Brown's 14-15 Budget Increases School Funding for Neediest Students

Gov. Brown discussed his proposed state budget today. Patch file photo.
Gov. Brown discussed his proposed state budget today. Patch file photo.

For the first time in years, funding for education was not the major focus of the governor’s annual January press conference about his proposed budget for the coming year.

Overall, Gov. Brown is suggesting to grow the state budget by 5 percent. In education dollars, that means $6.3 billion more in 2014-15 than this year for all education, $2,188 more per K-12 student over 2011-12 funding.

However, the budget's goal is to “correct historical inequities in school district funding” by spending that money on the neediest students, according to the budget summary released today.

Called the local control funding formula, this was the major change Brown had advocated for several years, finally getting the Legislature on board last year. The formula starts with the state funding every student at the same level, but then gives additional money for low-income students, English language learners and students in foster care.

Additionally, school districts with at least 55 percent of their enrollment made up of these students get additional money.

“By committing the most new funding to districts serving low‑income students, English language learners, and youth in foster care, the budget supports real equal opportunity for all Californians,” says the summary.

Brown told the media: “Education and good health are a way out of poverty.”

Brown is proposing $7,829 per student as a base allocation, which includes cost-of-living adjustments. Then the neediest students get 20 percent more, and the districts that serve mostly those populations would get up to 22.5 percent more.

The long-term goal for school districts which do not have a large number of needy students would be to eventually bring them to pre-recession funding levels, the budget summary says.

One major change in education for 2014-15 the governor proposes is to eliminate all deferrals.

“During the height of the recession, the state deferred almost 20 percent of annual payments to schools, meaning that schools received a significant portion of their funds a year after they spent them,” the budget summary says.

The delayed payment had districts either cut services or take out costly short-term loans to bridge the gaps.

Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public education, praised Brown's plans, but pointed out a few areas that need to be finessed.

"I thank the governor for making education a top priority in the budget. It means a strong starting point for the coming months’ conversations—but work remains to be done," he said in a released statement. "I look forward to discussing with Gov. Brown universal transitional kindergarten ... We must continue our support for schools as they make the switch to the common core state standards."

shelly January 13, 2014 at 09:50 AM
Dawn, The cut to or district was on top of already huge cuts to our district. Please answer the question of what you define as equal. Here it is again. "What is your definition of equal? If you are saying every kid just gets the same then how do you provide resources for an autistic child who may need a shadow to succeed, a blind child who may need assistance, a deaf child who may need extra assistance, a child who is dyslexic, a child with a speech issue etc. ?" Because CA does not have the same definition as you do.
LeAna Bui January 13, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Dawn: Thank you for the reference. However, as Shelly and FC are trying to point out - "free and equal" has been upgraded through the Federal Disabilities Act to "free and appropriate," which addresses the fact that our 6 million school children do not have "equal needs." I clearly understand the import of the ACLU lawsuit. The education MUST be free. I agree with you that funding for schools in California awful, however, attacking the teachers unions and now, disadvantaged students is not the answer. If this proposal becomes law, CUSD funding will go to $7,800 per student per year (do I have that right?). What really gets me is that many people think this is okay, but I just recently spoke to a friend of mine who is paying $32,000/year for their child's private high school. Really? How the heck does this compare?? Why aren't we demanding that we spend $20k/year on public school students??
fact checker January 13, 2014 at 11:43 AM
Shelly, Dawn is not interested in children with special needs, except for GATE children. She is only interested in what directly affects her own child who is not hungry, does not live in a foster home, and speaks English as her first language. She is not interested in children who are autistic, developmentally delayed, or have other learning disabilities. She has said so on many occasions but feels that she is entitled to feel this way because she does not have to be "politically correct" by caring about those children. She wants a "free and equal" education for her own child. She does not want children in other schools to receive more funds than her child's school, whether those funds come from the state, the Feds or parent fundraisers, despite any special needs at those other schools. She does want more funding for her GATE identified child. She wants teachers to absorb any cuts to the budget through pay cuts so that class size can be reduced and programs can be restored. And she does not want to pay one Penny more in taxes, ever. She pays enough. She wants veto power on any budget decisions made in the district. And she wants it now. She wants the district to personally inform her about every single decision they make. She does not want to attend the public forums designed to give her input. She wants the trustees to respond personally to any inquiry at a board meeting. She wants to read and interpret district documents and share those interpretations as fact, whether she is mistaken or not. And she does not want to answer any challenges to the veracity of her blogs or admit any mistakes.
fact checker January 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM
Oh yes, Dawn wants to be involved in CUSD employee negotiations and does not want to honor the contracts that resulted from past negotiations. And finally, she wants the DA to investigate every charge she makes in the Patch.


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