"...Rough calculations based on the available estimates suggest ...the [LCFF] compromise could reduce funding specifically allocated for disadvantaged students [by about] of $2.4 billion (19%) percent) compared to [Brown's] original proposal....[redirecting] one in five dollars ...for [disadvantaged] students ... to fund an increase in the base grant for all students..." -- Jonathan Kaplan, senior policy analyst for the California Budget Project, writing Friday on the key points of the recently adopted Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) for public education. At left, Jonathan Kaplan (on left), and Arun Ramanathan, executive director of EdTrust-West, discuss the LCFF on a panel during a March 2013 briefing sponsored by New America Media.
June 17, 2013: Jonathan Kaplan of California Budget Bites has released his analysis of what the governor's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) -- or more specifically, "the LCFF compromise," as phrased in the essay's title," means "for disadvantaged students and school finance." (Budget Bites is the newsletter of the nonprofit, nonpartisan California Budget Project.) Below, an edited excerpt:
...The now-imminent enactment of the LCFF...will make the state’s education finance system more transparent, rational, and equitable than it is today. [It]...accepts a key premise of the [Brown's] proposal: that it takes additional resources to educate disadvantaged students — in particular, English learners and students from low-income families. However, compared to the Governor’s original proposal, the LCFF compromise provides fewer resources specifically for these students. The compromise boosts the base level of funding for school districts, but appears to do so primarily by reducing the total dollars allocated for disadvantaged students and also by increasing the amount of time it would take to fully implement the LCFF. Moreover, key decisions regarding accountability — specifically, how to ensure that school districts spend these allocated dollars to provide additional services for disadvantaged students — were deferred to the State Board of Education.
Released as part of the Governor’s proposed 2013-14 budget in January, the original LCFF proposal established equity in school funding as a key principle. It created three funding grants weighted to reflect the costs of educating different students: a base grant per student for all school districts, adjusted to reflect students’ grade levels; a supplemental grant per student based on a district’s unduplicated number of English learners and students from low-income families; and a concentration grant per student for districts based on the share of disadvantaged students above a specific threshold (set at 50% in the original proposal).
...The LCFF compromise:
- Increases the average target base grant by more than $500 per student...
- Reduces the supplemental grant from 35% of the base grant to 20%;
- Increases the concentration grant from 35% of the base grant to 50%; and
- Increases the threshold [to 55% from 50%]: number of disadvantaged students a district must enroll to qualify for the concentration grant.
The compromise also [shifts]...the share of total LCFF dollars allocated to each grant...[Now]... 84% percent of LCFF dollars will be allocated to base grants, 10% percent to supplemental grants, and 6% percent to concentration grants. Widely circulated estimates indicate that the LCFF compromise would increase the total dollars provided to fund base grants for all school districts by approximately $3 billion, a 6% percent increase compared to the original plan.
...Rough calculations based on the available estimates suggest ...the [LCFF] compromise could reduce funding specifically allocated for disadvantaged students [by about] of $2.4 billion (19%) percent) compared to [Brown's] original proposal....[redirecting] one in five dollars ...for [disadvantaged] students ... to fund an increase in the base grant for all students...
...local school boards will clearly have greater authority to spend school dollars than under the current system, and education stakeholders will need to hold them accountable if equity is to be achieved....