Friday, January 17, 2014

State Board of Education approves funding rules

The California Board of Education on Jan.16, approved the funding formula presented  by Gov. Jerry Brown and approved by legislators last year which  gives districts additional dollars based on their share of low-income students, English-language learners and foster children.
School District administrators lobbied the board for months arguing for more  leeway for  schools.  School districts want flexibility to spend such money for all students in the district, but civil rights advocates fear that administrative decisions and bureaucracy will  dilute the intended impact on the targeted students  to   benefit more affluent children.
A coalition of 30 education and advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Advocates and the Children’s Defense Fund in California, sought an amendment Thursday requiring that new funding be “principally directed toward serving students in need”.  The board ultimately approved rules without that change.

Under the funding formula, all school districts receive a base amount of funding. Districts would receive supplemental funding based on their share of English learners, low-income students and foster children. Districts with disadvantaged enrollments exceeding 55 percent of the total  would get even more money, known as concentration grants. The amounts allocated  would increase yearly until 2020-21.
California’s K-12 schools have begun to see a funding surge thanks to a 2012 statewide tax initiative Prop. 30  and a spike in capital gains tax revenue.   The above is based upon reporting in the Sacramento Bee. Read more here:
The rules have been approved. Now it is up to advocacy groups to monitor the dispersal of funds at the local level. 

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