SB 69 Education Funding

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  • 1. This summary of Senate Bill 69 was provided by State Senator Jim BeallSB 69 embraces the spirit of the Governor’s local control funding formula (RestructuringEducation Funding proposal) by focusing more resources on poor children, butincreases accountability and smooths out some of the rough edges identified bylegislators.SB 69 is a work in progress. Legislators have decided to establish per-pupil and perdistrict funding after the May Revision is released. This will allow legislators to have abetter understanding of available revenues available to schools.The Senate approach agrees with the fundamental goals and concepts behind theGovernor’s proposal:• A more equitable, streamlined, transparent funding structure.• A funding structure that puts greater focus and financial resources oneducationally disadvantaged students.• A funding structure that provides permanent flexibility to school districts toaddress local needs. [Note: current law, which sunsets in 2014, alreadyprovides school districts with substantial flexibility over most state educationalfunding.]However, the Senate approach finds that the Governor’s proposal is lacking in severalareas and needs modification. The major issues that need to be addressed in theproposal related to:• Funding adequacy for all school districts.• Modifications to the funding distribution formulas to ensure that no LI (LowIncome)and EL (English Language Learner) students are made “invisible” underthe formula.• Stronger provisions on local school district accountability to ensure that additionalfunds generated by numbers of educationally disadvantaged students (LI, EL,and foster youth) are actually spent to improve their educational outcomes.• Ensuring that school districts continue to focus on reducing the high schooldropout rate, maintain educational options for young adults, training theworkforce of tomorrow.What are the major differences between the Senate’s approach and theGovernor’s?• Base Grants: SB 69 will adopt the Governor’s proposal to eliminate RevenueLimits and move to a uniform per pupil “Base Grant.” Like the Governor’sproposal, the Base Grants will be differentiated by grade span. The Base Grantlevel will be left blank in the first draft, but will be higher than the Governor’sproposal (additional information provided below). The Senate will wait until theMay budget revision to determine the grant amounts.• Supplemental Grants: SB 69 will accept the Governor’s proposal to add a 35percent “Supplemental Grant” to the Base Grant for each educationallydisadvantaged student (LI, EL, foster care). The numbers are still being worked
  • 2. out, but the SB 69 Supplemental Grant percentage will likely be higher under theGovernor’s proposal.• Concentration Grants: The Governor’s proposal adds an additional 35%“Concentration Grant” on top of the Supplemental Grant for those districts thathave more than half of their students who are LI, EL, or foster youth. TheSenate approach does not include the Concentration Grant proposal because ithas the effect of making thousands of LI, EL, and foster youth “invisible” in thefunding formula.Instead, SB 69 will take the funds from the Concentration Grants and add themback to both the Base Grants (to improve funding adequacy for all students) andSupplemental Grants (to ensure that funds are provided for all educationallydisadvantaged kids).What do you mean by “funding adequacy”?For the purposes of SB 69, the Senate wants to make sure all students are educated indistricts that are funded well enough to help them achieve the common core standards,as well as other important state standards and goals. Because districts have not yetregained the level of state support that had before the latest round of budget cuts, theSenate’s goal is to bring all districts back to that level, at a minimum.The Senate’s approach in SB 69 will address these issues in a number of ways,including increasing the Base Grants (by redirecting the Concentration Grant funds),which will have the effect of “lifting all boats,” and modifying the schedule forimplementing the new formula.How much flexibility would school districts have under the Senate’s proposal vs.the Administration’s proposal?Under the Senate’s proposal, districts would enjoy flexibility over many categoricalprograms. The Administration’s proposal takes a similar approach. The maindifference is that the Senate would require school districts to spend transportationdollars on transporting students to school, and would like the “grade span” dollarsallocated for students in grades 9 to 12 to be spent on programs that prepare studentsfor college and careers, such as career technical education.What are the new provisions related to school district accountability?The Senate’s approach will be substantially stronger than the Administration’s when itcomes to school district accountability. Among the changes that will be part of SB 69:• Provisions that ensure that Supplemental Grant funds generated by LI, EL, andfoster pupils are used to improve services to those pupils, and not to supplantexisting resources dedicated to those pupils.• Provide authority for state and/or county education entities to intervene in andsupport districts that do not demonstrate improvements, across subgroups ofstudents, toward achievement of the Common Core standards and other statestandards and goals.• Provisions that will rescind flexibility provisions for districts that do notdemonstrate improvements in outcomes across subgroups.• Requiring more robust data collections to improve state and local oversight.
  • 3. Are there other changes to the Administration’s proposal?Among other changes, the bill will express the legislative intent to consider remedies forother funding allocations that are distributed according to inequitable, historically basedformulas. In addition, it will express intent to provide some level of supplementalsupport for EL students beyond the 5-year time limit in the Administration’s proposal.When would the new formula take effect?The Senate proposal takes effect one year later than the Governor’s, starting in 2014-15. This gives school districts more time to plan and make a smooth transition to thenew formula and accountability systems.How did the Senate consider the Administration’s LCFF proposal?The full Senate Budget Committee heard the proposal on Feb. 28, and BudgetSubcommittee 1 (education) had another hearing on April 18. In addition, the fullSenate had a discussion and presentation on the LCFF proposal by Public PolicyInstitute of California on March 5 during the two-day Senate Education PolicyConference in Long Beach. Finally, the Senate Democratic Caucus has had two in-depth discussions on the issue.What are the next steps in the process?The Senate Education Committee will tentatively hear SB 69 on May 1. The bill will bekeyed “Fiscal,” so it will also be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee by May24.