Brown Releases Details, Projections For School Funding Overhaul
Under California’s current system, school districts get a flat dollar amount per student. On top of that they get money that’s tied to specific programs. There are complex rules governing how districts qualify for and can spend that additional money.
As part of his budget plan, Gov. Jerry Brown released the specifics of a proposal this week for a dramatic overhaul he believes will simplify that system and make it more equitable.
According to documents released by the Department of Finance, the proposal would give schools a base amount per child, which would increase by 35 percent for each student who is learning English as a second language, is in foster care or qualifies for free or reduced price lunch. In schools where these groups make up more than 50 percent of the student body, there would be another 35 percent funding bump for each student above that 50 percent threshold.
If approved by the legislature the new funding formula would be phased in over seven years.
This year San Diego County school districts get between about $5,900 and $10,400 per student. Under Brown’s fully implemented plan per student funding would range from about $8,300 to $12,850 in the county. No district would see a decrease in state funding under the plan.
The largest per student funding increase in San Diego County would go to Lemon Grove School District, where funding would increase from $6,057 this year to $11,789 by the 2019-2020 school year. Ninety-eight percent of the district's students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and 28 percent are learning English as a second language.
The smallest increase would go to Encinitas Union School District where funding would go from $7,373 to $8,287 per student over the same period. In Encinitas, 13 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and 11.5 percent are English learners.
Some districts where local property taxes exceed the state's minimum funding guarantee there would be no change to district funding.
In exchange for greater flexibility in how they spend their state funds, school districts and charter schools would have to develop student achievement goals accountability plans and show how their budgets will help them achieve those goals.
On Thursday representatives from school districts around San Diego County said it was too early to tell what the proposal's impact on schools might be.