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Concerns over Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula Take Center Stage

Assembly Budget Subcommittee Warns About implications, and the Education  Coalition Says Cuts Must Be Restored First

The governor’s school funding proposals contained in his January budget plan made it to the education subcommittee of the Assembly Budget Committee again Tuesday morning. Representatives of the governor’s finance department, the legislative analyst’s office, and the department of education made presentations.

Assembly Member Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), chair of the subcommittee, said that the state can’t keep asking education “to spin gold from straw…. It takes an infusion of funding to make things happen.”

Allocating funding to the governor’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which provides more money for students who need more help, would have implications for other important programs—including class size reduction, Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment, and Common Core implementation.

Assembly Member Al Maratsuchi (D-Torrance) questioned whether the governor’s LCFF really increased funding for schools, something that was promised when Proposition 30 was on the ballot.  “The first priority is to increase base funding for all districts so that we don’t have winners and losers, things the Department of Finance figures [of funding under LCFF] show.  All the school districts in my area are losers, according to these figures,” he concluded.

He urged that the state to restore funding before implementing a new funding formula.

Maratsuchi’s comments were echoed by spokespersons for the statewide Education Coalition, which represents more than six million students, parents, teachers, educational support professionals, school board members, school employees, and school administrators. CTA is a prominent member.

Coalition members emphasized the importance of acknowledging that drastic cuts have slashed more than $20 billion from schools. These cuts have reduced the number of employees, shortened school years, and forced furlough days. Restoring these cuts is the Coalition’s top priority.

CTA reminded lawmakers that California ranks 49th nationally in per pupil spending.  While the top ten states spend more than $15,000 per student and the average state spends $11,000, California allocates only $9,000 for each student. The Coalition’s wants California to boost its spending to among the top 10 states in the nation.

Even widthout new programs, the funding restoration would only put California only 42nd nationally.

Next step:  The subcommittee has asked the Legislative Analyst’s Office for more information about alternative proposals to the governor’s LCFF. 

The budget subcommittee’s review of the governor’s plan is part of the legislature’s effort to craft a final budget prior to the June 15 constitutional deadline.  Under the state constitution, the governor has until June 30 to sign the proposal sent to him by the legislature, width July 1 marking the start of the next fiscal year.

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