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Gov. Brown: CA Deficit Gone, More Money for Poor Schools

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2013-14 fiscal year budget Thursday morning.

Underprivileged schools would get more per-student funding than other schools across the state under a proposed budget unveiled Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Our future depends not on across-the-board funding, but disproportionately funding those schools that have disproportionate challenges,” Brown said at a press conference.

He also said most categorical funding for schools should be eliminated and the money delivered more directly.

“As you go up the line you lose control and build bureaucracy,” the governor said. “We want to put the money into local schools, but create greater control.”

Brown also said the state's deficit is gone for the first time in years, adding it could reduce its debt substantially by 2016.

“The deficit's gone; the wall of debt remains,” Brown said, noting the state's $36 billion debt could be reduced to $4.3 billion by 2016. 

The budget proposed by Brown also increases per-student funding for all levels of education; by the 2016-17 school year, K-12 schools would see a $2,681 increase in spending for each student. At the CSU and UC levels, spending would increase by about $2,000 and $2,500 by 2016-17, respectively.

Rodger Higgins January 10, 2013 at 11:41 PM
By giving the money directly to the schools does not stop the school board from redirecting the funds to teacher pay checks. The local school will receive the funding from their school board not the governor directly. So nay sayers may rejoice after all and let you cry in your pillow once again.
Louis Educe January 10, 2013 at 11:59 PM
General fund monies are what is used to pay teachers, admin, and other staff. What he was talking about was the "categorical funding" which includes the "State Comp Ed" funds (equal to the Fed's Title I - ESEA monies) and other "block grant" monies, these currently go through the district and have 10-20% taken off the top for district "central services" costs. by funding the schools directly (or setting a cap on central services) more funds could be used at the site level for interventions or supplemental support. The School Site Council (half of which are elected parents) set in place for the Title I funds would be the regulatory committee to oversee the use of funds.
Mr.S January 11, 2013 at 04:03 AM
You are obviously not a teacher. Go try it and you will see that it doesn't come down to testing. I can see why you would think that way, but that's not how it works. Districts with high API scores are usually affluent. Low API is just a reflection of poverty, which is a societal issue. Also, in such districts with low API you are battling very high truancy rates with the mostly ineffective SARB process. Bottom line is that lots of kids are not going to school often. How are you going to fix that? The courts don't do much beyond take away a kid's driver's license (but they still drive anyway, or don't own a car because they are poor). Also when your parents never graduated from HS and have been struggling their whole lives, you end out struggling too. Teachers can't fix that problem. This doesn't even factor in the lack of morals and common sense that goes along with poverty. What if your parents are meth heads? What if you only have one parent and she's a meth head, dad's in prison, and everybody around you is the lowest common denominator. Go have a close look at what schools are like. Most of the problem isn't fixable by teachers or schools. When you have a dysfunctional country (even at the governmental level), you're going to have dysfunctional schools.
Narwhal of Reason January 11, 2013 at 05:34 PM
"Directly to schools" means California's bloated pension obligation. The state must fund the difference between Calpers' projected return on investments and actual. So when they predict a 7.5% portfolio return and only earn .5% its no big deal. Guess who picks up the difference? Taxpayers. Billions since this goofy law was passed in 1999. Its called SB400 and its burying California now.
Narwhal of Reason January 11, 2013 at 05:47 PM
In order for the state to NOT have to fund Calpers' shortfalls from their inflated pension portfolio return predictions since 1999, the DOW would have to be over 29000 today.
Allen C. Treen January 11, 2013 at 07:45 PM
WHY are there "poor" schools?
Louis Educe January 11, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Not sure where you get the phrase "poor schools" it was not used in the article. Brown did talk about his wish that "Underprivileged schools would get more per-student funding than other schools across " In this context the term "Underprivilaged" related to the poverty index of the families who attend a school - this is most often calculated by looking at the percentage of students on the federal Free and reduced lunch program. When you look at a school's API/AYP scores this would be the "SocioEconomically Disadvantaged" subgroup. His idea is that often times schools with a higher poverty index have additional challenges to raising student achievement and that additional funds should go to them. This is also the idea behind the Federal Title I program under the NCLB/ESEA program. A school must have a least 35-40% on Free/Reduced lunch to get any Title I funds. Brown would just make this part of the ADA - and so open up more options for how it can be used.
Chris Kiely January 11, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Lots of programs disappeared to salvage budgets and jobs. If they want to avoid poisoning the current public support for schools, local districts need to look hard at restoring programs and stabilizing their budgets long term. There will be trade-off made between better pay for staff, on the one hand, and more staff and programs on the other. We need extensive public discussions on this subject, at local school board meetings, before commitments are made in closed door bargaining sessions.
navigio January 11, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Its not only based on poverty but also english learners. Opening up to more options to how it can be used can also mean it goes to things other than who its targeted for. The is one of the problems with 'local flexibility' over funds. But generally, people would rather have local control than state control for school decisions. With that control will come some difficult decision making for local boards of education.
Chris Kiely January 12, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Sounds like another dump on blue-collar schools. High income districts get big$$$ from property taxes, as well as donations from parents. Districts with high poverty/english learner populations get the supplemental funds from the Feds, and it sounds like the Governor is doing more of the same. It is the middle class districts that end up holding the short straw, financially. In San Mateo County, there are a half dozen Districts that have total income (per student) of under $8000. There are 10 Districts with income spread between$8500 and $11,300 per student. There are another 7 Districts with income per student ranging from $13,000 to $18,000. The blue-collar districts are all buried in that bottom 7,200 to 7900 per kid. The high poverty districts tend to be in the $9-11K range. The rich are the rich. So if the money is going to impoverished schools, we'll still be starving the middle class districts.
Patrick O' January 12, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Very well said! Thank you!
Patrick O' January 12, 2013 at 04:01 AM
Mr. Higgins, exactly what is wrong with a little for the teachers??? The teachers in the district we attend has not had a raise in 8+ years...
john willow January 12, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Very cogent argument? Good support for your points? Well researched? Not. Maybe you should go back to school and learn how to write.
Robert Livesay January 12, 2013 at 04:17 PM
john Willow I do not know where you got your college degree. But the one thing I do know is it only took an expired fishing licence to get in.
Frank Geefay January 12, 2013 at 07:22 PM
@Mr. S: I think you misread my statement:- "I think that continued disproportionate funding of SUCH SCHOOLS must be tied to PROGRESSIVELY IMPROVED test scores." for these disproportionately challenged schools. This automatically excludes schools what already do well in affluent areas. My point is that if disproportionate funds are to be poured into disproportionately challenged schools then we must make sure that the money results in real progress in student performance. Otherwise we are wasting money the State continues to pour into them. The way to determine this is if students significantly improve in performance each year they receive this funding. The way schools are judged on performance is through statewide test scores. This places the burden upon local school administrators and teachers to find ways to improve student performance. There are many examples and organizations that can help them find ways. Note that I am emphasizing Improvement, NOT getting the top scores in the State. Disproportionate funding must be tied to performance. Otherwise what is the point of continuing to give disproportionately challenged schools disproportionately more money each year? Do you have a better suggestion to make sure that this disproportionate funding is in fact improving the education of students it is intended to help?
Andrew Peceimer January 12, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Could someone define "Poor students/schools"?
navigio January 12, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Frank. Since 2003, LAUSD African American 7th grade math scores are up over 400%. Does this count as 'improvement'?
Louis Educe January 12, 2013 at 08:09 PM
"poor Schools" was used in the title by the Patch blogger NOT in any quotes from Brown. For more info on what he talked about as "disadvantaged" schools see above 1/11 at 1:31 and 3:21 or you could just read the full info on the CDE website at http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr13/yr13rel6.asp and the link at the bottom to the actual budget pages...
navigio January 12, 2013 at 08:59 PM
from louis' post above: "In this context the term "Underprivileged" related to the poverty index of the families who attend a school - this is most often calculated by looking at the percentage of students on the federal Free and reduced lunch program." In affluent neighborhoods, its easier to pass parcel taxes. San Marino, for example, has over $10k/student per year in unrestricted revenue, whereas its 'poorer' neighbor's (PUSD) is about $6k/student per year (near the average for all CA districts). In contrast PUSD's restricted revenue is about double SM's, but that's not enough to make up for the difference. SM still gets more funding from the state, feds and local. In addition, there have been studies on the impact of income level on private fundraising. One study I read said that low poverty schools (defined as lower than 33% F&R) raise on average $100k/year. In contrast, high poverty schools (defined as higher than 66% F&R) raise on average $5k/year. And finally, one of the impacts on districts of recent budget issues has been the yearly 'deferral' of revenue limit funding from the state (last year 28% of revenue limit funds were deferred--pre prop 30 anyway). Affluent district receive a lower percentage of their funding from this source (some really rich ones even none at all). That means a disproportionate impact of budget cuts on higher poverty schools. Add to that the 'penalties' of NCLB on lower scoring (mostly poverty schools)... blah blah blah..
Allen C. Treen January 12, 2013 at 09:39 PM
"Poor schools" came precisely from the title of this article, and was not intended as a quote from Brown. The term is frequently used to describe schools that for one reason or another are underfunded. The question is: why do we have them?
Louis Educe January 14, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Because the reality is that it costs more to educate (have them meet the same academic standards) some students than others. Part (but not all) of this has to do with the parent's ability to provide extra curricular learning activities. many of these don't cost anything other than time (trips to the Library to get books to read at home, turning off the TV and making sure homework is getting done, talking to your child about the importance of doing well in school) while others have cost involved (trips to museums, tutoring or after school programs which involve some learning - not just sports - making sure the child has all school supplies needed) When support from home is lacking the schools / teachers have to use more funds to make up the difference. Browns idea is to shift some of the categorical (not general fund ADA) to schools in need of extra support. I agree there needs to be monitoring to be sure the extra funds are used in a way that builds success in the kids. I also hope he doesn't take or lower the ADA amount from places doing well now, other wise it ends up being a new "tax" on the parents to make up the difference.
Frank Geefay January 14, 2013 at 06:43 PM
@Navigio:- I am not familiar with the LA Unified School District TMSP program so I looked it up. A 400% improvement is an amazing accomplishment and proof that disadvantaged minorities can achieve well even if their social environment does not significantly change. TMSP appears to be an excellent program that looks like it could be used as a model for disproportionately challenged schools to use to improve performance. I'm still trying to learn more about this program: http://notebook.lausd.net/portal/page?_pageid=33,1122748&_dad=ptl&_schema=PTL_EP
Chris Kiely January 14, 2013 at 09:57 PM
San Bruno Schools first action after good budget news is to extend the Supe's contract for 4 years.
John Hanson January 15, 2013 at 12:54 AM
You got to be kidding 4 more yrs. of Hutt, He is the one that wants to close schools and you extend his contract? What happened to Ethics and performance? He failed on both issues. We ought to have a sick out for one day to disapprove Hutts extendtion, if this is happening.
Heidi Beck January 15, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Hi, Chris. I see SEVEN kids up for possible expulsion on the board agenda. Was there an incident at Parkside recently?
Chris Kiely January 15, 2013 at 06:15 AM
Heidi- no incident that I know of, but I'm not in the loop on lots of things there. I know that one kid is a separate, discrete incident, no info on how the other six break down.
Chris Kiely January 15, 2013 at 06:26 AM
John- their excuse will be that they aren't really voting to extend. Instead (they'll say) they accidentally let his contract renew itself for four years. I think they've gotten bad legal advice on the issue. If it's true, however. the "accidental" extension happened in December of 2011, which means that when they were telling us last summer that his contract ended June 2013, they were (at best) totally mistaken, misinformed, ignorant, about the status of the Supe's contract. The Supe runs the district day to day. Monitoring his work is one of the Board's most important jobs. In that context, being blissfully ignorant of the status of the Supe's contract seems remarkable.
Chris Kiely January 15, 2013 at 06:32 AM
John-BTW, "school consolidation" is also on the agenda for Wednesday. Sounds like school closure to me.
Heidi Beck January 15, 2013 at 06:46 AM
Thanks, Chris. And by the way, the agenda says something to the effect that consolidation=closing. As if we don't know that already...
Chris Kiely January 15, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Heidi- apparently, the 7 kids were in three separate incidents. Not sure the breakdown.

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