Behind closed doors in coming days, legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown will decide whether to address a complaint that civil rights and parent groups have about the new state funding law: It does not require districts to spell out how they plan to spend the money they are getting for high-needs students, which include low-income children and English learners.
Advocacy groups that fought hard for passage of the Local Control Funding Formula argue that the ability to track expenditures for high-needs students is critical to fulfill the law’s promise of funding equity. They want the state to add a category to the statewide financial accounting system so that districts will be required to report the money they received each year for these targeted students and how they used it. Parents could verify that supplemental dollars went to the students who generated the money.
Under the new funding formula, districts receive an extra 20 percent in supplemental dollars for every low-income child, English learner and foster youth they enroll, plus money on top of that, called concentration grants, if they have large proportions of high-needs students.
“Setting clear guidelines on reporting how districts both receive and use the money is simply a matter of giving the public the information they need to hold policymakers accountable,” Jonathan Kaplan, a senior policy analyst with the nonprofit California Budget Project, wrote in a column in the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday.
At the urging of advocacy groups, budget committees in both the Assembly and Senate adopted the same placeholder language indicating they plan to revise the state accounting manual to include supplemental and concentration grants. The exact language will be negotiated with the governor’s office as part of the trailer bill, which contains the technical language explaining expenditures in the state budget.
Persuading Gov. Brown to go along may take some hard bargaining. The 2013 law establishing the Local Control Funding Formula requires that districts increase or improve programs and services for Legislators want districts to be explicit about how they’re targeting dollars | EdSource Today: