By Vernon Billy, Peter Manzo and Ted Lempert
In California we talk a lot about money for schools. Unfortunately, that’s because there just isn’t enough of it, and school budgets have taken a real beating in recent years.
Perhaps a signal that the tide is shifting, voters passed Proposition 30 in November to stave off drastic cuts to California schools and the Legislative Analyst’s Office cautiously predicts moderate revenue growth in the next few years. While this is good news, those of us committed to improving student achievement and restoring excellence in all California schools will continue to fight for more resources because the need is so great.
However, there is another facet of this issue we must address as well: how funding is allocated to schools. For decades, layers of restrictions, requirements and new priorities have been added to the system, weighing it down and tying the hands of local educators and administrators. Today, it is a labyrinthine structure comprising dozens of separate categorical funding streams, each with different strings.