Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF)

ERAF stands for Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund.  It was created by the state legislature in 1992, with formulas established in 1992-93 and 1993-94 to permanently shift funds from counties, cites, and special districts to ERAF.  The state uses this fund to reduce their obligation to the schools.   ERAF is too complicated to explain in detail here; we will provide references to other sources for ERAF in general, and concentrate on showing the effect ERAF has on fire protection funding in our area.

The movement of funds from taxes originally allocated for other purposes to ERAF is called the ERAF "shift".  The ERAF shift from all other special districts or funds is usually no more than about 15%.  The ERAF shift from the fire protection tax funds from the 10.5 square miles of The Sea ranch is 47%.

CSA 40 reports a "15% shift" of all of its funds to ERAF.  However, if you look at the source of tax funds from the different tax rate areas within CSA 40, the distribution is not equal.  In 2012-13, CSA 40 lost $513,000 (numbers rounded to nearest 1,000) to ERAF.  However, the ERAF shift from The Sea Ranch area was $982,000.  The rest of CSA 40 gained $469,000.

The following shows the growth in total ERAF shift since 1993 (years 1996-2008 skipped to make graph simpler).

An obvious question this brings up is "can we change our ERAF shift?".  The initial answer to that, from county sources, is that it can only be changed by state legislation.  Whether this is actually the final word on that or not, we are not sure.  A more immediate question would be whether our ERAF shift could be changed by forming a Fire Protection District.  It is possible, though not assured, that the ERAF II shift may be reduced if we become a district.  This is one of the factors that needs to be understood as part of evaluating district formation.

If you really, really want to understand the history of ERAF, AB8, special district tax bailouts, and how property tax allocation has functioned and transformed since Proposition 13, have a look at Demystifying the California Property Tax Apportionment System.  (PDF, 2.7 MB). 

The League of California Cities put out this "ERAF Fact Sheet" (PDF, 247 KB).