Louis Freedberg

Students celebrate State Board of Education's approval of regulations on Nov. 14, 2014 in Sacramento

After soliciting input for over a year from education groups, research and advocacy organizations, students and parents, the State Board of Education on Friday approved final regulations governing how districts spend funds they receive through the Local Control Funding Formula, the state’s new school financing law.

The board also adopted final regulations for Local Control and Accountability Plans, which outline how districts intend to spend those funds.

The law devolves more decision-making powers to local school districts and for the first time gives them additional funds based on the number of “high-needs” students – low-income students, English learners and foster children – they are serving.

In a detailed 98-page document, the board staff described each comment it received, and then whether they felt the proposed change in the regulations were warranted. Among the changes that the board approved is requiring school districts to get input from students into their accountability plans.

In January of this year the state board, whose members are appointed by the governor, enacted emergency regulations that governed the first year of implementation of the new funding law. Gov. Jerry Brown first proposed the basic idea behind the law in his State of the State speech in January 2012.

It was derived from a proposal described in a 2007 paper co-written by Alan Bersin, at the time a member of the State Board of Education, Goodwin Liu, then a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law, and Michael Kirst, a Stanford University professor who is currently president of the state board and has been a longtime education advisor to the governor.

The authors proposed targeting funds at “high-needs” students based on what it called a “weighted student formula” that they argued would “result in a simpler, fairer, and more coherent system of school finance, one that is responsive to student needs and regional costs.”

Since the passage of the law, the board has devoted a significant amount of time getting public input and made several changes to the regulations, in addition to those requiring more student input. They included adopting a redesign of the LCAP template and adding a requirement that makes it clear that additional money districts receive for “high-needs” students must be used “principally” to benefit them. The word “principally” had become a contentious one – supported by a range of advocacy groups, and opposed by the California School Boards Association. 

What was notable about Friday’s action is that several advocacy organizations that had criticized the board for not being aggressive enough in ensuring that districts spent the extra funds they received on “high-needs” students welcomed the final regulations.

David Sapp, director of education advocacy for the ACLU of California, said the board’s process for soliciting input from students and parents was “historic,” as was the board’s willingness to make changes to the initial regulations. In a 45-day review period at the beginning of the year, the board received 2,300 comments, and then in two subsequent 15-day review periods it received dozens more.

As a result of the changes, Sapp said, local districts will now be required to state clearly how they will achieve the goals outlined in their accountability plans, as well as specify the progress they are making to reach them.

“It is not just a technicality that districts address each element in the plan,” he said. “It is essential to the success of this entire undertaking.”

John Affeldt, managing attorney for Public Advocates in San Francisco, a public interest law firm that has been heavily involved in education policy in the state, also welcomed the board’s vote on Friday.

“No state has devoted this much in resources for high-need students,” he said. The difference between the regulations first proposed by the board and those enacted on Friday, he said, was “night and day.” What is in place now, he said, attacks the problem of underachieving students “in a more holistic way than the No Child Left Behind law,” the federal legislation that has governed education reform over the past dozen years – and which has not come close to achieving its stated goals.

Also celebrating the board’s action was Californians for Justice, a nonprofit advocacy organization, which had helped organize a “Student Voice Matters” campaign. Edgar Campos, the organization’s policy director, welcomed the provisions in the regulations that will require districts to get student input for their accountability plans by conducting student surveys, creating student advisory committees, or other strategies.

Barbara Letterman of the California State PTA said that adoption of the regulations was a “beginning” rather than the end of a process. She said a major challenge will be to increase levels of parent participation in implementing the new law, especially in schools serving low-income communities. “Most parents are working, and don’t understand their role in the law,” she said. Often, she said, “parents don’t feel anyone at their school will listen to them.”

Sheila Whitley, a math teacher at El Capitan High School in Merced and a California Teachers Association member, said that involving students in the development of the Local Control and Accountability Plan is “not going to happen overnight.” She said it will take a conscious effort to encourage students, along the lines of what her school is doing to ensure that students participate in clubs, athletic programs, and civic organizations. But, she said, the law “is a step in the right direction.”

 


Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comments Policy

The goal of the comments section on EdSource is to facilitate thoughtful conversation about content published on our website. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.

Expand Comments
Collapse Comments
  1. navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

    It is interesting that the requests to clarify the prior year unduplicated spending calculations were rejected. This is important for the first year of LCFF as that number determines the ratio of s&c to base grant for all subsequent years (until fully funded). The only restriction on this number appears to be that it cannot be less than 12-13 EIA expenditures. However, EIA revenue, let alone expenditures, is a very small portion of state revenue, … Read More

    It is interesting that the requests to clarify the prior year unduplicated spending calculations were rejected. This is important for the first year of LCFF as that number determines the ratio of s&c to base grant for all subsequent years (until fully funded). The only restriction on this number appears to be that it cannot be less than 12-13 EIA expenditures. However, EIA revenue, let alone expenditures, is a very small portion of state revenue, and thus the s&c ratio to the overall LCFF allocation in that first year is likely (and probably intentionally) going to be much smaller than the unduplicated student rate should imply. It will get closer in subsequent years but that will take a while. In the meantime the base grant will be overfunded relative to the s&c grants, in some cases significantly so. To put it another way, what is being phased in is not the LCFF allocation as a whole, but the unduplicated pupil rate. :-/
    I expect there was a desire not to highlight this fact. I also expect this was meant to cover part of the special ed encroachments out of s&c grants but to make it look like it’s coming from the base grant.
    The most interesting thing is that different districts appear to be doing this differently. That difference will be significant enough that it may even impact student achievement. I wonder whether any LCAP ‘overseers’ will examine this impact..

  2. Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

    "CA has 12% of the nation’s population lives in California, but CA has 34% of the nation’s welfare recipients." As long as California laws and policies continue to create taxpayer paid benefits for the poor and uneducated from other countries- it will continue to take resources from legal residents. California's current elected representatives look at California residents as nothing more then a checkbook. They do not care for the health, safety, education or wellbeing of … Read More

    “CA has 12% of the nation’s population lives in California, but CA has 34% of the nation’s welfare recipients.”

    As long as California laws and policies continue to create taxpayer paid benefits for the poor and uneducated from other countries- it will continue to take resources from legal residents. California’s current elected representatives look at California residents as nothing more then a checkbook. They do not care for the health, safety, education or wellbeing of the legal residents of California.

    According to the latest census data the percentage of young adults in the United States who are foreign born has more than doubled since 1980, from 6 percent to 15 percent. One in four adults speaks a language other than English at home. In California, one in two adults speaks a language other than English at home.

    Until legal residents matter to our elected officials the only way to force change will be through the legal system.

    Replies

    • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

      How many of the one in two adults do you think are going to stand with you when you imply they are ‘the problem’ and shouldn’t be here in the first place?

      • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

        That is the problem- they will not stand with me for a generation or so. Then they will (once they are making more and more money and paying more and more taxes) finally feel like I do towards the newest people.

  3. Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

    “btw, i dont think the DA cares about school districts unless they embezzle funds or there is physical harm to a student.”

    The DA did assign a special prosecutor to look into this- but no action has been taken to date.

  4. Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

    If Public Disclosure Laws were enforced by local DA's. If the County Department of Education ensured compliance with Government Codes and if Trustees were charged for violation of their Fiduciary Duties I can guarantee that the Capistrano Unified School District would not have been able to preserve employee compensation at the expense of student services. What is the point in having laws that no one is following. If you listen to the Board audio for … Read More

    If Public Disclosure Laws were enforced by local DA’s. If the County Department of Education ensured compliance with Government Codes and if Trustees were charged for violation of their Fiduciary Duties I can guarantee that the Capistrano Unified School District would not have been able to preserve employee compensation at the expense of student services. What is the point in having laws that no one is following. If you listen to the Board audio for the adoption of this budget, union controlled majority Trustees used parliamentary maneuvers to prevent minority trustees from even commenting about the budget on the record.

    Source: Board Audio June 27, 2012 Board of Trustees Meeting Agenda Items #1, 4, 5 http://cusd.capousd.org/cusdweb/boardaudio/6-27-12/06-27-12RegBdMtg.mp3

    June 27, 2012 Internal e-mail from Fiscal Expert to OCDE
    http://disclosurecusd.blogspot.com/2014/12/june-27-2012-internal-e-mail-from.html

  5. Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

    “No state has devoted this much in resources for high-need students,” What about EVERYONE else? This funding law intentionally underfunds all students (irrespective of their individual wealth, race or ethnicity) of their constitutional right to a FREE and adequate education. Wealthy suburban school districts are being funding solely by the base grant which is not sufficient to provide any student services. My District is still furloughing students and increasing class sizes to pay its employee salaries. … Read More

    “No state has devoted this much in resources for high-need students,”

    What about EVERYONE else? This funding law intentionally underfunds all students (irrespective of their individual wealth, race or ethnicity) of their constitutional right to a FREE and adequate education.

    Wealthy suburban school districts are being funding solely by the base grant which is not sufficient to provide any student services. My District is still furloughing students and increasing class sizes to pay its employee salaries. Until the Base Grant is increased to an amount that is sufficient to provide EVERY student in the State with an adequate education, the law should be struck down as a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution.

    What about the high needs students in my District? They get just as much of nothing as the rest of the students in the District. You cannot educate a child in the State of California for $7,002.

    For a parents perspective on LCFF and LCAP

    see: http://disclosurecusd.blogspot.com/2014/11/re-research-brief-toward-grand-vision.html?updated-min=2014-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2015-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=7

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Dawn, there is a prevailing view that the education of underperforming students is ore important than that of students proficient and above. Students with higher needs cost more and LCFF uses a weighted student formula to address those needs. Of course, over-weighting in one area results in under-weighting another in a zero-sum game. According to the information about LCFF provided here on Ed source or at the CDE's website the LCFF formula contributes 84% to … Read More

      Dawn, there is a prevailing view that the education of underperforming students is ore important than that of students proficient and above. Students with higher needs cost more and LCFF uses a weighted student formula to address those needs. Of course, over-weighting in one area results in under-weighting another in a zero-sum game.

      According to the information about LCFF provided here on Ed source or at the CDE’s website the LCFF formula contributes 84% to base grants and the rest does to supplemental and concentration grants. If we had only base funding CUSD would get about 8,122 instead of 7022. Optimistically, that could result in a class size reduction between 3-5 students. That’s nothing to poo-poo,but not a game-changer either.

      There’s almost no chance that California will substantially raise revenue for schools beyond what is anticipated over the span of LCFF implementation and a good chance that full funding will be less than anticipated. It is likely that a economic downturn intercedes as it always does every few years. By historical standards, recessions are about every five years so we are already overdue. The low interest rate environment cannot last forever and when the rates rise so will the monumental costs of debt obligation and any hope of increased revenue for schools.

      • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

        That last sentence confuses me. We should spend more early and have parenting class and mandatory Saturday tutoring for all kids not at Advanced or Proficient in 2d, 3d and 4th grade. The stigma and inconvenience of having to spend all day Saturday in school, plus Summers, will make many work harder in class, will make parents work harder in the home with their kids and before they start Kindergarten, and will eliminate … Read More

        That last sentence confuses me. We should spend more early and have parenting class and mandatory Saturday tutoring for all kids not at Advanced or Proficient in 2d, 3d and 4th grade. The stigma and inconvenience of having to spend all day Saturday in school, plus Summers, will make many work harder in class, will make parents work harder in the home with their kids and before they start Kindergarten, and will eliminate future problems which compound. We need to nip the problems in the bud early. If kids start 5th grade above reading level and good in math with parents who have gone through parent education seminars and teachers who have taught parents to prioritize education and turn off the TV, the costs in later years will be for the most part, eliminated.

        The interest on failed kids is bigger than any bank interest. Focused spending will eliminate prison, which can cost 50k a year, for life, for a cost of a couple thousand per kid from K-5.

        The loss in earnings from a poorly educated kid who stays and instead of making money and paying taxes, instead takes welfare, has an impact on future tax revenue as well.

        Some people are net negatives to society and some positives. If we can turn future negatives (prison, welfare, homeless people get 10k a year in SF in spending, more than students) into positives (earning taxpayers) that will more than make up for any interest payments.

        Pay now or pay later. A lot of these kids are going to be real wrecks in life. If you look at the stats, the majority of California kids will be net negatives to society, not net positives. Milton Friedman talks about this.

      • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

        Don- the “prevailing view” is irrelevant if the law is followed. You cannot deny any child of their constitutional right to a basic education. The State has a constitutionally mandated obligation to fund a basic level of education before it chooses to spend money on anything else.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Dawn, it is the law that is irrelevant in this American era, not the other way around. Look at illegal immigration, cash benefits for the undocumented and lower benefits for veterans, de facto abrogation of the constitutional ban on national standards, the corrupt process that resulted in the ACA and waivers of that law for the favored and NCLB and its waivers for states willing to bow down to federal intrusion. … Read More

          Dawn, it is the law that is irrelevant in this American era, not the other way around. Look at illegal immigration, cash benefits for the undocumented and lower benefits for veterans, de facto abrogation of the constitutional ban on national standards, the corrupt process that resulted in the ACA and waivers of that law for the favored and NCLB and its waivers for states willing to bow down to federal intrusion. Race to the Top made taxpayer funded grants available to only those states willing to adopt the federal “guidance” on proper reform. “The Law” is irrelevant or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Do you think you’re the only one who is upset about LCFF? Where is the outrage over the blatant repudiation of the $350 Serrano band? Why is there no litigation of the kind you wish?

          • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

            Don, the Serrano band was awful and unfair to San Francisco, where it costs twice as much to live well and where teachers were paid less in absolute dollars than in super cheap Manteca. It was ridiculous, originally designed to equalize between close areas, but before the Silicon Valley boom. It really hurt San Francisco. You used to criticize that law and you used to criticize excessive job protection for teachers and … Read More

            Don, the Serrano band was awful and unfair to San Francisco, where it costs twice as much to live well and where teachers were paid less in absolute dollars than in super cheap Manteca. It was ridiculous, originally designed to equalize between close areas, but before the Silicon Valley boom. It really hurt San Francisco. You used to criticize that law and you used to criticize excessive job protection for teachers and support Vergara. Now you’re for it? Why? Because Obama hurt your feelings?

          • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

            "Where is the outrage over the blatant repudiation of the $350 Serrano band? Why is there no litigation of the kind you wish?" I am not familiar with this- I am just a parent, and I am not in the education field. I have had to do hours of research just to entertain a conversation on this blog. I have no other interest but to ensure that my child receives a basic education which my child … Read More

            “Where is the outrage over the blatant repudiation of the $350 Serrano band? Why is there no litigation of the kind you wish?”

            I am not familiar with this- I am just a parent, and I am not in the education field. I have had to do hours of research just to entertain a conversation on this blog. I have no other interest but to ensure that my child receives a basic education which my child is constitutionally obligated to receive.

            To date I have been able to follow all the conversations on this blog – but this reference to $350 Serano band” I do not understand.

            And really- I will file a law suit in Pro per in Federal Court- but I was hoping that some so called “advocacy group” would care about the high needs students in my “wealthy” district the way they care about “high needs students” in the corrupt hellhole called LAUSD. People in education and our so called “elected” leaders should be ashamed at themselves. America is a great country, California is a great State as is Orange County… and you just wait and see what happens when the parents of this country wake up and see the destruction that the current powers that be have left the children of this great state and this great country. Most people are not wiling to let their children live a life that is worse then their own. Hell hath no furry like a women’ scorn, and god forbid any person that harms a child in his mother presence. California better wake up! If you think I, or any other mother is going to let my child be deprived of an education because some 80 year old sycophant thinks a high speed rail and social programs for people who are not legally entitled to be in this country is more important than mine- well you better re-think that position or I can promise you more than riots in the streets or 1960’s racial issues. How dare Jerry Brown steel from my child, to entertain his sick perception of how he as an individual would like things to be. That is why we have a Constitution – to remind the people that represent us that THEY REPRESENT US- we do not pay taxes to pay for what they would like. No high Speed rail until my childs school District receives enough funding to at leat get 180 days of school and less than 40 kids per class. AND NO MORE TAXES. PERIOD

          • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

            We passed high speed rail years ago. We need to get people in public transportation and out of private cars. Europeans drive half the miles per person we do. It's unhealthy and one day oil will run out. High speed rail passed. Let's stop roadblocking it. It will be great for the environment when it passes. LA was once really sparse but is now more dense than most … Read More

            We passed high speed rail years ago. We need to get people in public transportation and out of private cars. Europeans drive half the miles per person we do. It’s unhealthy and one day oil will run out. High speed rail passed. Let’s stop roadblocking it. It will be great for the environment when it passes. LA was once really sparse but is now more dense than most cities and improving public transit. We need to improve public transit and high speed rail creates jobs which help society, unlike prison guard jobs housing low level pot offenders.

            Do you realize how hard it is to put in a common educational testing system for 50 states and DC, put in national healthcare, and put in high speed bullet trains like the ones in Europe or superior ones which now exist and which I’ve taken in China? Please, let’s get behind making these things happen. They should have happened 30 years ago. We should have BART going into Marin and around San Jose in a circle up the peninsula. You say let’s just wait until they fix education for poor kids in rich districts or disabled kids in rich districts, but millions will have other caveats. Society will always have imperfections. If we are willing to delay for the reasons you give, we’ll never have a bullet train to L.A. We should have done it decades ago. Do you realize how hard it will be to do big things if we stop and delay 10 years for a reason like this? Some computers don’t work, let’s start common core from scratch, there’s a farmer or my son doesn’t have one service, let’s delay high speed rail 10 years or until schools are perfect, some employers are cheap, let’s delay healthcare.

            America won’t get better if we delay for every minor reason. Big projects take a great deal of preserverence.

            All these things together take less money than Iraq which gained us nothing, and if we had the same % in prisons as Europe we’d also pay for them all easily.

          • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

            Don, as usual you astutely sum up the greater environment in which the educational funding issues arise. I am just waiting for for the usual commentators to blame the next cyclical and likely soon coming economic crash on the financial sector. Not that the financial sector is not plenty dirty, but the last big crash was largely occasioned by unqualified borrowers being enthusiastically given government guaranteed home loans on homes that were vastly and … Read More

            Don, as usual you astutely sum up the greater environment in which the educational funding issues arise.

            I am just waiting for for the usual commentators to blame the next cyclical and likely soon coming economic crash on the financial sector. Not that the financial sector is not plenty dirty, but the last big crash was largely occasioned by unqualified borrowers being enthusiastically given government guaranteed home loans on homes that were vastly and increasingly overpriced. The government guaranteed loans made the overpricing possible. Much the same as is happening with overpriced higher education and government guaranteed student loans and the student loan bubble today, and housing is gearing up for another crash since the policies which produced the last one are coming into full play again.

            Education funding in California is never even close to good, or adequate, or average. It is bad in good times and much worse in bad times. But in a big spending state, with so many constituencies and so much that can be spent on, not much remains for education. It is telling and sad to note that CA educators are so inured to dismal educational spending that they celebrate when spending levels, as at present, temporarily, are merely bad and not much worse. Reminds me of an abused spouse who is grateful and and happy when the level of abuse merely diminishes a bit.

      • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

        I agree with the statement that the State will not willingly give more to education as long as the people do not complain. However- we saw how fast the UC System got some additional funding when they announced a tuition hike. Someone needs to sue the State in Federal Court.

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          The state never looks at the big picture. There is so much waste it is unbelievable. Prisons, departments, contracts, etc. Even within education, inefficient spending is as big an issue as insufficient spending. You wouldn't believe how many consultants, nonprofits and programs are raking in huge money and not doing jack crap. Arnold set out to find it, but they got to him and he didn't push. He was on … Read More

          The state never looks at the big picture. There is so much waste it is unbelievable. Prisons, departments, contracts, etc. Even within education, inefficient spending is as big an issue as insufficient spending. You wouldn’t believe how many consultants, nonprofits and programs are raking in huge money and not doing jack crap. Arnold set out to find it, but they got to him and he didn’t push. He was on the right track, but sold out.

          • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

            From a practical standpoint - how do you fund education at 2008 levels by the year 2021 but continue to increase salaries pensions and benefits for employees every year? The math does not work. You will have to freeze expenses at 2008 levels by 2021 or give up some other things - like high speed rail and growing benefits for people who are not legally entitled to them. I really don't aspire to be like Europe. … Read More

            From a practical standpoint – how do you fund education at 2008 levels by the year 2021 but continue to increase salaries pensions and benefits for employees every year? The math does not work. You will have to freeze expenses at 2008 levels by 2021 or give up some other things – like high speed rail and growing benefits for people who are not legally entitled to them.

            I really don’t aspire to be like Europe. They are not doing really well right now if you had not noticed.

          • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

            Dawn, they have less poverty and do better on test scores, at least Western Europe. They have under 10th the percentage of people in prison. We like to boast of being the land of the free. Let's start with the basic premise that you own your own body and we will only imprison if there is a victim. We could cut prison costs by 90% and police by 35% and … Read More

            Dawn, they have less poverty and do better on test scores, at least Western Europe. They have under 10th the percentage of people in prison. We like to boast of being the land of the free. Let’s start with the basic premise that you own your own body and we will only imprison if there is a victim. We could cut prison costs by 90% and police by 35% and hire tutors. We probably couldn’t cut the prison cost by 90%, but we could cut it by over half by letting go those who perpetuate victimless crimes. Portugal legalized drugs and drug use went down. I don’t want to pay tax dollars to imprison Heidi Fleiss for 5 years while Charlie Sheen boasts of being a customer and cocaine user but walks scot free with a confession on national TV. I agree Charlie Sheen did nothing wrong to the level of imprisonment, but same with Heidi, she organized something both parties were happy with, but because we’re Puritan and believe in the double standard and sexist slut shaming, we have to make her spend 3 years in prison at our expense. Pot dealers and minor drug offenders, mandatory life sentences and 25 year sentences. We want to control everyone and it costs a lot. We didn’t let some women out who were dying of cancer, out of vindictiveness. Let’s limit prison to deterrence and prevention, and leave vengeance to sicker societies.

            This costs most of the money which goes to schools. You can embrace and uplift people or you can try to control their every move. And don’t tell me it is equal, studies have shown drug use among the rich is equally high. How many Cocaine users, as bad as crack yet more expensive, from Marin or Pacific Heights or Los Gatos are in prison? Why does Charlie Sheen confess to massive cocaine and prostitution use on TV, and everyone watch it, but his cocaine dealer and Heidi Fleiss get prison while he walks scot free?

            Maybe it’s because the system is designed to control the poor not uplift them.

            We can embrace or uplift or imprison and control. It’s such a joke we say we are the land of the free. The Netherlands is way freer than here and everyone has healthcare. France is more free than us. Our rich are free. No one arrests Sheen. But our poor are controlled.

            And the one group, Asians, who do well in school when poor and take upper and upper middle class jobs, their performance is ignored, because the poor are supposed to stay poor and be controlled and the rich are supposed to get richer, do whatever they want, brag about crime and go free.

            These are the facts, and they are undisputed.

            We have a choice. We could spend way more on education but choose not to.

            Illegal immigration is a problem, I won’t argue with that, but we choose to spend on other things like prisons. Let us either be free or enforce the law equally.

        • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

          Court cases often take years to work through the appellate process. Robles-Wong vs. State of California is a case that has been working its way through the state court system since 2010, and in that case the plaintiffs are asking the court to order California to fund education at levels adequate to meet the educational standards which the state mandates. We can hope regarding the outcome, but I am not holding my … Read More

          Court cases often take years to work through the appellate process. Robles-Wong vs. State of California is a case that has been working its way through the state court system since 2010, and in that case the plaintiffs are asking the court to order California to fund education at levels adequate to meet the educational standards which the state mandates. We can hope regarding the outcome, but I am not holding my breath.

          Other alternatives that can happen soon enough to really benefit your kids?

          You could do as we did and homeschool K-12. Not for everyone, but our outcomes were outstanding, with each of our kids ultimately earning multiple college degrees summa cum laude in demanding majors. The kids are well employed, socially adept, community minded, and get along very well with each other and us. One factor that led us to homeschool was the lack of effective resource materials in public schools due to low budgets, and the annual budget for educational materials at the time in public schools was about $40 per student per year. We spent several hundred dollars per year per student on superb, carefully individualized materials that inspired intellectual curiosity and academic excellence.

          Or you could move. Last I checked, Wyoming spent $18,636 per year per K-12 student on education. And did it with no state individual or corporate income tax. And a lower sales tax than CA. And lower total state and local tax revenues per resident in WY than CA. But there are no plans for a high speed rail in Wyoming and educational spending is a priority there. You could move to New York, a state that might be more comparable to CA, where last I checked the per student spending was over $19,000 a year. Or you can stay in California and see what your district can do with $7,000! And how well your high school can do with California student to teacher ratios that are approximately double the national average.

          • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

            Andrew- Sadly you speak the truth. I cannot move for a lot of reasons so both of my kids will end up in Private School. My oldest has been there since 6th grade and my youngest will be on a performing arts charter school or my sons school next year. What makes me so angry is that there is no coverage of these issues - and the District is not transparent so you have to work … Read More

            Andrew-

            Sadly you speak the truth. I cannot move for a lot of reasons so both of my kids will end up in Private School. My oldest has been there since 6th grade and my youngest will be on a performing arts charter school or my sons school next year. What makes me so angry is that there is no coverage of these issues – and the District is not transparent so you have to work very hard to get information out to parents. That is why I started blogging in our local patch and now started a google blog. It was less work then answering individual e-mails from people.

            Since I cannot move- I was hoping to bring attention to the real educational issues in the hopes that some change could be made, but I know that it will take a Federal Lawsuit – ten years and by then it will be to late for the kids currently in my District. What is society going to do with all these kids that are graduating without being educated?

            There has to be a more expedient way to get the State to do the right thing and if that means spending less on Prisions I would be up for that- but again no powerful union is going to let that happen.

        • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

          You could take every cent spent on HSR last year and apply it to k-12 education and you'd only raise spending by about $100 per pupil. In fact, the entire project cost is only around one year of CA education spending (give or take), so you could use that money to double your education spending for a single year--still not matching the funding levels of some other states--and then you'd be right back where you … Read More

          You could take every cent spent on HSR last year and apply it to k-12 education and you’d only raise spending by about $100 per pupil.
          In fact, the entire project cost is only around one year of CA education spending (give or take), so you could use that money to double your education spending for a single year–still not matching the funding levels of some other states–and then you’d be right back where you are today. Next idea?
          CA has a lower than average participation in its state food stamp program. The entire cal works program budget from last year would barely cover s&c grants for this year.
          Welfare spending in ca as a perc of GDP is nearly the lowest it’s been in the past 50 years with the exception of the late 90’s. And as Andrew points out, a lawsuit started today would not likely yield anything within a decade. In fact, unless the courts actually suggest a specific alternative, merely changing from one unconstitutional model to another would buy the state another decade of time (and lawyer fees for everyone).
          Dawn, your ‘from a practical standpoint’ question is a good one. The answer is you don’t. That is why these state policies will end up forcing change at the local level, as I believe they were intended to; unless voters decide to implement significant change at the state level, which I believe is highly unlikely.

          • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

            One thing that would make a difference is enforcing ed code re: Collective Bargaining. My District has stolen every cent and gutted student services to protect employee compensation. Much of what they have done violates public disclosure laws - but no one is interested in enforcing the laws. We have Trustees who are so open and blatant about violating their fiduciary duty to taxpayers and students that they should be prosecuted. The Orange County Department … Read More

            One thing that would make a difference is enforcing ed code re: Collective Bargaining. My District has stolen every cent and gutted student services to protect employee compensation. Much of what they have done violates public disclosure laws – but no one is interested in enforcing the laws. We have Trustees who are so open and blatant about violating their fiduciary duty to taxpayers and students that they should be prosecuted. The Orange County Department of Education acknowledges this in e-mails that I have received in Public Record Requests but there doesn’t seem to be anyone who is willing to enforce the laws so the conduct of the District Staff (who runs our District) gets more egregious every year. It is astonishing to watch.

          • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

            OK, Dawn, what sections of Ed Code are being violated exactly? And, while were at it, what "services" to students did you want delivered that don't involve personnel to deliver them along with the attendant salaries and benefits? By the way, school districts continue to be funded based on ADA (average daily attendance), that is they get funded by the state when kids show up at school. It's the furloughing of employees that "save" districts … Read More

            OK, Dawn, what sections of Ed Code are being violated exactly? And, while were at it, what “services” to students did you want delivered that don’t involve personnel to deliver them along with the attendant salaries and benefits? By the way, school districts continue to be funded based on ADA (average daily attendance), that is they get funded by the state when kids show up at school. It’s the furloughing of employees that “save” districts dollars and, of course, resulted in cuts to employee compensation.

          • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

            Gary - when employees want to justify the need to have 92% of the budget go to employee compensation they argue that they are the most important part of the budget and there is little else that needs to be funded. However, when it comes to having to cut budgets my District never seems to touch the one thing that is 92% of the budget. Again - the math does not work- hence my comment … Read More

            Gary – when employees want to justify the need to have 92% of the budget go to employee compensation they argue that they are the most important part of the budget and there is little else that needs to be funded. However, when it comes to having to cut budgets my District never seems to touch the one thing that is 92% of the budget. Again – the math does not work- hence my comment that going forward my District will be paying salary increases so that retirement benefits are the max they can be – but we will furlough students to do so.

            How much instructional time would you like students in CUSD to miss so that teachers can ensure a max pension?

          • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

            I have sent documentation to the DA regarding the non-compliance with Public Disclosure laws – I will post that documentation on my blog tomorrow. It is in letters from the past three years with links to document the veracity of my statements.

          • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

            California Government Code Section 3547. I will post my letter to Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Lubinski dated 10/16/12 after District Attorney Tony Racksuckas handed the matter over to him for observation and investigation.

          • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

            (c) If a school district does not adopt all of the revisions to
            its budget needed in the current fiscal year to meet the costs of a
            collective bargaining agreement, the county superintendent of schools
            shall issue a qualified or negative certification for the district
            on the next interim report pursuant to Section 42131 of the Education
            Code.

            interesting.

            btw, i dont think the DA cares about school districts unless they embezzle funds or there is physical harm to a student.

          • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

            All I can say is we’re extremely lucky Brown made them put some money to the pensions, because otherwise the raises would have completely blocked any funding of anything but salaries and they would have given big raises, then treated the increased pension costs due to previous underfunding as an unpredictable surprise which made funding tutors or any other services impossible. Brown isn’t always good, but he was good on that one, very responsible and farseeing.

          • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

            California Government Code Section 3547.5 (a) Prohibits a School District from entering into a written agreement with an employee group without first disclosing to the public, the costs that would be incurred by the District under the agreement for the current and subsequent fiscal years. (b) Requires that the Superintendent and Chief Business Official certify in writing that the costs incurred by the school district under the agreement can be met by the district during the term of … Read More

            California Government Code Section 3547.5

            (a) Prohibits a School District from entering into a written agreement with an employee group without first disclosing to the public, the costs that would be incurred by the District under the agreement for the current and subsequent fiscal years.

            (b) Requires that the Superintendent and Chief Business Official certify in writing that the costs incurred by the school district under the agreement can be met by the district during the term of the agreement.

            (c) Requires the District to adopt a budget that pays for the cost of the collective bargaining agreements, or file a qualified or negative certification with the County Superintendent of Schools pursuant to Education Code Section 42131.

            The intent of Government Code Sections 3547.5 is to ensure that school Districts can pay for the employment contracts they enter into.

            CUSD has been filing Qualified Budgets for years. They are not required to do so now (as of June 30, 2014)?

            A fiscal expert was assigned to the District, but the District never complied with the requirements of Section 42131 of the Education Code which requires a District who is filing a “Qualified Budget” to show that it can meet its financial obligations for the current and subsequent two years. Capistrano Unified did single year budgets with adjusting entries for the two subsequent years. Then OCDE would simply write a letter stating the fact that CUSD was deficit spending.

          • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

            Virtually all of your ed budget must necessarily go to salaries if you have only $7,000 to spend per student. After salaries there isn't anything left for the kind of individualized material resources that inspire students or for architectually pleasing buildings or anything else. Imagine what could be done with $19,000 per student, or even $12,000. The vast bulk of public school teachers are working heroically under these straited circumstances to do … Read More

            Virtually all of your ed budget must necessarily go to salaries if you have only $7,000 to spend per student. After salaries there isn’t anything left for the kind of individualized material resources that inspire students or for architectually pleasing buildings or anything else. Imagine what could be done with $19,000 per student, or even $12,000.

            The vast bulk of public school teachers are working heroically under these straited circumstances to do the best they can for the kids. You don’t hear much from teachers collectively about how meager their material resources are; if they complain collectively in a zero sum game, more of the salary money they need for CA high cost of living will be taken from them and allocated to materials. They have been without ideal resources for so long I’m not sure some know what they are.

            If you check the budgets of the alternative private schools, I’ll bet they spend less than $7,000 per student, unless they are the sort of high end schools that charge $35,000 a year tuition. CA charter schools generally have the same financial limitations as CA conventional public schools. Charter schools often structure themselves so that they have a high teacher turnover that robs them of the sort of stability that promotes the best education. So they rely heavily on marketing hype, but are often short on demonstrable results. There aren’t a lot of happy alternatives in this state.

            Contrary to some opinions, California generally doesn’t pay outsized welfare benefits to individual recipients. But it has a disproportinate share of the nation’s recipients. An article in U-T San Diego pointed out that 12% of the nation’s population lives in California, but CA has 34% of the nation’s welfare recipients. A multiple choice test . . . If you are going to draw welfare and need not work, you would chose to live in (A) North Dakota or (B) California! Short of massive global warming, there is probably not a lot that can be done short term about this issue, though we need not be inviting more masses to add to the state’s already huge population.

          • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

            Given the state of the present CA alternatives, I'd homeschool our kids K-12 again, if I had it to do over again in these times. But homeschooling isn't for everyone and I'd like to see more and better alternatives, including strong and vibrant public education. Homeschooling remains a viable option for some, and is better and better as resources and technology grow. An example of what is possible today in homeschooling, I am … Read More

            Given the state of the present CA alternatives, I’d homeschool our kids K-12 again, if I had it to do over again in these times. But homeschooling isn’t for everyone and I’d like to see more and better alternatives, including strong and vibrant public education.

            Homeschooling remains a viable option for some, and is better and better as resources and technology grow. An example of what is possible today in homeschooling, I am inspired by a young homeschooling family of modest means that I know.

            The ten year old son is blessed with a rich Hispanic heritage and parents who are wise and caring, though neither parent has a college degree. The family networks with other homeschooling parents and children, who bring a variety of backgrounds, abilities, degrees and insights to the mix. The ten year old is wildly passionate about science, not because some controlling “Tiger Mom” is pushing it on him, but because he has come to love learning in an atmosphere of freedom and opportunity and he especially loves science.

            This young man, age 10, just finished enthusiastically self-educating himself in the principles of sub-atomic particle physics. On his own initiative, he organized what he learned into charts to better understand how everything fits and works together. He is also enthused about his next target for acquisition of knowledge, radiation physics. He is taking an online high school AP biology class and acing it, and enjoys it. He takes joy from the world he discovers with his own microscope.

            An unwritten principle of good homeschooling networks is helping and inspiring others and sharing gifts and resources. This young man is inspiring and motivating other kids in his network. In turn, I sent him an engaging grown-up book on the history of medical microbiology, a book that included insights into history and culture as well as science and scientific method. The young man read the book in two days, and then he re-read it
            again in the next week.

            Not every homeschooled student will have such talents and enthusiasm for science. But most have something they can become passionate about. I know of one homeschooled young man who loved linguistics and language and was self-taught in over a dozen languages by the end of high school. Another might love all things relating to Shakespearean literature. What they share in common, if the homeschooling is done right, is that they have a lot of freedom, and they have come to love learning, and they use the freedom wisely to learn about things they are passionate about. And they learn about lots of other things that can be integrated into an individualized learning plan that really fits them and what they love and who they are. I don’t really care if they don’t learn everything in structured format on someone’s checklist and schedule. The world can and will use them and it needs them.

Template last modified: