Eric Premack

Eric Premack

The current Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) legislation pending before the Legislature utterly fails to reach any of the key reform goals that Gov. Jerry Brown and his advisers articulated. The bill presents the Legislature and governor with a stark choice.

The key goals of LCFF, as articulated by the governor’s astute adviser Mike Kirst and his colleagues in a seminal paper, were as follows:

  • Allocate Revenue Based on Needs. Though the bill would direct substantial funding toward districts serving high proportions of English learners and low-income students, much of the allocation is driven by the quirks of California’s gerrymandered school district boundaries. Students with identical needs and living on opposite sides of the same street can be funded at dramatically different rates – simply because the school district boundary line falls in the middle of their street. Worse yet, the LCFF continues three huge categorical programs that are widely recognized to be the most grossly inequitable of all of California’s categorical funding programs. These include Home-to-School Transportation (where funding rates are based decades-old entitlement data), Targeted Instructional Improvement Grants (“pork” funding that give some districts $1,000 per student and others none), and Special Education (with per-student rates ranging from less than $450 per student to nearly $1,000 for no good reason). LCFF also continues to allow property-rich “Basic Aid” districts to continue to receive massive sums of above-the-formula funds – reaching to the tens of thousands of dollars per students in some instances.
  • Adjust for Regional Cost Differences. The LCFF makes no allowance here. Arguably, it never should have, so no major loss here.
  • Transparency and Simplicity. While the core elements of the LCFF formula are straightforward, the system created by the 226-page legislation is a model of complexity and opacity. The transition period to the new system is painfully long – the reform equivalent of pulling off a Band-Aid in slow motion over an eight-year period – and includes a mishmash of (1) base, (2) transition, (3) “economic recovery,” and (4) hold-harmless formulae.  Already, a cottage industry of consultants are selling “LCFF Calculator” services to help schools and districts to guesstimate their funding under the new, volatile system. Even the California Department of Education, the keeper of key funding and entitlement data, needed a private grant to begin its simulations.Though LCFF will do away with a few dozen state-funded categorical programs along with their wasteful application and compliance rules, the new system could easily be worse. It replaces the categorical funding rules with a complex set of new “accountability” requirements and grades K-3 class size reduction targets. The legislation articulates dozens of “state priorities” that local school officials must now address in written school and district accountability plans developed through lengthy consultation and adoption processes. LCFF also calls for the State Board to develop regulations to supposedly ensure that the extra funds for English learners and low-income students are spent to their benefit. The new laws, however, specify that districts can throw these extra funds into “districtwide” pools based on loose federal rules for “schoolwide” plans.  Decades of experience with such plans demonstrates that they provide huge loopholes – and LCFF’s extending these from the schoolwide to the districtwide level will ensure little or no transparency or accountability.  They are no match for the powerful suction of the labor bargaining table. In short, the LCFF is remarkably complex, replaces existing categorical rules with even more burdensome pseudo-accountability requirements, yet assures no real accountability.

Veto Bait

The governor and his advisers deserve kudos for trying to accommodate many of California’s influential education interest groups and for attempting to keep the process transparent – at least until the last week when extensive changes were made behind closed doors and without public discussion. The resulting LCFF proposals, unfortunately, are worse than the current system because they lend the false impression of a significant improvement. The Legislature should reject it. If not, Governor Brown should simply come clean, admit the failure, and veto the LCFF legislation if it hits his desk. If not, this bungled pseudo-reform will prove a major stain on an otherwise increasingly-impressive track record.

 • • •

Eric Premack is executive director of the Charter Schools Development Center, a leading charter school support and advocacy organization he founded in 1993.  Premack previously worked for School Services of California, Inc., and the Office of the Legislative Analyst.

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  1. Mary Johnson, Parent-U-Turn 5 years ago5 years ago

    I am a very concerned parent. By one stroke of a pen, a new state law, the ‘Local Control Funding Formula,’ single handedly expels thousands of key stakeholders from the educational planning and decision-making table. As a parent advocate for educational equity, I have fought for more than two decades to make sure that all California children receive a quality education and that all California parents have a meaningful say in shaping this education. Today, I … Read More

    I am a very concerned parent. By one stroke of a pen, a new state law, the ‘Local Control Funding Formula,’ single handedly expels thousands of key stakeholders from the educational planning and decision-making table.
    As a parent advocate for educational equity, I have fought for more than two decades to make sure that all California children receive a quality education and that all California parents have a meaningful say in shaping this education. Today, I see signs of progress on the first count, due to new approaches to funding California public schools. But on the second count, inclusion, I am shocked that some parents will not be fully included in this new reform. This reversal in course on parental involvement worries me because I know that energized parents are the key to all educational improvement.
    After several years of having our children’s education harmed by painful budget cuts, parents like me are pleased to see new funds flowing into our local public schools. I am particularly pleased that Governor Brown and his allies decided this year to direct additional funds to schools with the greatest needs. Under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), districts serving (1) the highest proportion of English Learners, (2) low-income students, and (3) foster youth will receive a substantial boost (up to 35%) to their base funding from the state.
    This is my concern. While LCFF calls for districts to consult with parents on how these additional funds will be spent, which is laudable in principle, I am very concerned that the state’s plans for implementing this principle do not fully include all groups of parents, and thus key stakeholders that have traditionally had a seat at the education planning will not be part of the process.
    According to LCFF, Districts are supposed to consult with parents about how these new funds will be spent The big question, however, is who will district representatives consult with? The answer is in the law itself: At the district level, one group only will be consulted: the District English Language Advisory Council (DELAC); and at the school site level, only the School Site Council (a general advisory group) will be consulted. As unbelievable as that may sound, no other parent groups need be consulted. This expressly disenfranchises countless thousands of parents that have historically been a routine part of this process. This is wrong, and a serious reversal of well-established public policy. Simply put, in one fell swoop, decades-long, hard-fought inclusion has been replaced with old-style exclusion. ALL parent stakeholder groups need to have their voices heard. In my own community, African American parents and many Latinos are English speakers. However, there is nothing in the law that requires districts to hear from them! In the Los Angeles Unified School District, where I live, broad-based community inclusion has been standard practice for many, many years. Parents representing all manner of needs, ethnicities, languages, backgrounds, neighborhoods, etc. have routinely participated in the planning, formation and implementation of programs and curriculum, with great benefits to the children and their families. Under LCCF, this has come to a screeching halt.
    LCFF needs to promote moving forward, not backsliding, and reinstate/include all significant stakeholders in the planning process. The District Advisory Council needs to be reinstated; a Foster Care Advisory Council needs to be added; a Special Education Advisory Council has to be part of the process; and other advisories must also be included as fit unique individual district and school site needs.
    It is troubling to me that at a time when funds are increased, parent involvement is decreased. Why? A district trying to fulfill the broad principles behind the law wouldn’t seek to include parents beyond the D-ELAC.
    Not only is the policy public policy reversal under LCCF a real shame in human terms, it is also a gigantic slap in the face to those of us who have labored tirelessly for decades to bring everyone into the fold and improve education for all, regardless of color, creed or anything else.
    LCCF reverses well over 50 years of state and federal public policy and, if not corrected, will have serious negative impacts on student achievement as well as community commitment and relations.
    All stakeholders need to be back at the table.
    The big question that still looms in the balance will the LCFF and Local Schools District share the decision-making with parents and community.

  2. navigio 6 years ago6 years ago

    'Legislation tucked into the state budget bill would "eviscerate" the public's ability to track tax dollars and hold local officials accountable, open government advocates charged Friday. "This is the worst assault on the public's right to know I have seen in my 18 years of doing this," said Jim Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publisher's Association, said Friday as the bill appeared headed for passage.' http://www.mercurynews.com/politics-government/ci_23464834/california-public-records-law-eviscerated-budget-bill-critics - Read More

    ‘Legislation tucked into the state budget bill would “eviscerate” the public’s ability to track tax dollars and hold local officials accountable, open government advocates charged Friday.
    “This is the worst assault on the public’s right to know I have seen in my 18 years of doing this,” said Jim Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association, said Friday as the bill appeared headed for passage.’

    http://www.mercurynews.com/politics-government/ci_23464834/california-public-records-law-eviscerated-budget-bill-critics

  3. Jerry Heverly 6 years ago6 years ago

    My district financial people tell a completely different story. We had negotiations going on as the legislature voted on LCFF. The day the parties settled (we got a 3% raise) was the day the announcement was made that the Governor and the legislature had forged an agreement. (The district promised to revisit wages once the budget was finalized so we might get a larger raise). BUT, the district financial people insist that LCFF accountability measures basically … Read More

    My district financial people tell a completely different story. We had negotiations going on as the legislature voted on LCFF. The day the parties settled (we got a 3% raise) was the day the announcement was made that the Governor and the legislature had forged an agreement. (The district promised to revisit wages once the budget was finalized so we might get a larger raise).
    BUT, the district financial people insist that LCFF accountability measures basically take all the supplemental money off the table. My sense is that they told the union that money won’t be available for wages because the county office will be watching closely to see how it is spent.
    All your insistence on transparency and accountability to me just means the district can justify hiring more 100+K bureaucrats to crunch numbers. I, too, think that school board elections are the locus of accountability.

    Replies

    • navigio 6 years ago6 years ago

      "I, too, think that school board elections are the locus of accountability." I dont see how its realistic to expect that to be productive. Our school board elections are every 4 years. The voter turnout is usually below 10%, and the majority of those are people who would even desire that supplemental money be directed away from the demographic that LCFF is intended to help. Even then, a school board member who wishes to remain in power … Read More

      I, too, think that school board elections are the locus of accountability.

      I dont see how its realistic to expect that to be productive. Our school board elections are every 4 years. The voter turnout is usually below 10%, and the majority of those are people who would even desire that supplemental money be directed away from the demographic that LCFF is intended to help.

      Even then, a school board member who wishes to remain in power could simply continue to push to suppress transparency for most of his/her tenure and then make a few, key, directed comments (or attacks) come election time and be back in like flynn for another 4 years… We are lost if that continues to be the process.

      • el 6 years ago6 years ago

        There is a lot that could be done to make school board elections more transparent. One of the things I note is that because districts are billed for elections, there's a perverse incentive to have exactly as many candidates as slots. If that's how it works out, fine, but truly I think we're better off if there's a more vibrant discussion. The current debacle in the Saugus Union School District suggests that no one even … Read More

        There is a lot that could be done to make school board elections more transparent. One of the things I note is that because districts are billed for elections, there’s a perverse incentive to have exactly as many candidates as slots. If that’s how it works out, fine, but truly I think we’re better off if there’s a more vibrant discussion.

        The current debacle in the Saugus Union School District suggests that no one even bothered to Google one of the people they elected in 2011. Yikes. (http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2013/06/14/13993/saugus-union-school-board-member-in-hot-water-over/)
        There is much to google, but I think my favorite part is when he claims he doesn’t actually read tweets before re-tweeting them.

        That particular candidate is certainly getting press attention now. Shame the press didn’t bother BEFORE the election. They could have had almost as much fun when he was only a candidate.

      • Paul Muench 6 years ago6 years ago

        I’m still hoping that voter turnout improves once people realize the new importamce of school boards.

        • el 6 years ago6 years ago

          I think it is the best way, and one of my mantras to people is that it is THEIR responsibility to choose good people for their school board and oversee it - not just to vote but to go to meetings, and to recruit candidates if necessary. School board in nearly every district is a race you can win with grassroots networking. In this era of free blogs, there is no reason it needs to be … Read More

          I think it is the best way, and one of my mantras to people is that it is THEIR responsibility to choose good people for their school board and oversee it – not just to vote but to go to meetings, and to recruit candidates if necessary.

          School board in nearly every district is a race you can win with grassroots networking. In this era of free blogs, there is no reason it needs to be a zero information race. But, people gotta care, and they need to care at the right time in the cycle. That is now, by the way, for many boards: applications for the fall elections are coming up.

          • Eric Premack 6 years ago6 years ago

            While it's certainly true that grassroots democracy is alive in some districts, in many others, especially our largest urban districts, it's democracy run-amok. Seats on boards are literally bought-and-paid-for by either school employee unions and/or deep-pocketed individuals. Arguably, the notion of the local school district is an archaic and outdated model. I've often wondered what might happen if we allowed and encouraged well-run districts to open and run schools outside of their traditional boundaries? … Read More

            While it’s certainly true that grassroots democracy is alive in some districts, in many others, especially our largest urban districts, it’s democracy run-amok. Seats on boards are literally bought-and-paid-for by either school employee unions and/or deep-pocketed individuals.

            Arguably, the notion of the local school district is an archaic and outdated model. I’ve often wondered what might happen if we allowed and encouraged well-run districts to open and run schools outside of their traditional boundaries? Or allow county offices of education to more flexibility to offer broader offerings to traditional students and not just their usual court and community school populations. Similarly, community colleges could be allowed to run high school programs. In Minnesota, high school students can attend any college or university and stick their home school district with the tuition tab.

            Given this sort of flexibility, school districts might whine a bit less about losing “their” students to charter schools.

            These sorts of changes could also help place a much-needed check on the powers of local boards that have run amok.

            • navigio 6 years ago6 years ago

              Eric, I believe it is wrong to assume losing students to charter schools is somehow solely a function of ‘consumers’ making market-oriented decisions based on ‘quality’. The idea that districts are in a position to offer every student everything they need irrespective of what state legislators and voters have been doing to schools over the past couple of decades is ridiculous.

          • navigio 6 years ago6 years ago

            Allow me disagree on the role that elections play or even should play in transparency and accountability. Firstly, not everyone agrees on the nature of transparency. There are many 'good' people out there who believe transparency (and maybe even accountability) is not an effective use of time or resources (or that district staff is hired to do a job and should be trusted to do it). It should also be clear that its possible to do … Read More

            Allow me disagree on the role that elections play or even should play in transparency and accountability.
            Firstly, not everyone agrees on the nature of transparency. There are many ‘good’ people out there who believe transparency (and maybe even accountability) is not an effective use of time or resources (or that district staff is hired to do a job and should be trusted to do it). It should also be clear that its possible to do these things to varying degrees.
            In addition, words and deeds are two very different things. It’s possible to talk transparency and try to push it but have nothing result but because of an unwilling staff. That situation is virtually indistinguishable from somebody who talks transparency but doesn’t really follow through. The amount of interaction between a board member and districts staff is vastly greater than what we see in board meetings and making decisions about board members based on something we rarely have visibility into isn’t really possible.
            And then there is the real question of what kind of power board members have to push the issue. Transparency is a district culture thing. It cannot happen without buy-in from district staff and the superintendent. Often those two are even at odds on the issue. The only power the board has over this is the hiring and firing decisions it makes surrounding the superintendent (and a few of his/her underlings). The idea that a board can come together enough on the question of transparency and would find firing a superintendent as the most effective way to impose that idea on staff (irrespective of the myriad other things that might be going right in the district) is mistaken in my view. It is plainly too brute force and much too indirect.
            Finally, transparency within the election process itself is mostly independent of transparency at a school district level. While the personal indiscretions of a board member may reflect negatively on a district, they have nothing to do with how the district decides to communicate about its own behavior. Even then, having to wait 4 years to decide whether someone agrees with you isn’t realistic.
            It is true that board members play a critical role, but these things must be driven by the community as an ongoing process. And even that may be ineffective. This is why it is so important to some people that transparency and accountability measures are specified at a legal level.

            • el 6 years ago6 years ago

              In addition to the power of the Board to hire and fire the superintendent, the board and individual trustees also have direct access to the auditors, the opportunity to have rather a lot of interactions with staff, and the ability to make staff extremely uncomfortable in a public meeting on the public record just by asking particular questions. (Or, conversely, to make staff feel respected and appreciated and supported by the particular questions asked.) I would … Read More

              In addition to the power of the Board to hire and fire the superintendent, the board and individual trustees also have direct access to the auditors, the opportunity to have rather a lot of interactions with staff, and the ability to make staff extremely uncomfortable in a public meeting on the public record just by asking particular questions. (Or, conversely, to make staff feel respected and appreciated and supported by the particular questions asked.)

              I would say that in the districts that I’m familiar with that the board in fact has a lot of influence over priorities and culture and in ways that are not necessarily all that obvious.

              I’ve said on many occasions that I think LAUSD is too large. This is another one of those times. 🙂 With so many schools (>700) in their jurisdiction, there is no way that any one person can visit them all in less than several years of doing nothing else. Even with 7 districts, each trustee is tasked with roughly 100 schools – still more than can be practically visited during a single term in office. The trustees have no personal stake or community in the schools they represent; the community has no opportunity to know their trustee.

            • navigio 6 years ago6 years ago

              Hi El, yes, I agree with that. They can have an impact in certain situations. However, I’ve also seen the attempt to have an impact on staff culture backfire to the extent that it burned bridges between staff and BoE members. But even then, when some BoE members are not truly interested in transparency or accountability, that can also be what is imparted onto staff culture. 🙂 fyi, I am not lausd.. even though I am nearby..

            • Paul 6 years ago6 years ago

              School district executives, and by extension, the boards to which they report, have become very good at circumventing accountability laws. It's hard to fudge test scores, of course, but I think most of us agree that an accountability system based entirely on test scores is of little value. No, the accountability provisions that I'm talking about are the general ones, and they would be very valuable if the state could enforce them. How many Williams Act … Read More

              School district executives, and by extension, the boards to which they report, have become very good at circumventing accountability laws. It’s hard to fudge test scores, of course, but I think most of us agree that an accountability system based entirely on test scores is of little value.

              No, the accountability provisions that I’m talking about are the general ones, and they would be very valuable if the state could enforce them. How many Williams Act complaints have been filed recently in your district? How many teacher misassignments were there last year, and how many of those were reported? How many teachers are illegally classified as temporary in an average year? Which categorical program funds were diverted to which other uses, and for what reasons? Which non-adopted educational materials were pushed on teachers, as a matter of quasi-official policy?

              State law in these areas is only as effective as the local superintendent and his or her board. There is no substitute for a community’s making good electoral decisions (and if necessary, prompt recall decisions). If voter turnout is low, if voters oppose equity, if school board seats are sold to the highest bidder, and so on, then bad educational outcomes were probably tolerated under the old system and will probably be tolerated under the new. Short of draconian measures such as FMCAT takeover (for gross financial mismanagement) and NCLB sanctions (for low test scores), the state has little influence over school districts, even now.

            • Manuel 6 years ago6 years ago

              Sigh... What Paul wrote in his last paragraph is very depressing if one hopes that the school system will do right by the children it is supposed to serve. While district size plays a role, I don't think that it is the only reason for dysfunction. In fact, LAUSD's current Superintendent is known to have done some not very good things when he was the Superintendent of Santa Monica-Malibu USD. Of course, all of them were done … Read More

              Sigh…

              What Paul wrote in his last paragraph is very depressing if one hopes that the school system will do right by the children it is supposed to serve.

              While district size plays a role, I don’t think that it is the only reason for dysfunction. In fact, LAUSD’s current Superintendent is known to have done some not very good things when he was the Superintendent of Santa Monica-Malibu USD. Of course, all of them were done in secret and by the time parents complained he was gone to better things. That’s a district with 11,417 enrolled students vs 655,494 in LAUSD (for 2012-13). Hence, breaking up LAUSD would not be a panacea for its many ailments if many are due to the high administrators.

              No, Paul is correct when he observes that State law in these areas is only as effective as the local superintendent and his or her board. I am, however, of the opinion that these laws must be given some serious teeth so that third parties, say, voters, can appeal to the higher authority and have the recalcitrant staff and/or board members be legally responsible for some of their flagrantly bad decisions. It comes down to job performance: if they can’t cut the mustard and the Board is unwilling to act there should be a way for a citizen to bring a complain and have authorities act on it and not simply brush it off.

              Given the language of the LCFF compromise, I suspect there will be many opportunities to complain about the process. I must also agree that expecting test scores to be the main yardstick of success is a recipe for disaster because there will never be academic growth as long as we insist on tests that have scores that closely hew to a Bell Curve.

  4. Manuel 6 years ago6 years ago

    Recently, I disagreed with Mr. Premick's idea LCFF will be ruled unconstitutional. However, his observation that "The new laws, however, specify that districts can throw these extra funds into “districtwide” pools based on loose federal rules for “schoolwide” plans. Decades of experience with such plans demonstrates that they provide huge loopholes – and LCFF’s extending these from the schoolwide to the districtwide level will ensure little or no transparency or accountability." is something I completely … Read More

    Recently, I disagreed with Mr. Premick’s idea LCFF will be ruled unconstitutional.

    However, his observation that “The new laws, however, specify that districts can throw these extra funds into “districtwide” pools based on loose federal rules for “schoolwide” plans. Decades of experience with such plans demonstrates that they provide huge loopholes – and LCFF’s extending these from the schoolwide to the districtwide level will ensure little or no transparency or accountability.” is something I completely agree on.

    I am, however, not so convinced that the “They are no match for the powerful suction of the labor bargaining table.” In my experience, the LAUSD’s spending priorities are the major issue as they suck 40% of the unrestricted budget to provide “school-site services.” That’s a serious chunk of change and there is not much the public or even the unions can do to obtain clear accountability.

  5. Eric Premack 6 years ago6 years ago

    Good points Paul: California allocates the bulk of special education funding on a per-ADA basis (including ADA for all students without regard to special needs status). The per-ADA rates were pegged based on expenditure levels many years ago and have little or no rational basis based on current need, caseload, costs, or any other rational basis. There has been some equalization progress in past years, but huge disparities remain. Some changes in the … Read More

    Good points Paul:

    California allocates the bulk of special education funding on a per-ADA basis (including ADA for all students without regard to special needs status). The per-ADA rates were pegged based on expenditure levels many years ago and have little or no rational basis based on current need, caseload, costs, or any other rational basis. There has been some equalization progress in past years, but huge disparities remain. Some changes in the pending budget trailer bill will tweak this a bit, but only a bit.

    While wages are higher in San Francisco than in Fresno, it seems a stretch to argue that folks in Fresno who make less money in the first instance, should pay to support higher wages elsewhere. Interestingly, the difference isn’t that much–and Fresno is among the largest beneficiaries in the LCCF.

    San Francisco Unified advocates did argue that they deserved ongoing TIIG funding, despite the fact that their desegregation court order expired back in 2006, because of high local operating costs. It’s also worth noting that San Francisco enjoys revenue sources that others don’t, including a special local sales tax override.

    (As I write, the Senate just approved the LCCF bill . . ..)

    Replies

    • Paul 6 years ago6 years ago

      Thanks for explaining state special education funding. Anything pegged to revenue limits is, as you say, irrational and inequitable. There's a temptation to adopt an LCFF approach for special education, where each district would receive funds based on the number of special education students -- and perhaps, on the relative severity of their disabilities. Obviously, that would be an administrative nightmare, and another incentive to overdiagnose students. What do you think would be a workable … Read More

      Thanks for explaining state special education funding. Anything pegged to revenue limits is, as you say, irrational and inequitable. There’s a temptation to adopt an LCFF approach for special education, where each district would receive funds based on the number of special education students — and perhaps, on the relative severity of their disabilities. Obviously, that would be an administrative nightmare, and another incentive to overdiagnose students. What do you think would be a workable special education funding model? Perhaps a uniform, statewide allowance per unit of ADA?

      On the question of variations in local cost of living, wouldn’t it be better to recognize them explicitly than to paper them over with a patchwork of local funding (e.g. San Francisco, where city government makes a sizable financial contribution to the school district), fortuitous eligibilty for categorical funding (e.g. LA, with TIIG), or fortuitous prevalence of high-need students (e.g. Fresno, with its decent total LCFF result)? Since we’re talking about state money (including the portion of a standardized, statewide property tax claimed by the state), it doesn’t make sense to say that money raised in one locality cannot be spent in another. That argument, if carried to its logical conclusion, would take us back to the pre-Serrano world, where (then-locally-determined and locally-claimed) property tax was the only funding source for each school district.

      • el 6 years ago6 years ago

        One of the things to keep in mind is that special ed students are probably not evenly distributed - my sense is that high needs kids are much more likely to be in urban areas. But in rural areas, one high needs child moving in or out can have a substantial effect on the budget. If that child moves in or out, I would like to see the money go with the child, and I … Read More

        One of the things to keep in mind is that special ed students are probably not evenly distributed – my sense is that high needs kids are much more likely to be in urban areas. But in rural areas, one high needs child moving in or out can have a substantial effect on the budget. If that child moves in or out, I would like to see the money go with the child, and I think it’s the state, not the home district, who should fund the extraordinary needs wherever that child attends.

        I would like to hear more ideas for making this workable with incentives that make sense.

  6. Paul 6 years ago6 years ago

    Thank you for this article, Eric. When everyone seems to be raving about something, it's good to read an alternative perspective, even if I disagree with that perspective. I don't think it's fair to treat the holding over of the special education, transportation, or desegregation (TIIG) categorical funding programs as a failure of LCF. Debating those programs would have blocked progress on the entire package. I'd be interested in learning about the inequities built in to … Read More

    Thank you for this article, Eric. When everyone seems to be raving about something, it’s good to read an alternative perspective, even if I disagree with that perspective.

    I don’t think it’s fair to treat the holding over of the special education, transportation, or desegregation (TIIG) categorical funding programs as a failure of LCF. Debating those programs would have blocked progress on the entire package. I’d be interested in learning about the inequities built in to the special educaion funding (the others, I know). Can you tell us more?

    Why shouldn’t funding have been indexed to the local of living? It stands to reason that it’s much more expensive to employ a teacher in San Francisco, or in a remote area, than, say, in the Central Valley.

    I agree with you about the “economic recovery” allocation. Irrational as it is, perhaps adding that falls into the same category as preseving TIIG — a political compromise necessary to get anything passed at all.

    I suppport use of supplemental and concentration allocations on district-wide and school-wide initiatives that benefit English Learners and low-income students. Would you propose NOT providing, say, academic language professional development to teachers in schools with small EL enrollment, or to teachers with just a few ELs in their classes? I recognize the potential for abuse and agree that accountability will be tough. So it is today with Title I, for example. On a fundamental level, accountability may mean voting out school boards, who will be squarely responsible for funding choices from now on.

    Your point about arbitrary school district boundaries is well-taken. With all the news about borrowing ideas from Ontario, Canada, I wish that California would borrow a useful one: look up the “Fewer School Boards Act”. Sadly, merging these stupid little school districts (and getting rid of their duplicate executive staffs) is far beyond the scope of LCF.

    Replies

    • Paul 6 years ago6 years ago

      [Missed an important word: “indexed to the local COST of living”]