Reforms > Local Control Funding Formula

Legislators to state board: Consider changes to school funding rules



Non-profits and community groups that want to tighten the Local Control Funding Formula regulations to ensure more money will go to minority students have enlisted an influential ally: legislators.

One quarter of the 120 members of the Legislature wrote to State Board of Education President Michael Kirst this week urging the board to adopt changes to the regulations that mirror what many of the advocacy organizations are recommending.

“We made a promise to help underserved students when creating the (Local Control Funding Formula). It cannot be reduced to lip service as billions of education dollars are spent under the biggest change to education funding in decades,” said the letter, which was co-written by Assembly members Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, and co-signed by two dozen Assembly members and three senators.

Both Weber and Ting testified at the state board hearing in January, when the board adopted temporary regulations on how supplemental and concentration money under the funding formula should be used for low-income children, foster youths and English learners. The board also established a template that all districts, county offices of education and charter schools must use in filling out the Local Control and Accountability Plan. The LCAP outlines a district’s goals and how it will spend supplemental dollars to achieve them.

The board is now collecting proposals for permanent regulations, which it will adopt this fall. The Ting-Weber letter serves as a subtle warning to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration – which wants the Legislature to guarantee annual increases to the funding formula – to seriously consider changes.

The nonprofits and advocates for minority children include  Children Now, Public Advocates and Education Trust-West. They have argued that the regulations give districts too much latitude to spend money for general purposes that might not substantially benefit the high-needs students who generated the dollars. But the changes they’re proposing are more nuanced than drastic, designed to close potential loopholes in the language. The advocates also want the regulations to require more involvement of local school site councils, which include teachers and parents, in creating the LCAP and to require districts to better document the site council’s participation.

The one-page Ting-Weber letter highlights those suggestions.

  • The temporary regulations allow using supplemental and concentration money for districtwide and schoolwide purposes that benefit high-needs students ­– as opposed to direct services like tutoring – when those students are less than a majority of school or district enrollment. The letter suggests that  districts be required to show that the money “principally” serves high-needs students. So instead of adding an extra counselor, say, for all students, a school would have to hire a counselor whose primary job would be to work with English learners or low-income students. Expenses such as buying iPads for all students would have to be paid for out of base expenditures, not supplemental dollars.
  • The temporary regulations already require using metrics and quantifiable outcomes when setting goals and expenditures. But districts could cite the metrics they will use (suspension rates) without citing numbers. The letter wants the template to require more specificity using data already being collected. And it urges the state board to require “strong school site council engagement” while leaving it to the board to define what that means. The LCAP requires the participation of district advisory committees but not school site councils per se, although that is recommended. Gov. Brown has rejected the idea of requiring an LCAP for every school.

The State Board will spend much of its May meeting discussing the suggestions it has received.

 

 

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29 Responses to “Legislators to state board: Consider changes to school funding rules”

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  1. Gary Ravani on March 24, 2014 at 10:29 am03/24/2014 10:29 am

    • 000

    Just repeating the same untruth over and over does nothing to illuminate the issues.

    Follow this link: http://www.cec.sped.org/~/media/Files/Policy/IDEA/FullFundingForIDEANewDesign.pdf

    There are any number of references to be found online to the federal government’s failure to live up to its own, self-stated, requirement to fund IDEA, PL 94-142, (education for those with disabilities) at the 40% level (of “excess” costs of funding–costs above that of an “average” level of funding for students). You can also find drafts of legislation trying to get funding at the “full” level that died aborning. One could logically point out that federal mandates should be federally funded at 100%, but failing to even reach the 40% level truly represents a lack of commitment and the very definition of “unfunded mandate.”

    The paper linked to, by the Council for Exceptional Children from 2008, I believe, notes that after enactment in 1975 IDEA has delivered 17.2 per cent, or less than half, of the required funding.

    The impacts of this long tern underfunding at the national level has put a strain on school budgets throughout CA. Backfilling the costs of programs at the district level are known as “encroachments,” (aka, unfunded mandate). Note: All of this is occurring in a state with “average” funding per child near the bottom of the fifty states in dollars adjusted for regional cost-of-living. I will say this, in my 20 years at the bargaining table i never heard anyone from either side, union or management, express resentment over these expenditures. It was just a “fact of (budget) life.” Districts do have management personnel who may try to exert pressure to not fund some of the more extreme requests for services. That job is act as the responsible overseer for providing services for all programs and all children in a district. Again, a frustrating and difficult job for educators in a state with abysmal funding levels for all student services. There is a fragile balance that must be maintained.

    The situation may be changing. Years of trying to balance the funding for conflicting needs may have reached a tipping point. There is a “task force” at work on special education programs. “Hints” emerge that there may be proposed changes in programs for special needs children that will reduce the specialized program requirements for these students, resulting in decreased state/county/district costs for these students, that may not best serve their needs. It is too early to tell at this time. (But, again,there are “hints.”)

    Replies

    • Deborah Blair Porter on March 24, 2014 at 5:34 pm03/24/2014 5:34 pm

      • 000

      Excellent! Thanks much.

    • Deborah Blair Porter on March 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm03/24/2014 5:43 pm

      • 000

      Gary, I couldn’t agree more with your statement, “Just repeating the same untruth over and over does nothing to illuminate the issues. “

      However, with all due respect, I don’t think I’m the one “repeating the same untruth over and over.” Instead I have tried very hard to examine the “untruth” that has been circulated for years as fact and think I have exposed its falseness based on the plain language of the law as well as commonsense regarding its meaning.

      CEC and NCD among many others repeat these same claims because the lie oft repeated becomes the truth, based as it is on the notion that more funding of education will probably bring better results. But no one seems to examine the law, its implication or what it was intended to accomplish, as well as the role funding was to play in it. (Also, if something was in a draft of the law, it isn’t the law, no matter how much someone might wish it so). Also, those who blindly call for “full funding” fail to examine what states are doing, or not doing, when it comes to ensuring the law’s implementation or positive outcomes or how that might play into Congress’s annual decision to fund or not fund in whatever amounts.

      See President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education from 2002 which directly addressed this issue: https://education.ucf.edu/mirc/Research/President%27s%20Commission%20on%20Excellence%20in%20Special%20Education.pdf. Specifically page 31.

      • Gary Ravani on March 24, 2014 at 6:09 pm03/24/2014 6:09 pm

        • 000

        Deborah:

        With all due respect here is a quote from the document you linked;

        “There is no scientific or particular public policy basis for defining full funding of the federal portion of special education at 40 percent of average per-pupil expenditure. In 1975, the congressional conferees arrived at the 40 percent funding level in reconciling differences between the House and Senate versions of their originally passed bills. The conferees tied special education funding to APPE because they believed the cost of special education was approximate- ly twice the cost of regular education.26″

        The quote indicates that the 40% figure was arrived at in Conference Committee, where differences in bills originating in the House and Senate are “reconciled.” It is then an opinion statement that there is “no scientific or particular public policy basis” for the 40% funding. This was the Bush White House effort to further justify the failure of the federal government to ever live up to the conditions of the law as it was originally passed. The paper argues that special education funding should be at the discretion of the legislature, both houses of which were then controlled by Republicans. Please. A few lines later it goes on to talk about NCLB which was based on Rod Page’s “Texas Miracle” which upon further investigation turned out to be the “Texas Fraud.” Rod Page’s name is prominently on the cover sheet of the paper you linked to. Their justification for not funding education is right up there with the assertions about WMDs in Iraq.

        • Deborah Blair Porter on March 24, 2014 at 7:17 pm03/24/2014 7:17 pm

          • 000

          Read further Gary.

          “Since 1975, the “up to 40 percent” APPE target has taken on symbolic value far beyond congressional intent in 1975. Many still perceive this 40 percent figure as a representation of “full funding.” Over the past several years, marked increases in IDEA Part B funding have been based on a desire to meet this “full funding” target. However, the increases to meet this target have been based on expenditure-driven data, rather than on estimates of the true excess cost of achieving excellence for students with disabilities.”

          There is nothing in the law, which the conference committee reconciled the legislation to read, about 40%. There is rather a lot of accountability provisions that still have yet to be met. So I guess you believe the federal government should continue to fund, even without results or accountability, and even without CA finding it a priority. I guess I disagree and I believe so does the federal government, demands from the states notwithstanding.

          There was never a “promise” to fully fund. That’s the myth oft repeated. It is an annual appropriation. That’s what they do, annually appropriate. Until there is compliance with the law and improved outcomes, the funding will not increase, no matter how loudly people cry for it.

  2. Deborah Blair Porter on March 24, 2014 at 9:31 am03/24/2014 9:31 am

    • 000

    I am still wondering why SWD were excluded from the benefits of LCFF when they are the lowest performing California subgroups, the only group to be excluded from the CAHSEE because they have been doing so poorly since CAHSEE was enacted, and whose results are already “disappeared” by CA’s accountability systems. I am also wondering why no one seems to talk about this omission at all?

    Frankly, this LCFF serves as an example of what happens when California public education agencies are funded ostensibly to improve outcomes: funds are spent by local education agencies on teacher and administrator salaries (the bulk of most district budgets) as well as attorneys quite often to fight the provision of services, or whatever, without any comprehensive oversight (and here I am talking CDE which in terms of special education does not oversee, monitor or enforce against local public education agencies, even though that is a condition of its receipt of federal funds), and the result is that student outcomes languish. Here the oversight is going to be local reporting which as anyone who knows special education “self-review” is a joke in CA.

    While I understand the “theory” behind the “local” in LCFF, the reality is that those same “local” agencies are the ones that got us into the mess we are in the first place. One could say the same “local” theory applies to the thinking behind supplying funding to states from the federal government, i.e., the “local” level knows better. Well, the record shows that isn’t the case in California.

    What is really odd is that no one seems to recognize that while there is no funding in the LCFF for students with disabilities, the fact that the LCAP template specifically requires local agencies to report on and be held accountable for goals set improvement etc., for “Students with disabilities” as among the “Other Subgroups” simply creates the same problem we see today with special education in California, i.e., the complaint that the obligation isn’t sufficiently funded. The reality is this is a claim made about education in general, but it is never tolerated as a justification for poor performance for students in general. Why is it that way with students with disabilities?

    A harbinger of the future for those California’s subgroups covered by LCFF is the plaintive cry regularly heard from both the state and local education agencies in their persistent demands that the federal government should live up to its promise to “fully fund” IDEA and that it is somehow an “unfunded mandate” (ignoring that there never was such a promise and that California has received untold millions of dollars in support of students with disabilities so that it is hardly “unfunded”): the oft-repeated demand for more money with little to show for it, the worst outcomes of all students in California and a horrible record as compared to the rest of the states in the union, all courtesy of local education agencies. Given California’s history, this is what the future holds for those who are supposed to benefit from LCFF. But the reality is that we won’t have the proof for years as California’s education leaders have done for all its students what they did for students with disabilities and the CAHSEE, i.e., put our accountability system on hiatus.

    Replies

    • el on March 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm03/25/2014 12:44 pm

      • 000

      I thought it was strange also that SWD were not eligible for supplemental grants. I had understood that financial reform targeted at funding these students would be a next step, but we should have seen some action on that by now.

      • John Fensterwald on March 25, 2014 at 1:43 pm03/25/2014 1:43 pm

        • 000

        The state task force looking into special education issues, created at the request of Linda Darling-Hammond of the California Credentialing Commission, and State Board President Michael Kirst, will make its recommendations in November. One of the issues it is looking into is financing and its relation to the funding formula. I would expect there may be some movement next year.

        • Deborah Blair Porter on March 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm03/25/2014 4:04 pm

          • 000

          John, you stated with regard to the SETF “One of the issues it is looking into is financing and its relation to the funding formula. I would expect there may be some movement next year.” It is my understanding the SETF is looking into the funding formula vis a vis those special education students who qualify for LCFF funds/services, i.e., those who are EL, LI or FY and thus come under LCFF’s purview. To my knowledge, based on the questions they’ve circulated, they are not looking at ALL students with disabilities, as there are many such students not covered by LCFF who thus will not receive any additional interventions, despite significant need, at the same time other subgroups in need EL, LI and FY, will receive such interventions. So far, no one has been able to explain why.

          Also, it is my understanding that any financing decisions would have to come through the legislature and I don’t see the SETF having anything more than an advisory position, a la the ACSE, particularly since they are not operating under any state agency governance rules.

          If you know anything different, I would appreciate hearing about it.

  3. Don on March 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm03/23/2014 1:58 pm

    • 000

    Ann, one could say that the new funding formula is the result of years of failed efforts under the old system of revenue limits, particularly in regard to compensatory education via myriad state and federal categorical programs. Now we are going back to the districts as laboratories of innovation left to sink or swim as many will, no doubt. But at the same time we are rolling out CCSS’s national standards and testing regimens that have at their heart a rejection of the “one district at a time” approach. So there seems to be a disconnect from a policy standpoint. We are nationalizing one the one hand and going grassroots on the other. Maybe it’s a winning that combines the best of both.

    Ann, the philosophy of LCFF is an assumption that LEAs know best how to manage their districts rather than to carry out mandates from Sacramento. Decades of add-on categorical programs created a compliance nightmare and the multitude of multi-billion dollar categorical programs had their own lobbyists and interests at stake, often at odds with what was best for districts. Though LCFF has its stated goals which the LCAP is supposed to ensure, the districts are free to try and meet them as they see fit. But I see nothing in the LCAP that makes clear the measure of success or the penalty for failure. The LCAP seems a little bit like the new Smarter Balanced tests – more critical thinking and fewer bubbles. I have images of bureaucrats reading (or not) the LCAPs and putting them into 2 piles – one for “sounds good” and the other for ” try gain”. The CDE never acted as an enforcement agency and now under LCFF it’s even less likely to take up that mantle.

    In essence, this is a giant experiment and the students of California are the subjects of it.

    Replies

    • ann on March 23, 2014 at 3:12 pm03/23/2014 3:12 pm

      • 000

      Exactly. A giant experiment without controls and a huge amount of money be spent. I teach and my district will be getting a huge windfall. I don’t have much confidence that we are going to see ‘improvement’ however it is finally calculated, which, unbelievably, is yet undecided. Believe this, if our students were unable to achieve on a so-called bubble test utilizing their knowledge and a level of critical thinking (eliminating the unworthy choices) how will they construct answers that require high level critical thinking, writing skills AND knowledge. Go observe a classroom and review student work in a high poverty district with at least 55% ELLS (there are hundreds of districts that are more like 90-100% ELLs) and then get back to me.

      • Don on March 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm03/23/2014 7:21 pm

        • 000

        I’m getting back to you, Ann. I have worked as a teacher in those very public school classrooms of which you speak. Many of the students I taught were not one or two years behind but, realistically, five or more. Despite this, here in San Francisco the effort by the central office is to remove honors and generalize all classes by ability. This is being done under the guise of equity – the notion that tracking is a form of segregation or, at least, social stratification. Precisely the opposite needs to happen in order to meet the remedial needs of high numbers of students who need focused lessons that teach skill levels far below the grade level and class in which they sit. No teacher can bring differentiated learning to a class that has cognitive skills spanning years. You might as well try stuffing a 13 y.o into a second grader’s clothing.

        But back to testing… in the context of this wide skills level, an eighth grade standardized test tells the teacher in an underperforming school very little about the students who perform far below basic because the test is designed to separate out students from advanced, proficient, basic, below basic and far below basic and not below that when the majority are performing below that. Of course, teachers have the answer without the need for a test, but then you must ask what is the point of the test in a class that has high numbers of far-below basic pupils? We are administering the wrong test because many students are sitting in the wrong classrooms and until this test or some other measure of skill level determines which class is the most appropriate placement, we are going to be barking up the wrong tree and depriving students of the types of interventions they need. I’m just making the standard case for the problems resulting for social advancement.

        As it applies to LCFF, a funding formula is not a pedagogical reform but to the extent it alleviates requirements from on high that do not comport with better outcomes it seems on the surface to be a good idea. However, the real problem facing teachers and students doesn’t have to do with maximizing the use of ed dollars (which is important), but in remaking the education system in such a way that teachers can engage students at the level that will do them the most good. The system du jour, whether revenue limits or LCFF, has little to do with undoing an educational paradigm that is designed to deliver dropouts with consistency.

        If an LCAP was submitted to the State and delineated a supplemental and concentration grant usage that separated students into classrooms by actual ability it would be deemed “out of compliance”.

        • navigio on March 23, 2014 at 10:09 pm03/23/2014 10:09 pm

          • 000

          great points about testing. it seems to me that the csts are not intended to inform instruction anyway, so the fact that there is no b-fbb distinction doesnt really matter there (that district assessements that are used to inform instruction attempt to map to the the same performance bands and standards, does matter). i would hope that districts that have such a distribution have adapted their own assessments to make them appropriate for the context.
          fwiw, i think districts/schools do try to limit differentiation “overhead” by how they assign students to teachers/classes. ironically, proof that this happens, seemed to be implied in vergara (or at least in one of its associated ‘studies’).

  4. Don on March 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm03/22/2014 9:26 pm

    • 000

    Understand that I was comparing the current funding scheme with the former.

    Replies

    • Ann on March 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm03/23/2014 12:06 pm

      • 000

      What if after the funds are spent and directed to these three categories of students we find marginal or no improvement in outcomes? Actually we won’t even have a rational comparison having thrown out all prior measures….

  5. Don on March 22, 2014 at 9:23 pm03/22/2014 9:23 pm

    • 000

    John, my understanding is that by the end of 8 years, assuming good times, we will be considerably above adjusted 2008 levels. Are you saying that is incorrect? The supplemental and concentration grants are a smaller portion of the pie than the categorical programs, but they are intended to serve the same purposes without all the strings attached – a permanent flexing if you will. But delivering similar services would require that some programs that were strictly categorical under the old system would have to be funded by both the base and one or both of the other two as well when viewed from a statewide perspective.

    El, when you say the base grant is not sufficient to run most schools I ‘m not sure what you mean other than school need more money in general. The base grant is certainly a much larger portion of the ed dollar pie relative to the revenue limit.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald on March 23, 2014 at 11:26 pm03/23/2014 11:26 pm

      • 000

      Don: The formula ensures that, at a minimum, every district will be restored to their level of funding in 2008, annually adjusted for inflation.

      Those districts with high numbers of targeted students will get additional funding bringing them well above the 2008 levels. If every student in a district is among the targeted groups (English learners, low-income, foster youths), a district will get the maximum 45 percent above base level funding, which works out to $3,000-plus more per student at full funding. On the other hand, a couple hundred districts will only be restored to their 2008 funding. Some of those have few high-needs students. Others, for various reasons, did comparatively well under the old system.

    • el on March 25, 2014 at 12:41 pm03/25/2014 12:41 pm

      • 000

      We kind of touch on this in multiple comments but I guess part of what I’m saying is that the targets of “you’ll have at least as much money as you did in 2008″ apply to all the money, base + supplemental + concentration, not just to the base. Thus, the actual “new” money is substantially less than is implied, (if it exists at all after inflation).

      LCFF and LCAP presume that the money for supplemental and concentration are “new” money that can be spent on “new” programs to benefit those subgroups.

      In reality, that’s only “new” money if you cut services so that the base grant covers “normal” operations. It ignores the fact that money for categoricals was already being spent and may or may not have been spent wisely or efficiently nor does it consider if it was already targeted at “supplemental” type services for the designated subgroups.

      IE: that pull out program for ELL… that you’ve had and protected since 2005… it’s not “new” but if it’s a good program, it should still count. We overvalue “new” and we don’t give existing programs enough time to show their value. We also tend to take them for granted.

      “Oh, we got this program fully instituted in January, but we didn’t see any uptick in scores in March, so oh well, better scrap it.”

  6. Don on March 22, 2014 at 1:53 pm03/22/2014 1:53 pm

    • 000

    El, you make some great points about districts doing what’s best for themselves. Of course, constituents vary in terms of what they think is best and LCFF has guidelines that puts limitations on district discretion.

    I believe a clarification is in order regarding the term “supplemental grant”. It is in no way real or implied extra money. As more money is dispersed through LCFF over eight years, assuming the economy permits, all three grants will grow. The supplemental and concentration grants are simply related to categories and relative numbers of students within the categories. In a sense they replace in large part the categorical tiered programs. You could say the base grant is like the revenue limit and the supplemental and concentration grants are akin to categorical programs – but only in a loose sense. Whereas revenue limit was about 2/3 of ed funding and categorical was 1/3, the base grant comprises 84% of the pie, though not all funding is part of LCFF, such as TIIBG and Home to School transportation. Because LCFF requires that no less money can be spent on targeted students, clearly some of that must come from the base grant. Targeted student advocates worry that districts will not meet the stated but unenforced goals and legislators are hearing their concerns.

    Here is SFUSD the situation is reversed. It likely that targeted students will get much of the new funding and that proficient students will get little.

    LCFF implementation depends upon district discretion and no longer are there all the many resource codes for each programs requiring such and such funding to go to respective targeted students and usages. That in combination with the LCAP, which I believe is a very weak accountability and compliance law, makes it entirely possible for LCFF implementation to waver far from the stated goals.

    It’s almost as if the legislators are getting cold feet. They went along with dumping the responsibility back on the districts, but now that various interest groups want to make sure the money goes where it’s intended, these legislators want to strengthen the compliance – a change that is likely to lead to less local discretion contrary to the spirit of local control.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald on March 22, 2014 at 8:04 pm03/22/2014 8:04 pm

      • 000

      Don: I will take that as a reminder that in every article I should note that the supplemental money refers to the 20 percent “extra” dollars per student (sorry, el, no other word to describe it) on top of the base allocation under the formula for low-income kids, English learners, and foster kids). Concentration dollars are additional as well, on top of the supplemental dollars, for schools in which the three groups of students make up at least 55 percent of enrollment. For a more detailed explanation, see our Local Control Funding Formula guide at http://edsource.org/local-control-funding-formula-guide#.Uy5M2F6LGuZ

      el certainly has a valid point: The base funding will only restore districts to where there were in 2008 once the formula is fully funded in 8 years. So districts attempting to rebuild will be hard-pressed to adequately restore services two years into the formula. There will be tension over how to use the supplemental and concentration money, but the intent is clear, for high-needs students.

      The State Board is at a disadvantage in creating the permanent regs, since districts are just now writing their first LCAP. Until these plans are in, the Board won’t know if districts have followed the spirit of the law and whether the temporary regs are working as intended.

      • Don on March 24, 2014 at 10:00 am03/24/2014 10:00 am

        • 000

        John, I understand that the 2007-8 funding is a minimum guarantee (the vast majority of districts will receive much more by 2021) and
        that the Economic Recovery Target is designed to make up the difference for those districts that would have received less than under the former revenue limit system. However, I’m not clear on this provision in the new formula:

        “Those districts that had per-student funding in the top 10 percent of all districts under the old financing system will not be eligible for Economic Recovery Target payments. They will continue to receive funding at their 2012-13 level — thousands of dollars more per student than average in some cases — but no more.”

        Excess tax (basic aid) districts wouldn’t have received any funding so does the 10% figure include districts that did receive state funding but will no longer? Does this mean that some districts that are not basic aid also do not qualify for any grant funding? Am I misreading this?

        Can I ask you to clarify this answer to one of the 10 frequently asked questions in the Ed Source cover story of LCFF:

        “Districts will have the option to
        provide the services funded by categorical funds, but they won’t be required to do so.”

        Not to parse words, but did Ed Source mean the former categorical funds or the few existing ones?

        Thanks in advance for your help.

      • Manuel on March 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm03/25/2014 12:02 pm

        • 000

        Indeed, the Supplemental and Concentration funds are meant to be “extra” and to be used for programs to benefit the “unduplicated” students. You should always remind readers of that, John.

        However, districts (or at least LAUSD) used the unrestricted funds (aka Revenue Limit) solely to fund what they called the “basic” services they are required to provide under state and federal law, court decrees, and contractual agreements. Thus, all the categoricals were theoretically used as “supplemental” but in practice as “supplanting” the unrestricted funds.

        Now we are under a new model and, if districts are honest, they should figure out how to distribute the funds differently and be completely transparent on how they are accomplishing this. They should be able to justify hiring more teachers to reduce the teacher/student ratio to ensure that the “let’s think more deeply about this” model of the Common Core will succeed. They should be able to pay more to bring in more qualified personnel to hard-to-staff areas. They should be able to spend on services (librarians, nurses, psychologists, counselors, etc.) that aim to reduce absenteeism and increase graduation rates, etc.. They better not spend it in window-dressing designed to increase scores of selective populations. Else the Legislature will impose conditions and there goes the attempt to change things for the better.

  7. Deborah Blair Porter on March 22, 2014 at 10:35 am03/22/2014 10:35 am

    • 000

    The link to the letter from the legislators goes to a “page not found” error message on Assemblymember Ting’s website.

    Replies

  8. el on March 21, 2014 at 10:56 pm03/21/2014 10:56 pm

    • 000

    Something I want to remind everyone of is that this concept of “supplemental” implies that this is extra money, more than we had before, maybe even lots more.

    The fact of the matter is, the base grant is not sufficient money to run most schools, and we should not make policy as if it is.

    Reality is that some districts end up in hold harmless, most/all LCFF districts are less than 2008 funding levels, and most/all districts are recovering from several years of draconian and unsustainable revenue cuts … while each year expected to improve performance and provide more services.

    IE, we’ve been behind on the utility bills for years, we’ve turned off every lightbulb and appliance we can and maybe just maybe there’s enough money to pay all the bills when they are due.

    And the first question districts get is, “Where’s our new pony?”

    If the local groups working on LCFF agree that the best thing they can do for their schools is hire a (gasp) librarian, I think we should let them. Even if it means some “rich” students may inadvertently read some books that said librarian chose or checked out to them.

    If the local groups working on LCFF agree that the best thing they can do is increase teacher salaries because they’re the lowest paid in their local region and are not retaining staff, then I think we should let them.

    If the local groups working on LCFF decide that the best thing they can do is add teachers to lower class size… even if some “rich” kids thus experience smaller classes, then I think we should let them.

    And if the local groups working on LCFF agree that the best thing they can do is add tutors for pull-out programs, then I think we should let them.

    The point of local control was that people could look at their local problems and decide the best way to spend the money given their current situation and perceived weaknesses.

    So each district does its own experiment, and some will work and some will not. In some, the community and the scores will agree on the outcome, and it will be easy to say, “more of the same” or “let’s do something else.” In others, the quantitative data measurements may be at odds with the community impression, and those will be harder. But the point is, given a year or two or three on these plans, it will be possible to say, “Man, involving all those parents was a stupid idea, because parents love small class sizes but they don’t make any difference in our test scores.” Or whatever.

    Let’s give it a try. The regulations can always be changed or tightened if we see dishonorable choices.

    Replies

    • ann on March 23, 2014 at 11:59 am03/23/2014 11:59 am

      • 000

      …except once those salaries increase there is no going back…

  9. Mike McMahon on March 21, 2014 at 10:04 pm03/21/2014 10:04 pm

    • 000

    So let me get this straight. For the past four decades, more and more prescriptive mandates have been passed by the Legislature on what/how to educate children. The results for under served children has not been great. So the Governor proposes a new system where local communities will attempt to align resources for better results. But before we even started Sacramento is already begin to meddle. Really? How many of these legislators have actually served on a local school board?

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