LAO proposes even shorter year, fewer special-purpose funds, changes to teacher layoff deadline

Given the financial stresses facing California school districts and the uncertain outcome of Gov. Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office thinks state lawmakers should:

  1. reduce the minimum school year from 175 to 170 days
  2. remove the strings attached to even more special-purpose funding streams, such as Partnership Academies and K-3 class-size reduction funding. (To see what might happen to such programs when districts can use the money for any legal purpose, look no further than to adult education, which lost its protections in 2009.)
  3. lift restrictions on outside contracts for services not related to teaching (food services, clerical, maintenance)
  4. make major changes to the teacher layoff timeline, including a rolling emergency layoff window in the event of mid-year cuts
  5. adopt the governor’s proposal for k-12 funding restructuring by replacing the current reimbursement system with a “weighted student formula” or block grants. (The list of restricted programs that would merge into that formula is on page 4 of the report on the previous link.)

What do you make of these recommendations? You can find further explanation at the bottom of this report, which includes a survey of school districts. About 60 percent of the districts surveyed reported instituting three furlough days in 2010-11, and slightly fewer in the current year.

The layoff proposal, explained: Continue Reading