Until now, the greatest tension over Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed school finance reform has been largely among districts: a political tussle between unhappy suburban and optimistic urban school factions over how new education dollars should be divvied up. But signs of discord in Los Angeles Unified indicate that the same battles over money may eventually play out among “winner” and “loser” schools within large diverse districts – like Oakland, San Diego and San Jose – that have both high- and low-income schools.

While Los Angeles Unified as a whole will significantly benefit from Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, which steers extra dollars to districts with lots of poor children and English learners, schools in Sherman Oaks and other relatively prosperous neighborhoods in LAUSD may not. Parents there are worried that their schools may be left behind, unable to afford essential programs and services, from summer school to physical education teachers, that other schools in the district will have.

In large part, the issue is over the difference between the base funding per student and the supplementary dollars for high-needs students that Brown has proposed; suburban districts without English learners and low-income students – the targeted groups – say that the base is too low, that it will not completely restore districts to the funding they had before the recession in 2007. Both the Senate and the Assembly have passed alternative versions of LCFF with a higher base, though they take different approaches.

But also at play is the extent to which districts will have flexibility in deciding how the extra dollars for high-needs students can be used – whether that money will have to be spent exclusively on high-needs students at their schools (one way of preventing money from disappearing at the district office) or whether schools and districts can use some of the money for summer school, counselors, assistant principals or computers to benefit other students and all schools as well.

The direction should become clearer soon. Staff and legislative leaders from the Senate and Assembly are negotiating with Brown’s staff on the details of the formula and the restrictions on how money can be used. They want to cut a deal within days so that a final bill can be voted on next week.

Where the money goes

Under the LCFF, Brown is proposing three funding elements: base funding for all students, based on most but not all of what the average district got in 2007-08, plus cost-of-living adjustments; a supplemental amount equaling 35 percent of the base for every English learner, low-income student and foster child in the school; and a bonus amount, called a concentration grant, up to 17 percent of the base, for districts in which at least half of the students are high-needs.

Los Angeles Unified Board Member Tamar Galatzan during an interview by KLCS television during a meeting of the Valley Schools Task Force last month.

Los Angeles Unified Board Member Tamar Galatzan during an interview by KLCS television during a meeting of the Valley Schools Task Force last month.

Los Angeles Unified, with 70 percent of students classified as low-income and 28 percent English learners, would get a lot of extra dollars overall: nearly $12,000 per student, among the highest allocations in the state, once the system is fully implemented in an estimated seven years. Most of the 784 schools in the district would qualify for supplementary and concentration dollars, but in about 77 schools, serving about 8 percent of students, 40 percent or fewer of the students are low-income, qualifying them for no concentration dollars and fewer supplementary dollars. In San Diego Unified, it’s 41 out of 222 schools. In Los Angeles Unified, schools with less than 50 percent of students in poverty also don’t qualify for federal Title I dollars for low-income students.

A lot is at stake. Among those awaiting word from Sacramento is Tamar Galatzan, an LAUSD board member who represents much of the racially and economically diverse San Fernando Valley. Parents from her district attended a presentation at the Valley Schools Task Force on the proposed funding formula last month that she organized to “start the discussion,” she said.

Parents in her area are particularly anxious, because their schools lost resources when the district raised the threshold for receiving federal Title I money from 40 percent low-income children attending the school to 50 percent. They suspect the district may steer LCFF money away from them, too. “This spring our PTA was asked to fund a long list of basic salaried positions and equipment (among these, part-time classroom aides and a librarian, arts educators, technology for students and staff),” Janet Borrus, a parent at Dahlia Heights Elementary School, with just under 50 percent low-income children in the Eagle Rock area of the city, wrote in an email. “Try though we might, we cannot afford to. We should not have to. Nor should our low-income students be asked to peddle cookie dough to raise money for their own academic intervention.”

This week, Galatzan introduced one of two board resolutions, which will be voted on later this month, providing guidance to Superintendent John Deasy on using the district’s LCFF funding. Galatzan’s resolution would require that LCFF dollars for high-needs students “follow the child to the school site” and asks Deasy to prepare “different allocation models” showing how the money would follow students. Yet the resolution also would require that the allocation models “take into consideration the base level of funding every school needs to survive and thrive – regardless of zip code, size or composition” and asks Deasy to determine what that base should be.

Galatzan acknowledged in an interview the tension of two potentially conflicting goals of directing dollars to high-needs students who generated them under the formula and setting a level of spending for all students exceeding what Brown has defined as base funding under the LCFF.

“There must be a funding floor below which we are not going to go,” Galatzan said. “We as a district must be committed to providing access to a certain level of services that every child deserves.”

The other competing resolution, proposed by three board members, makes the same assumption, calling for a three-year district-wide plan to restore class sizes and provide an expanded school year, enrichment programs, counselors, librarians and teacher raises. This option doesn’t distinguish the specific needs of high-needs students.

Senate, Assembly approaches

Much of the anxiety among suburban districts and middle-class schools within poor districts would dissipate if the base funding per student in the LCFF were raised. Brown proposes, at full implementation, between $6,437 per student in grades 4-6 to $7,680 per student for high school. The Senate’s budget raised this by about 9 percent – between $568 and $688 per student, depending on the grade. But the Senate assumed $4 billion more in state revenue by 2019-20 than the Department of Finance and raised the base in part by eliminating the concentration factor – a move Brown has rejected. Without extra revenue, raising the base would require stretching out the implementation period or reducing dollars for high-needs students – one option on the table that advocates for these students would fight and Brown hasn’t indicated he’d support, said Rick Simpson, deputy chief of staff to Assembly Speaker John Pérez, D-Los Angeles.

The Assembly took a different tack, offering districts an alternative to the LCFF that fully restores their funds to pre-recession levels but does not provide extra money for targeted students. Districts would choose whichever option is better. It’s not clear how much money this new option would divert from the LCFF.

The LCFF’s final fiscal accountability language will be critical. Brown’s overall view is to give school boards flexibility to make decisions while making sure that the spending plan is transparent and dollars for high-needs students are spent on them. The May budget revision says that supplementary dollars “should be proportional to the enrollment at each school site” of the targeted students. It also says the concentration grants should “primarily benefit” high-needs students. The Senate’s version would impose a stricter legal condition, that the extra dollars “supplement not supplant” dollars spent on high-needs students; they must provide extra services and staff.

It’s a balancing act. On the one hand, schools should avoid spending that creates segregated programs that should be better put toward a schoolwide benefit, said Arun Ramanathan, executive director of Oakland-based Education Trust-West, which advocates for underserved students. But at what threshold of disadvantaged students is there enough money generated to spread around, to shift from tutoring for disadvantaged students to an extra counselor for all students?

Districts should have flexibility to use supplementary dollars to create common strategies, say, for all English learners, Ramanathan said. But base funding, not supplementary dollars, should pay for teachers’ raises, he said.

Districts are anxious to restore programs and staff positions that were cut over the past five years. The danger is that money will end up committed long-term, at the expense of poor students for whom the new funding system was intended, Ramanathan said.


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  1. navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

    I think John brings up an important point which is that regardless of whatever logic might be found in Paul's or Manuel's posts, there will be people who dogmatically disagree that any increase in funding should be going to pay raises (even regardless of base or supplement--remember 'base' is increasing as well). The one benefit in this being 'local' is that those differences can be hashed out at the district level. Regardless, I expect John's … Read More

    I think John brings up an important point which is that regardless of whatever logic might be found in Paul’s or Manuel’s posts, there will be people who dogmatically disagree that any increase in funding should be going to pay raises (even regardless of base or supplement–remember ‘base’ is increasing as well). The one benefit in this being ‘local’ is that those differences can be hashed out at the district level. Regardless, I expect John’s point to win in the political theater in most of those venues.
    While I agree with general idea of the benefit of being able to attract talent, I would dispute that this is enough money to do that. I also dispute that even the base is sufficient to run a school to the extent we dont need to ask someone else to step in and help (either SSC or PTA or Ed Foundation, etc). In fact, that is one of the reasons for my first point.

    Replies

    • Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

      Hello, Navigio. I completely agree that there will be opposition to raises, even though the first three types that I listed are part of the normal course of business for any employer of professionals. That's why I used the word "doctrinaire". I understand John's reluctance to entertain the last two kinds of raises that I mentioned, adjustmemts to the salary scale (such as increasing starting pay) and incentives for time worked in challenging schools. I also … Read More

      Hello, Navigio. I completely agree that there will be opposition to raises, even though the first three types that I listed are part of the normal course of business for any employer of professionals. That’s why I used the word “doctrinaire”.

      I understand John’s reluctance to entertain the last two kinds of raises that I mentioned, adjustmemts to the salary scale (such as increasing starting pay) and incentives for time worked in challenging schools. I also understand your perception that there isn’t enough money.

      Still, if I were appointed superintendent of a high-need district that still had a starting salary below $40,000, contained one or two high-performing schools among many low-performing ones, and was geographically close to higher-performing and better-paying districts, I would definitely recommend competitive starting salaries and an incentive program to my board.

      My proposal would be time-limited and would be part of a comprehensive effort to recruit, support, and retain teachers. I would study and report on retention at the district and school level, and try to show a correlation between staffing stability and metrics such as increased test scores and passing rates, and reduced disciplinary incidents.

      If my hypothesis were wrong, at the end of five years I’d cheerfully rehire the old personnel director, restore the $37,000 starting teacher salary, resume (illegally) hiring all newcomers on temporary contracts, and dump everyone at the end of each year.

      There’s generally a correlation between low student performance and high teacher turnover. Teachers don’t like to work in low-performing schools. Competitive compensation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reduced turnover. One difficulty is that compensation adjustments that should be experimental and do require intelligent study often become permanent and automatic. The other difficulty is that it’s rare for school districts to integrate a compensation program with a comprehensive retention program.

      Districts just don’t “do” retention well. They don’t have to, as long as there is a steady supply of stary-eyed CSU undergraduates who “love to work with children” and will do so for peanuts. LCF — which, thankfully, doesn’t contain Arun’s desired ban on raises — offers a potential financial tool to districts where low student performance and high teacher turnover happen to coincide.

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      Yes, Navigio, that is where the conversation should be going.

      Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen because all the Oxygen will be sucked out by the fight to distribute the “spoils.”

      Bring some popcorn, will ya?

  2. John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

    What is your organization, Rob?

  3. Rob 3 years ago3 years ago

    Things interesting to note: (1) Mr Fensterwald continues to advocate the popular the popular misconception ("one way of preventing money from disappearing at the district office"). Public money does not disappear nor is it hidden within public school financial reports. If you do not understand something ask; (2) Ths discussion seems to forget that all schoos have not received 22% of the funding required by law because of the financial mismanagemnet in Sacramento, and Brown;'s … Read More

    Things interesting to note: (1) Mr Fensterwald continues to advocate the popular the popular misconception (“one way of preventing money from disappearing at the district office”). Public money does not disappear nor is it hidden within public school financial reports. If you do not understand something ask; (2) Ths discussion seems to forget that all schoos have not received 22% of the funding required by law because of the financial mismanagemnet in Sacramento, and Brown;’s plan simply panders to the democratic voting block in LA…it has nothing to do with “fairness” or leveling the funding. If this was the case, why would a district with 18 kids get the same funding for home to school transportation as a district in the same county with 23,000? (this is not a misprint); (3) LCFF after the May Revise is no longer about any Local Control, it is about the State continuing to inject politics into an educational setting at the expense of children. Politicians have interferred with the educational process for the last 60 sixty or so years by carving money to go to this program or that focusing on inputs rather than outputs. District leadership has worked very hard to focus on outputs while trying to manage the inputs to appease the politicans. Even the federal government recognizes that there is a cost of doing business (go back to the first point). Who do you think has to deal with and report all the state and federal mandates and reports? It certainly is not a classroom teacher or site employee; (4) What’s lost in all this is that the base grant at “full” funding represents an 8% decrease in available funds necesaary to operate the business, (pay for water, lights, HVAC, toilet paper, etc.). (5) As far as raises not coming out of any public funding…people have to provide services and most people like to be paid. I realize that Jerry Brown and the Legislature are in the process of creating second class children in this State (those who are not EL, LI or foster children)…without allowig for a fair share to operate the district it is the second class children whose education program will have to absorb the entire bureaucracy created by the State…that should make Mr. Ramanathan and organizations like his very happy. In my organization we care about all our kids

    Replies

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      Based on your comments, I'd say that your organization is not LAUSD because you might be able to ask but you won't get the response that will help you understand the information they may or may not give you. I have deliberately not waded into the "but you were supposed to give me more money" waters. There is no way we can have a reasonable discussion on that because 1) there is no more money to … Read More

      Based on your comments, I’d say that your organization is not LAUSD because you might be able to ask but you won’t get the response that will help you understand the information they may or may not give you.

      I have deliberately not waded into the “but you were supposed to give me more money” waters. There is no way we can have a reasonable discussion on that because 1) there is no more money to give, and 2) even if there was, we would have to pry off someone else. So, no, I am not going there.

      It is far easier to look at what has been put on the table before and what is being offered now. If I get lucky, I can find out how much of the money is “disappearing at the district office.” And, yes, it is all political because there’s never been a definition of what the “free public education” is supposed to offer. The only de facto set is the handful of required courses to be able to attend school and the subject that CSTs cover. Other than that, it is like pulling teeth.

      Right now, the so-called “school-site programs” that LAUSD claims it needs to run the system are taking 40% of the unrestricted funds given by the state. Are all those programs justified? Who knows because we don’t have access to the documentation. What is the “cost of doing business” at small districts? What is it in yours, Rob?

      • el 3 years ago3 years ago

        Fundamentally, I think LAUSD is just plain too large and too far away from the people it serves. When you are spending so much money it is just too easy for a million here or a million there to go missing. I've used this idea before: with over 700 schools going 180 days, it is not possible for any one person to visit them all in any meaningful way in less than two years if that … Read More

        Fundamentally, I think LAUSD is just plain too large and too far away from the people it serves. When you are spending so much money it is just too easy for a million here or a million there to go missing.

        I’ve used this idea before: with over 700 schools going 180 days, it is not possible for any one person to visit them all in any meaningful way in less than two years if that is all you did. That wouldn’t even account for time to take notes. The whole thing is just too large to fit in any one person’s head, really in any way.

  4. Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

    Ah, you too have a keen eye for poison pills, Manuel! Indeed, teacher raises would have been a prohibited use of Proposition 38 funds.

  5. Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

    I just love Arun Ramanathan's doctrinaire opposition to spending LCFF funds on teacher raises. Such a position is exactly what I'd expect from someone who is unfamiliar with prevailing compensation ppractices in California public school districts. It is not, however, what I'd expect from someone who wants better teachers and understands that there is a marketplace for talent. Let's set aside the questions of: (1) step and column movement (for increased experience and additional study, … Read More

    I just love Arun Ramanathan’s doctrinaire opposition to spending LCFF funds on teacher raises. Such a position is exactly what I’d expect from someone who is unfamiliar with prevailing compensation ppractices in California public school districts. It is not, however, what I’d expect from someone who wants better teachers and understands that there is a marketplace for talent.

    Let’s set aside the questions of: (1) step and column movement (for increased experience and additional study, respectively), (2) periodic cost-of-living increases (recognition of inflation), and (3) periodic increases in insurance premiums (affecting the portion contributed by school employers, for employers that do contribute to the cost of medical insurance). Ignoring these questions means that we will pretend that the total compensation of teachers employed with LCFF supplemental and/or concentration allocations can remain fixed.

    Even if we grant this fiction, raising beginning teacher salaries, and offering financial incentives to teachers who spend one or more years in challenging schools, would be ways to attract talent and stabilize staffing. Without the prospect of competitive pay, smart undergraduate students choose other professions, and newly-trained teachers, other districts. Without stability, improvements in school culture and investments in professional development walk out the door every June.

    Individual (step and column) and group (wage and benefit inflation) pay increases are rational uses of base, supplementary and concentration allocations under LCF.

    Salary scale adjustments and strategic incentives are rational uses of supplementary and concentration allocations.

    Replies

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      I think Arun is pretending that Prop 38 passed, not Prop 30.

      Besides, what else is he going to say without alienating his funders and fellow travelers?

      • John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

        Manuel: What Arun is saying makes sense and is consistent with the intent of the formula. Pay raises for staff should be covered by the base and not the supplement or the concentration grants, which are intended for the extra needs of low-income students and English learners. I would think that stipends to attract teachers to high-needs schools, extra money for coaching, aides -- other spending that would improve the teaching conditions at the school … Read More

        Manuel: What Arun is saying makes sense and is consistent with the intent of the formula. Pay raises for staff should be covered by the base and not the supplement or the concentration grants, which are intended for the extra needs of low-income students and English learners. I would think that stipends to attract teachers to high-needs schools, extra money for coaching, aides — other spending that would improve the teaching conditions at the school — would be among appropriate uses. That’s not to say that the base should not be higher in order to cover fair raises of teachers whose pay has been cut over the past five years. But there should be a bright line between supplemental and base spending, wherever that eventually is drawn.
        I have included this link before.(Los Angeles County districts and charters begin on page 12.) It’s deceiving to compare with schools receive now with what they would be at full implementation of the LCFF. The Department of Finance prepared that apples to apples comparison, at the request of Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, comparing full funding of the formula and what districts would get under the status quo in seven years, after $15.5 billion in new anticipated revenue is distributed. It is enlightening. Positive numbers in the far right column indicate net losses under the LDFF; negative amounts indicate net gains under the status quo. I have repeatedly asked DOF for the Excel sheets on which the .pdf is based, to no avail.
        I didn’t see Dahlia Heights on the list, perhaps because it is a dependent charter.

        • Paul Muench 3 years ago3 years ago

          If schools decide to go with smaller class sizes I would hope using the necessary funds would be an option.

        • Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

          John, it's not enough to say (and I don't think that Arun makes the distinction, in any case) that teacher raises should come from the base allocation. Teachers whose entire salaries will be funded from the supplemental and concentration allocations will also need raises of the three different types that I described. Those positions will be like today's categorically-funded positions. If the initial salary comes from supplemental or concentration funds, then so must any raises. I'm … Read More

          John, it’s not enough to say (and I don’t think that Arun makes the distinction, in any case) that teacher raises should come from the base allocation. Teachers whose entire salaries will be funded from the supplemental and concentration allocations will also need raises of the three different types that I described. Those positions will be like today’s categorically-funded positions. If the initial salary comes from supplemental or concentration funds, then so must any raises.

          I’m reminded of the University of California’s long-standing argument against across-the-board raises for support staff. Citing general fund pressures, the University opposes raises even for workers in ancillary, self-supporting business units with separate (and still-healthy) revenue streams, such as housing, transportation, third-party research and hospitals.

          • John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

            Maybe I am not making myself clear, Paul. The base salaries of teachers and staff at schools with high-needs schools should not be paid out of supplemental and concentration money. The base per student funding should pay for that that for everyone in the district. Once supplemental and concentration grants are funneled to the bargaining table, the value of LCFF will be lost. The issue appears to be the size of the base.

            • Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

              Hello, John. Maybe we're miscommunicating. At the very least, wouldn't some portion of the supplementary and concentration allocations be spent on additional teaching positions (formerly categorical positions) at high-need schools, and wouldn't those teachers require raises over time? I'm thinking of pull-out and push-in intervention teachers, ELD teachers, and even, in some school innovation models, teachers hired to reduce class size. If a teacher's initial salary comes from the supplementary or concentration allocation, eventual raises … Read More

              Hello, John. Maybe we’re miscommunicating. At the very least, wouldn’t some portion of the supplementary and concentration allocations be spent on additional teaching positions (formerly categorical positions) at high-need schools, and wouldn’t those teachers require raises over time? I’m thinking of pull-out and push-in intervention teachers, ELD teachers, and even, in some school innovation models, teachers hired to reduce class size. If a teacher’s initial salary comes from the supplementary or concentration allocation, eventual raises would also come from those allocations, no?

            • John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

              Good point, Paul. I see what you are saying.

        • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

          To be perfectly clear, I don't recall that Prop 30 promised that there would be a base/supplemental/concentration split on the educational funds. (I promise I'll go hunt for the text of the initiative and read it). Having said that, it would be ideal that the base pays for all the "base" needs of a school and local site councils no longer feel the need to pay for nurse time, classroom aides (special or otherwise), counselors, etc., … Read More

          To be perfectly clear, I don’t recall that Prop 30 promised that there would be a base/supplemental/concentration split on the educational funds. (I promise I’ll go hunt for the text of the initiative and read it).

          Having said that, it would be ideal that the base pays for all the “base” needs of a school and local site councils no longer feel the need to pay for nurse time, classroom aides (special or otherwise), counselors, etc., from categorical funds. Under those circumstances, certainly, there should be a bright line.

          Unfortunately, the federal government has already mucked that up when it approved so-called “schoolwide” programs. Since districts know how to work within those parameters and believe that they will be given similar discretion (at least LAUSD believes that), then it will be business as usual with a new revenue source.

          Given that the current base and the categorical funds are used to pay for all kinds of things, why are you surprised that teachers want to get raises, regardless of what you call the fund source? Paul’s point is the same as mine: some of the supplemental money will go to pay teachers. To say, as Prop 38 did, that no money should go to raises is simply naive and needlessly obfuscates the discussion. To insist on that as a matter of ideological purity will muddy the waters even further.

          Dahlia Heights Elementary is not nor has it ever been a charter, dependent or otherwise. That is why it is not on the list. This, BTW, reinforces the fact that individual charters are treated as if they are their own LEA, even though many of them are part of a “system.” (All the Animo schools in LA County are managed by Green Dot, for example. I just don’t understand why Sacramento allowed this when the charter legislature was put together. But that’s the product of sausage making, I guess.)

          In regards to the numbers used in that chart you provided, I’m sure LAUSD would vigorously dispute the cited 2011-12 ADA allocation ($7,509). The District’s 2011-12 budget says, in p. III-15, that their ADA is $5,265.03 for that year. Of course, if you go to http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/fd/ec/currentexpense.asp and peek at the 2011-12 spreadsheet, you’ll see that the state claims it spent $10,004 per kid at LAUSD. SSC, BTW, told LAUSD that the ADA would be $5,165. So who has the correct number? Given this uncertainty, I would be weary of accepting any number thrown around unless I knew the source and can track it backwards.

          FWIW, the amount I gave for Dahlia Hghts is based on their current enrollment and the current number of kids defined as Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, per DataQuest. All I did is multiply the numbers by the allocations published by the Governor without hunting for any other sources like Special Ed and the like.

          • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

            No, it did not say that and I was not talking about base vs supplement etc. this was about the increase in education spending overall as a result of prop 30 (I believe john mockler did one of those analyses, though I asked him about it and he never responded–its somewhere online still). I was comparing that to the change in education spending as claimed by the state budget proposal under LCFF.

  6. Kay McElrath 3 years ago3 years ago

    Under the LCFF formula, the target funding level for an independent charter school (organized under a 501c nonprofit corp) would be calculated based upon its own demographics, not the district. Funding would be relatively equitable once fully implemented with the following exceptions: Charters would generally not receive any TIIG funding (the only ones who have it today were district schools that converted and kept the TIIG that was previously assigned to the district school) Charters would … Read More

    Under the LCFF formula, the target funding level for an independent charter school (organized under a 501c nonprofit corp) would be calculated based upon its own demographics, not the district. Funding would be relatively equitable once fully implemented with the following exceptions:
    Charters would generally not receive any TIIG funding (the only ones who have it today were district schools that converted and kept the TIIG that was previously assigned to the district school)
    Charters would not receive transportation funding (district with transportation funding in 2012-13 keep it)
    Charters whose percentage of FRL/ELL/foster students is higher than their resident district would be capped for the purposes of the concentration grant at the district level

    Some charters will fare well under LCFF and some will not. Many charters currently receive categorical funding that is well below the average for districts and some of those will gain significantly if they serve a high percentage of students eligible for the supplemental and concentration funding.

    Replies

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      At LAUSD, two conversion magnets (Palisades and Granada Hills) saw their magnets taken away from them at the end of 2009-10. How exactly that was done, I don't know. But I recall the District first took away transportation from Pacific Palisades and then transferred the magnet to University High. At Granada, I think LAUSD just took it off its list of magnets. Granada then folded the former magnet program into their STEM program. So, if there … Read More

      At LAUSD, two conversion magnets (Palisades and Granada Hills) saw their magnets taken away from them at the end of 2009-10. How exactly that was done, I don’t know. But I recall the District first took away transportation from Pacific Palisades and then transferred the magnet to University High. At Granada, I think LAUSD just took it off its list of magnets. Granada then folded the former magnet program into their STEM program.

      So, if there is no magnet attached to any of the charters, then they get no transportation or TIIG funding. Problem solved at LAUSD, no?

      BTW, this put the fear of G-d onto other high schools with magnets in their campuses. Nothing like killing the chicken to scare the monkey.

    • el 3 years ago3 years ago

      The concentration funding is especially attractive under the charter model because we’re using ELL and income status as proxies for kids who need extra support and help. If you get to keep the kids that are academically inclined and a good fit with your program and counsel out the ones that really need those additional funds, you can build some really excellent schools.

      IE, having a parent base of foreign graduate students is an LCFF dream come true. 🙂

      • Paul 3 years ago3 years ago

        el, that made me laugh! Want to found a charter school with me (to complement my college-preparatory preschool, funded from another source of new money)? Your point about potential LCF manipulations by charters reminds me of my question, from when "weighted student funding" was proposed a year ago, about whether the state was planning to audit home language surveys, initial CELDT scores and subsequent RFEP decisions, and to check for unexplained spikes in the EL population. … Read More

        el, that made me laugh! Want to found a charter school with me (to complement my college-preparatory preschool, funded from another source of new money)?

        Your point about potential LCF manipulations by charters reminds me of my question, from when “weighted student funding” was proposed a year ago, about whether the state was planning to audit home language surveys, initial CELDT scores and subsequent RFEP decisions, and to check for unexplained spikes in the EL population. Clever districts could earn more LCF supplemental funds, and perhaps even qualify for concentration funds, by classifying a larger percentage of students as ELs and reclassifying them more slowly than before.

  7. Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

    There are many issues with what is going at the local level at LAUSD. The main one is that the District runs only school-wide programs for Title I, Part A. This means that nowhere in the District are targeted programs that serve specific children. Why does the District do this? Because this allows it to spend the money by giving it to each school and then the local site council decides how to spend it. Often, what … Read More

    There are many issues with what is going at the local level at LAUSD.

    The main one is that the District runs only school-wide programs for Title I, Part A. This means that nowhere in the District are targeted programs that serve specific children.

    Why does the District do this? Because this allows it to spend the money by giving it to each school and then the local site council decides how to spend it. Often, what this means is that the principal decides and that’s it. As you can imagine, this leads to much inefficiency and dubious spending choices. And possibly not much academic progress, we just don’t know without an audit.

    Last year, District educrats convinced the Board to increase the poverty threshold to 50% instead of 40%. This left 20 schools out in the cold. 8 of them became “affiliated” charters in order to qualify for a $380/child block grant. The other 12 were given $200/child from EIA/EDY funds and did not go charter. This year, it is the same problem again. These 20 schools served only 7,485 kids in 2012-13 but the Title I money was a significant part of their budget.

    Yet, Deasy maintains that restoring that funding would take money from poorer schools to give it to wealthier schools. How could a school like Dahlia Heights, which has a 47% poverty level, could be considered a wealthy school defies common sense.

    So, yes, it is all political. And if you don’t believe me, watch the exchange between David Tokofsky, former LAUSD Board member, with Superintendent Deasy during the June 4 Special Board meeting. Video is available at http://lausd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=56. Tokofsky’s presentation starts at 3:07:23. And if you want to see parents, adult ed students, staff, etc., talk about what this fight over funding means to their schools start at 1:47:43. But get some a box of tissues first.

    Replies

    • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

      btw, the last time I checked, charter school funding would be based on the charter's demographics, not the surrounding district's demographics, although I have also seen someone claim the latter. It would be useful to know for sure what the latest version does, as well as whether a group of charters would have their demographics 'combined' or what happens for a county or state approved charter (assuming the surrounding area has some impact on funding). … Read More

      btw, the last time I checked, charter school funding would be based on the charter’s demographics, not the surrounding district’s demographics, although I have also seen someone claim the latter. It would be useful to know for sure what the latest version does, as well as whether a group of charters would have their demographics ‘combined’ or what happens for a county or state approved charter (assuming the surrounding area has some impact on funding). In our area, most of the white (or affluent–we have one exclusively minority but extremely high PEL charter for example) kids who are not in private schools are in charters, so the demographics of those charters is obviously extremely different than that of the surrounding public system.

      • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

        I've never researched your question. But it implies that the charter would be treated as if it is a LEA. Checking into the most common databases, DataQuest and the STAR results, there is a conflict: the charters are listed under the entity that authorized their charter in DataQuest while in STAR they are listed as if they are their own LEA. I know that a charter school gets its own funding stream and deals directly … Read More

        I’ve never researched your question. But it implies that the charter would be treated as if it is a LEA. Checking into the most common databases, DataQuest and the STAR results, there is a conflict: the charters are listed under the entity that authorized their charter in DataQuest while in STAR they are listed as if they are their own LEA. I know that a charter school gets its own funding stream and deals directly with CALPADS, while “affiliated” charters within LAUSD have a mixed fiscal situation. Being an “affiliated” will cease to make any difference after 2014-15 for established “affiliated” charters because the block grant goes away then. For those who will go “affiliated” next year, the block grant is no more.

        The bottom line is that for a charter to be approved by LAUSD (at least on paper), it has to offer to first serve its “service” area and use a lottery otherwise. A non-affiliated charter controls all its finances and, at least on paper, does not have the high overhead of LAUSD, where roughly 40% of unrestricted funds go to district-wide “programs.” Therefore, schools like Granada Hills Community Charter can afford all their programs on the current ADA. It doesn’t hurt that for many years they shed their problem kids back to LAUSD (someone else called it “attrition” instead of “counseling out”).

        In LAUSD you have two types of charters: Independent Start-Up mostly in minority-majority areas or Affiliated Conversion in relatively well-off areas. Why is this? Because the “educational entrepreneur” goes where parents are seeking alternatives with little parental involvement and avoids those areas where parents are heavily involved in their community schools. There, the parents, who are either college educated or successful in business, get fed up with all the hassles of dealing with LAUSD budgets and bureaucracy and simply elect to shoulder the burden of running “their” school via a 501(c)(3). (A prime example is Carpenter Community Charter School, an elementary school that is now checking on the actual residency of its students to reduce carpet-baggers.) If a conversion charter demographics include a sizable poor population it brings in extra money. I would suspect that LCFF will increase the number of charters because the ADA will be proportionally higher with poor kids in the mix. If Gov. Brown’s LCFF was the law right now, for example, Dahlia Heights Elementary would get $3,023,270 in Basic and Supplemental funding. Currently, it gets $1,853,034. (These figures do not include Special Ed costs which should be separate.) Clearly, if the college-educated parents of their neighborhood take over the 501(c)(3) burden, they would come out $1.2 million ahead. This is what Tokofsky referred to in his remarks which were imperiously dismissed by Superintendent Deasy.

        So Gov. Brown is wrong: Westwood residents won’t move to Compton. Instead, they’ll turn their schools into charters. In fact, they have done so already as Westwood Elementary is a charter. BTW, Beverly Hills is a basic-aid district plus they have the Beverly Hills Education Foundation, http://bhef.org/core/mission.jsp, so they ain’t movin’ to the ‘hood.

        • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

          Yeah, from an accountability perspective charters are treated inconsistently. Kind of weird actually. I meant as it pertains to LCFF funding calculations. In an earlier version of the law, I actually read through the text and found some areas specific to charters. I was just wondering how/whether those things had changed. The block grant change is also an important factor.
          Anyway, I still contend LCFF is a smokescreen to hide that we’re not holding ourselves to even prop 30 promises..

          • TransParent 3 years ago3 years ago

            Agree with you, Navigio. I have learned the hard way over 20 years as a public school parent, community member and advocate for families in public schools in LA, Sacramento and Washington, DC. Enlightened self-interest by LAUSD most often trumps what is truly best for children and their families whether we are discussing parent involvement, collective bargaining, teacher effectiveness or budgets. How people functioning in systems like these can understand the meaning of fiscal transparency … Read More

            Agree with you, Navigio. I have learned the hard way over 20 years as a public school parent, community member and advocate for families in public schools in LA, Sacramento and Washington, DC. Enlightened self-interest by LAUSD most often trumps what is truly best for children and their families whether we are discussing parent involvement, collective bargaining, teacher effectiveness or budgets. How people functioning in systems like these can understand the meaning of fiscal transparency and accountability when they have a history of avoiding such practice is just expecting too much. For years, I have been told by the bureaucrats, ” You expect too much. Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.” Where our children are concerned, where excellence is sought and the public is being served, “good” is never enough.

            • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

              Mr. Transparent®: have you given up, sir? You now believe, like those cynics amongst us, that people can't be trusted to do what is right? How about if the hoi polloi revolt against them? What if an LAUSD Board member finally stands up and says that the Emperor (that would be the Superintendent and his entire staff) has no clothes and then goes to the window and yells "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it … Read More

              Mr. Transparent®: have you given up, sir? You now believe, like those cynics amongst us, that people can’t be trusted to do what is right?

              How about if the hoi polloi revolt against them?

              What if an LAUSD Board member finally stands up and says that the Emperor (that would be the Superintendent and his entire staff) has no clothes and then goes to the window and yells “I’m mad as hell and I’m not taking it anymore!” What then?

              That might be expecting too much, true. But it could happen!! No?

          • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

            what chu' talkin' 'bout, Willis? Are you saying that the Promises (with upper case if you don't mind) of Prop 30 have been forgotten? Oh, the horror... Wait, do you really mean that the base amount should be higher or that we all don't get a pony? Are you telling me that the portion that goes to reimburse the counties for realignment is going to be higher than implied during the campaign? Which one is it?!?! (I need a … Read More

            what chu’ talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

            Are you saying that the Promises (with upper case if you don’t mind) of Prop 30 have been forgotten? Oh, the horror…

            Wait, do you really mean that the base amount should be higher or that we all don’t get a pony? Are you telling me that the portion that goes to reimburse the counties for realignment is going to be higher than implied during the campaign?

            Which one is it?!?!

            (I need a stiff drink…)

            • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

              Oh, heck, the blogging code did not put the reply in the right place. Or maybe I hit the wrong reply button. Who knows, it was probably gremlins.

              Anyway, the Willis post was in answer to Navigio.

            • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

              Prop 30 promises were about 3k / ADA. LCFF’s are about 2.7, and in a longer timeframe. But don’t let that derail this discussion. It’s a good one.

  8. Kay McElrath 3 years ago3 years ago

    A responsible approach to take with regards to the supplemental and concentration funding is to follow the lead of Title I and for schools that have 40% or more of the enrollment qualifying for the additional funding, and have School Wide Program plans under Title I, recognize that the funds will best be spent on investments that benefit all students at the school. For example, if smaller class sizes are implemented, those class sizes … Read More

    A responsible approach to take with regards to the supplemental and concentration funding is to follow the lead of Title I and for schools that have 40% or more of the enrollment qualifying for the additional funding, and have School Wide Program plans under Title I, recognize that the funds will best be spent on investments that benefit all students at the school. For example, if smaller class sizes are implemented, those class sizes clearly benefit all students at the school but have the greatest benefit for students who might be struggling academically and need the additional attention that a teacher can pay when they have fewer students in their class. Using the “targeted assistance” model at a school with 60 or 70 percent FRL is not good public policy as it encourages too much of the expenditure to go towards hiring instructional assistants to work with individual students rather than investing in teachers, counselors, and other professional staff who would work with all students.

  9. navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

    "When people from Beverly Hills, Palo Alto or Piedmont “start telling me they’re going to move to Compton or Watts to get the extra money, then I’ll know there’s a problem.” That's Gov Brown's challenge to the 'loser' schools. He knows people who have the means will pick up their own tabs for sufficient educational resources rather than go to a school/neighborhood they don't want to live in. And he's right of course; not for using … Read More

    When people from Beverly Hills, Palo Alto or Piedmont “start telling me they’re going to move to Compton or Watts to get the extra money, then I’ll know there’s a problem.

    That’s Gov Brown’s challenge to the ‘loser’ schools. He knows people who have the means will pick up their own tabs for sufficient educational resources rather than go to a school/neighborhood they don’t want to live in. And he’s right of course; not for using that tactic, but in that people will act exactly that way.

    Replies

    • Paul Muench 3 years ago3 years ago

      I’ll be watching for the unintended consequences. Will schools like Pacific Collegiate High start in places like Palo Alto? This school has had a lot of success with raising additional funds from wealthy families. Will families in places like east San Jose segregate themselves? This wold put short term financial strains on districts to accommodate the changes.

      • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

        My expectation is this will result in a spate of new charter schools in districts where 'loser' schools cannot get access to this funding from their board. Well, actually, thats only my expectation if my other, prior expectation turns out to be false, which is that there really isnt any accountability for this funding and thus the losers will be the kids who generate this funding while the winners will be the board and the district … Read More

        My expectation is this will result in a spate of new charter schools in districts where ‘loser’ schools cannot get access to this funding from their board.
        Well, actually, thats only my expectation if my other, prior expectation turns out to be false, which is that there really isnt any accountability for this funding and thus the losers will be the kids who generate this funding while the winners will be the board and the district budget department (and the schools they listen to).

        • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

          That is already happening in the San Fernando Valley part of LAUSD. Currently, out of 12 high schools in Galatzan's district, three are charters and two more have been approved for 2014-15 (another one just to the south but still in the Valley, Taft HS, has also been approved). These five high schools have a current enrollment of 16,800 while the other seven enroll 12,053 students. Do the arithmetic and you can see why they … Read More

          That is already happening in the San Fernando Valley part of LAUSD. Currently, out of 12 high schools in Galatzan’s district, three are charters and two more have been approved for 2014-15 (another one just to the south but still in the Valley, Taft HS, has also been approved). These five high schools have a current enrollment of 16,800 while the other seven enroll 12,053 students. Do the arithmetic and you can see why they are going charter, even in the old budget model.

          BTW, what will these schools do with those students who don’t “fit” their “school culture?” Any wild guesses?

  10. el 3 years ago3 years ago

    This all comes back to making sure the base number is sufficient to fund what we expect for "ordinary" schools. I am positive towards the LCFF as a concept, but it simply won't work if the base isn't high enough. IMHO it is better for the special needs percentage to be lower to start with a higher base. We need to figure out what it should be - not based on how much money there … Read More

    This all comes back to making sure the base number is sufficient to fund what we expect for “ordinary” schools. I am positive towards the LCFF as a concept, but it simply won’t work if the base isn’t high enough. IMHO it is better for the special needs percentage to be lower to start with a higher base. We need to figure out what it should be – not based on how much money there is but based on what services cost – and then move up from there. (I think it would also help to get a handle on what extra services are expected for the special needs kids, and costing them out.)

    Replies

    • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

      We cant do that unless we realize that base grant is actually a false amount due to the fact part of it is used to fund things it wasnt intended to. And because the extent to which that happens differs by district, the base grant can almost not be a one-size-fits-all and still address that issue.

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