Governor’s K-12 Education Finance Proposal Would Make School Funding More Equitable

New CBP Analysis Looks at Disparities in Current System, Estimates the Effects of Proposed Restructuring

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to restructure how California funds K-12 public schools would substantially address inequities in the state’s education finance system, according to an analysis released today by the California Budget Project (CBP).

By directing additional resources to disadvantaged students – in particular, students from low-income families and English learners – the Governor’s proposed “Local Control Funding Formula” (LCFF) would help school districts pay for the higher costs of educating these students. At the same time, the LCFF would increase funding for the vast majority of school districts and boost California spending per student.

Moving Forward: Addressing Inequities in School Finance Through the Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula includes estimates of the additional funding the LCFF would provide for disadvantaged students in selected school districts across the state. The report also examines district-level funding under the state’s existing school finance system to highlight funding inequities among districts that are located in the same area and thus have similar labor costs.

“The Local Control Funding Formula could significantly improve how we fund public education in California, especially in terms of making sure that students have the resources they need to succeed in school,” said Jonathan Kaplan, a senior policy analyst at the CBP. “In addition to simplifying a school finance system that is widely regarded as outdated and overly complex, the Governor’s proposal would address inequities in the current system and provide additional resources for districts with the greatest needs.”

Introduced as part of the Governor’s 2013-14 budget proposal this past January, the LCFF would provide each school district with a base grant per student as well as additional dollars based on the number of economically disadvantaged students and English learners as a share of total district enrollment. The CBP’s report highlights the importance of preserving these additional dollars for disadvantaged students in LCFF policy deliberations.

“The basic premise of the LCFF is that our state needs to invest in all students, and this means paying for the added costs of educating disadvantaged students. Increasing the LCFF base grant at the expense of providing additional dollars to disadvantaged students would run counter to that idea,” said Kaplan. “Another key is accountability. It’s critical that school districts are required to ensure that LCFF dollars intended for disadvantaged students go toward programs and services that directly benefit them.”

Moving Forward is available online at the CBP’s website, www.cbp.org.

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The California Budget Project (CBP) engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of improving public policies affecting the economic and social well-being of low- and middle-income Californians. Support for the CBP comes from foundation grants, subscriptions, and individual contributions. Please visit the CBP’s website at www.cbp.org.