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Some still question whether governor’s funding plan would provide enough money for all students

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, May 17th, 2013 at 5:40 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Although Gov. Jerry Brown added some extra money for schools in his revised budget released Tuesday, some are still questioning whether his education funding proposal goes far enough to provide adequate funding for all districts.

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan said Thursday that she is concerned about Brown’s plan to eliminate “categorical” funding that now pays for textbooks and programs such as summer school and career technical education. The governor wants to take the money previously set aside for categorical programs and instead use it to provide additional funding to districts based on their percentages of English learners, foster youth and low-income students. This would make it difficult for districts that don’t have many of these students to continue to provide programs and materials previously paid for with categorical funding, Buchanan said.

H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance, stressed that all districts would get more base grant funding under the governor’s plan than they currently receive, which should help those without large populations of disadvantaged students continue to provide programs now funded with categorical money.

The May revise includes an additional $240 million for K-12 education next year, which will mean a higher level of per student funding for all districts than projected in January. Palmer said his department hopes to get new district per student estimates posted online within the next week.

To help answer questions about how this new funding formula would affect local districts, both the Contra Costa and Alameda County offices of education are participating in public workshops.

Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Joe Ovick will team up with Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, to host an Education Finance Forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Pleasant Hill City Council Chamber at 100 Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill. More information is at 925-521-151 or

A free workshop on recent developments in state education finance and other topics will also be presented at 2 p.m. May 28 at the Alameda County Office of Education, 313 W. Winton Avenue in Hayward. Budget perspectives will be provided by Capitol Advisors Group, a Sacramento-based education advocacy firm. The workshops is open to anyone who wants to learn about issues including the governor’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, Proposition 98, school accountability and school energy funding. More information is available by calling 916-847-9454.

According to the governor’s plan, districts with English language learners, low-income students and foster youth would receive supplemental grants for each student in one of those categories. Students in more than one category would only be counted once. Those school districts in which more than half of students are disadvantaged would receive additional “concentration grants,” which Brown said would amount to 4 cents for every dollar spent on education.

Senate Democrats recently unveiled their own proposal, which would eliminate the concentration grants and spread them to all districts to increase the base and supplemental grants. They want to wait a year before implementing it in 2014-15.

State lawmakers will almost certainly come back with another proposal in response to the governor’s May revise, said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who heads the budget subcommittee on education finance.

Still, she said Tuesday, “I believe it will be an alternative that will reflect the spirit and the principles the governor has put forward.”

Next week, lawmakers expect to hear from school officials from around the state about the governor’s plan and what it would mean to implement it in the coming school year, as he proposes.

“This is the critical week,” Bonilla said, “when we need to find out: Is the governor’s time line a possibility or not?”

Brown’s budget summary is available by visiting

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9 Responses to “Some still question whether governor’s funding plan would provide enough money for all students”

  1. g Says:

    Item 14.14 Monday regarding Prop 30: “…funds are simply a reallocation of previously unrestricted funds, the act requires the board declare by resolution its intended use of the funds.”

    Item 14.15 Will ask the board to approve using the entire Prop 30 reallocation of $36,132,852.00 from Unrestricted General Fund into a Single Purpose Fund == Current Teacher Salaries.

    Something about that doesn’t seem quite right. When one group gets a windfall from already allocated funds, another group has to be losing out.


  2. Really? Says:

    CST had a lot of hours cut. Teachers got a raise when they were given money to pay for benefits THEY VOTED AWAY. Now teachers will get another raise?

    Board, you really need to listen to CST and restore hours before you give money to anyone else. We’re not going to put up with any more disrespect.

  3. Giorgio C. Says:

    Still doing my homework on this one. I’m leaning towards thinking it is a good thing.

  4. Michael Langley Says:

    @G: Item 14.15 is not an increase in funds, but rather a bookkeeping maneuver. It takes a portion of the unrestricted general fund that is already allocated for certificated salary and benefits and puts the revenue stream under a new budget number. There is no increase or decrease in salary and benefits, nor in the funds to pay for the salary or benefits.

    @Really?: As to the shabby treatment of the MDUSD classified employees, especially in the reduced hours, I suggest that the union representatives ask to accompany the Interim Supt on a site visit and show him the impact on the services to the students by cuts. He is only going to be here for a short time, so find the one big issue for your members and see if he is willing to make the needed repairs to staffing.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    @Mike#4 Spot on. If we try and “firehose” the interim with problems, little will be accomplished. If each unit picks one significant item for correction, lots can be accomplished during his short tenure. Enjoyed your comments last night Citizen Langley.

  6. Giorgio C. Says:

    The following article posted today about the landmark San Jose teachers contract has me asking one question. What will California do to ensure that only quality teachers are hired to begin with? I applaud what the San Jose district has accomplished, but seriously, isn’t the CDE and the State of California to blame for these ineffective teachers ever landing a job?

    Let’s conduct an audit of every school district’s application process. Tell me how many, and who, applied for each teaching position. How competitive is the teaching job market? Pay special attention to math and science teachers. Why has California allowed this problem to continue to exist with these two subjects? California should have done what it takes to fill these positions with the best qualified, but has completely failed to do so. We have ineffective teachers because we have an ineffective Department of Education.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Giorgio#6 The US Dept of Education, under Arne Duncan and Pres. Obama, required anyone applying for a waiver to NCLB to have agreement with the teachers union to use a “portion” of test improvments as part of the evaluation process for billions of grants. Normanly states applied for the waivers but USDE made an exception for California and 7 large school districts got their unions to revolt against the CTA position and are in a position to get billions of $ for their districts. MDUSD, under Steven Lawrence, never even asked MDEA to agree to it.

  8. Doctor J Says:

    @Giorgio#6 Here is article that 9 Calif districts are poised to receive NCLB waivers and grants because of teacher union cooperation in using student test scores as part of teacher evaluation. MDUSD under Steven Lawrence never even considered it.

  9. Giorgio C. Says:

    @Dr. J#8,
    I always welcomed including my student’s scores as part of my evaluation because I would have a paper trail to cover my a_s. Much of the paper trail would point at the frequent cause of the problem–the home. The results will be an indictment against the system, not the individual teacher, except for those few who need to be sent packing.

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