield, R. (2012). Financing education in a climate of
change, 11th edition. Pearson.

My Revised Personal Knowledge Management System



My revised Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) System is evidence of my professional growth in leadership with technology. I have achieved many milestones with the tools displayed in my infographic. Gathering and accessing information in the field of education has been made simple with digital devices like: MacBook Pro, iPad and my iPhone. Currently, I am capturing information from my digital companions (my digital devices) from Twitter, RSS feed, and traditional texts (books, magazines and articles). I am proud to say, “My dependency on my email account for receiving, sharing and storing information has decreased. I am using Dropbox instead.” (Oops! I forgot to include the Drop Box icon in my revised PKM infographic. I am still learning how to manage it all!) Seeking information has become less of a chore and more of an adventure. I am receiving a constant stream of information that I am curious about, and information that I never knew I would be interested in from the individuals and establishments that I follow with Twitter.

   Curating information with websites like,,, and are helping me to really reflect on my learning and organize my knowledge digitally. It has afforded me with time saving strategies and reduced countless hours of note-taking practices and revisions on documents. Sensing information allows me to compartmentalize learning and use what I need in the moment and return to other interesting notifications at a later date.

Creating and sharing knowledge is a complete joy. My supportive tools are,,, and They grant me access to the world. I am free to share with family, friends, colleagues, and other professionals. I must admit, I was a little resistant starting a PKM System because it was a new concept for me. I was introduced to this system about 6 weeks ago. Now, I am feeling more comfortable and confident with technology.

*Harold Jarche is an expert in this field. Visit the link to learn more at

* Dr. Bonni (my professor’s blog)


A Digital Role Model

“Digital conversion allows educators to level the playing field and provide every student, including at-risk learners, with anytime/anywhere access to resources and the opportunity to develop the skills they need for today’s workplace” (Edwards 2014).

Are educators in your school afraid of technology? Are they ready to revamp their classrooms with the use of technology? How will you, as an educational leader, support them? This concept described by Edwards (2014) is known as a “digital conversion.” Its the inclusion of digital tools (computers, tablets, cellular phones, electronic dictionaries, and etc.) in the classroom.“Digital conversion refers to the transformation of instruction from a paper based world to a primarily digital world, in which every student and teacher has access to a personal computing device and the Internet anytime/anywhere” (Edwards, 2014).

Are educators ready to embrace the thought of a “digital conversion?” If you answered, “No or may be!” I recommend that educational leaders start small with a discussion about technology in the classroom. You may want to pose a question on an anonymous poll using (Hint! hint! Your team would be using technology). Use the poll results to further the discussion. Then, slowly introduce technology into professional developments. Start with technology that is interactive, supports learning and student engagement (,,, and Allow teachers time to explore (and just have fun). Next, challenge them to introduce a website that they enjoyed to their students before the next meeting. Tell them the next meeting will begin with a share-out of how students’ responded to technology in the classroom. Lastly, include a weekly “digital conversion” share-out at the start of each professional development. Assign or create a sign-up for grade level teams to introduce a new digital discovery at every meeting.

Educational leaders must set the tone for a “digital conversion”in their learning environment. Staff members should see their leader modeling how to use technology efficiently and effectively. May be you are not comfortable with technology, that’s ok. Let your staff know that this is a learning experience for you and let the learning begin.


Edwards, M. A., 2014. Every child, every day. Pearson Education, Inc.

Summer Learning for Leaders


      This blog entry was inspired by an article from, “The Myth of Having Summers Off.” I agree that teachers just don’t get a summer off, free of any responsibility. There is plenty to do and learn. Just like teachers, educational leaders are busy organizing and preparing for the new school year. There are workshops, conferences, professional developments and meetings to attend. And in between all of that, there are emails to respond to, phone calls to return, appointments to schedule, current research methods to catch up on, things to share on your blog page, people to follow on Twitter and find some time to just sit back and relax. There is no such thing as a vacation in the field of education (in my opinion). Even when you don’t want to think of the students or other school related items, the thoughts keep coming. They do not go away until you address them or make a note to attend to it later.

      Summer learning for leaders is nonstop! Just because you wrapped up an awesome school year doesn’t mean it is over. You must start planning for a fantastic beginning. Leaders must take the time to reflect and evaluate the previous school year (as they find time to relax, refresh & rejuvenate physically and mentally). They must critically analyze what worked well and what needs improvement in the system. The learning for leaders is knowing what was successful, and can the team make the magic happen again?

My Ideal Learning Space

My Ideal Learning Space

In the post, “What is Your Ideal Learning Space?” by Allison Zmuda got me to thinking and curating. What would my ideal learning space resemble. First of all, I’d definitely need more that one space. How I choose to meditate, reflect, create or learn often depends on my mood. My space must allow me to relax, be comfortable and near a body of water. Imagine a violet-colored Lazy Boy recliner floating out in the middle of a calming sea; and there I am in the midst with my laptop and sunglasses. Now that’s just one of my ideal learning spaces. What’s yours?