Major Changes Proposed
After much anticipation we now know more about the governor's proposed Local Control Funding Formula. As he told Californians in his state of the state address, he is seeking to localize decision-making. "...Decisions should be made at the lowest possible level of a government or an organization rather than at a high level." In particular, Gov. Brown is giving the classroom experts – teachers, certificated personnel, and education support professionals - more power to decide what is best for students.
The proposal phases in more money to schools with students who require more funding to educate. Students identified as higher needs, thus higher costs, are students who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch, English-language learners, and foster kids.
As part of the proposed changes, most of the money outlined in California's Education Code for specific education programs are collapsed into the new funding formula. The governor's stated intent for the local control means eliminating state mandates that tie the hands of those doing the work, which provides numerous opportunities to impact school learning and teaching environments.
The Department of Finance has filled in some of the missing pieces by releasing district breakdowns under the proposed school funding formula. Local educators on CTA's State Council of Education will continue to review the budget proposal to ascertain the impact.
CTA agrees that different student populations require additional funds to educate. However, CTA has some concerns about changing to a new funding formula before schools receive money owed to them from years of state budget cuts. Other concerns include reducing class sizes, providing resources to implement the new Common Core State Standards and the governor's proposal to move adult education to community colleges.
Additionally, CTA wants to ensure the new funding system includes accountability for how the dollars are spent. If the state removes the program-based funding accountability in the current system, the state must look at developing strong penalties for those districts that fail to provide basic services to all students.
There must also be some type of audit requirement to ensure the data used in the new formula is accurate and calculated equally in all schools as well as state definitions for poverty indexes and student classifications.
For more information about the LCCF:
See the K-12 section of the governor's budget summary K thru12 education