Next week, when he lays out his 2013-14 budget proposal Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to introduce a new version of an old idea: a simplified funding model for California school districts.
The so-called “weighted student formula” Brown proposed last year and then dropped would have given districts a base amount of money for each student — $5,421, on average (it varies by grade) — and an additional 20 percent for English learners and low-income students. It also would have permanently lifted restrictions on seven more of the state’s special-purpose grants, including economic impact aid and K-3 class size reduction, leaving districts to spend it however they wish. (In 2009, California did the same thing with about 40 such pots of money, including adult education, which has since been dramatically cut back in many districts, including Oakland Unified.)
The Legislative Analyst’s Office suggested some changes, but said it was a “positive first step.”
In a story my colleague Theresa Harrington wrote today, School Services of California CEO Ron Bennett said the proposal’s introduction last year was “an absolute disaster,” with critics saying the new formula would hurt districts with few disadvantaged students.
Of course, we don’t yet know the details of the 2013 proposal, but it’s expected to be conceptually similar. What are your thoughts about it?