March 11, 2013: Noting (see graph) that California's per-student spending is $2,500 less than the national average, the California Budget Project, a nonpartisan, independent fiscal and policy analysis nonprofit in Sacramento, released this morning in its "Budget Bites" support for Governor Brown's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a school finance reform proposal.
[The LCFF] focuses attention on...directing dollars to students who need additional support to achieve the state’s academic standards — English learners, students from low-income families, and foster youth. The Governor’s proposal also would boost overall state spending per student, a measure on which California neared the bottom of the nation a couple of years ago, and could raise it to the same level as the rest of the US by the time the LCFF is fully implemented.
According to newly released data from the National Education Association (see chart), California school spending lags that in the rest of the nation by $2,500 per student... in order to reach the same level of spending per student as the rest of the US, California would need to spend an additional $15.3 billion in the current (2012-13) budget year alone. The Governor’s proposed 2013-14 budget calls for implementing the Local Control Funding Formula by raising the annual school funding level by a similar amount — $15.5 billion — over approximately seven years, plus annual cost-of-living adjustments. Even though it would not bring California’s spending per student up to the level of the rest of the US for several years, the additional funding the Governor proposes would provide a significant boost to state spending per student and is worthy of support.