Looking for something else, I came across the following chart that shows California ranks nearly last among States in staff per pupil devoted to K-12 education.
See the second highlighted column "California's Rank." In the 12 categories ranked, California ranks better than 48th place in only three. It is last in the "Total School Staff" ratio. Belying the common complaint that California district offices are bloated with administrative staff, California ranks fatter than only seven other States in the category of "district officials/administrators" per pupil.
The same web page reports that California ranks #1 in average teacher pay and that California devotes a near-average percent of state-wide personal income, 4.5% versus the national average of 4.6%, to K-12 education. In 2006-07, California spent $9,124 per pupil per year, which was 95% of the national average of $9,565. So California seems to be betting that fewer, but higher paid teachers is the best way to educate our kids, which begs the question, "How's that working out?" Of course, it's entirely likely that California has not made a deliberate decision to get better teachers at higher cost and have them teach larger classes. We could also have gotten here by first ramping up teacher pay and then increasing class size to keep the total staff budget capped.
This LAT editorial says that when adjustments are made for variations among States in cost of living, California is only 46th in spending per pupil.