Tuesday, March 18, 2014

California changes its school funding- and your district's budget

 Funding of California’s k-12 public education system is changing fundamentally as a result of Assembly bill 97.  Its centerpiece is the Local Control Funding Formula, designed to send additional funds to districts where Gov. Brown believes “the need and the challenge is greatest.”  The law requires that  parents, students, teachers, and other community members be involved in the process of deciding how new funds are spent. Ed Source has an excellent guide to these changes. http://edsource.org/wp-content/publications/10-questions.pdf

The Governor’s proposed 2014-15 budget includes Proposition 98 spending per K-12 student of nearly $9,200, an increase of almost $1,800 – or nearly one-quarter (24.2 percent) – from 2011-12, after adjusting for inflation. With this significant increase, spending per student would nearly return to where it was before the recession. ( See the California Budget Project below )
Districts now have more money, and a new process for deciding how and where to spend the money.

A goal of the Local Control Funding Formula is to give local school districts more authority to decide how to spend education dollars, and hold them accountable for getting results.  Districts are now deciding on how to spend these increased dollars. And, districts are required to get parental and community sign off on the plans.   At a talk last week at Sac State I made the point that this is a time to insert yourself into the discussion.  Find out what is happening in your district and attend the meetings.


Background.
California’s public schools serve 6.2 million students in more than 1,000 school districts. The Proposition 98 guarantee, which is designed to ensure a minimum level of funding for California’s schools and community colleges, did not prevent deep cuts to state spending for schools during the Great Recession and its aftermath.1 In response to sizeable budget shortfalls, lawmakers reduced the state’s annual Proposition 98 spending level for schools by more than $7 billion – or nearly 15 percent – between 2007-08 and 2011-12. As a result, spending per K-12 student – after adjusting for inflation – dropped from $9,261 in 2007-08 to $7,401 in 2011-12, a decline of $1,860 (Figure 1).
State revenues have increased during the past few years due
to a recovering economy and voter approval of two revenue measures – Propositions 30 and 39 – in November 2012. Higher revenues have, in turn, boosted the Proposition 98 guarantee. The Governor’s proposed 2014-15 budget includes Proposition 98 spending per K-12 student of nearly $9,200, an increase of almost $1,800 – or nearly one-quarter (24.2 percent) – from 2011-12, after adjusting for inflation. With this significant increase, spending per student would nearly return to where it was before the recession.

See the entire report at California Budget Project. www.CBP.org

Ed.Note: The NEA ranks California 34 of the 50 states in per pupil funding in 2012.



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