Fresh on the heels of having saved – at least for now – California’s public education system through passage of his Proposition 30, Governor Jerry Brown is rededicating himself to the task of tearing down and redesigning the twisted maze that currently serves as the K-12 funding system. This is a wonderful goal, but enthusiasm for the general concept may unfortunately be blinding proponents to the specific, significant flaws in the administration’s proposal.
Although the “Local Control Funding Formula” consumes the 165 pages of education budget trailer bill, the funding system at its heart has only three essential components:
- A “base grant” funding level generated by every student, intended to cover the costs of a standard education;
- A “supplemental grant” providing an additional 35 percent above base funding in response to the additional needs of students who are from low-income or foster homes, or are English learners;
- A “concentration grant” augmenting supplemental grant funding by up to 50 percent in school districts where more than half of the enrollment is eligible for supplemental grants.