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State budget requires districts to plan for spending more money

By Theresa Harrington
Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 at 11:07 am in Education.

The state’s budget deal included some changes from the proposal Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled in May, but kept largely intact his overhaul of school funding.

The three main components are: base grants for every student; supplemental grants for English learners, low-income students and foster youth; and concentration grants for districts with more than 55 percent of students in those categories.

Those in more than one category are only counted once for the additional grants. The compromise reached between the Legislature and the governor changed the proportion of money being spent in each area.

The governor initially proposed spending 80 cents of every dollar on base grants, 16 cents on supplemental grants and 4 cents on concentration grants, said Arun Ramanathan, executive director of the Education Trust-West advocacy group. The final compromise allocates 84 cents to base grants, 10 cents to supplemental grants and 6 cents to concentration grants, he said.

The base grant will average $7,643 per student, according to the Department of Finance. The amounts for students in grades K-3 and 9-12 will be slightly higher to help pay for smaller class sizes in primary grades and career technical education in high school.

On average, the base grant is about $2,000 per student more than districts have received in the past, said speakers during a budget briefing earlier this week, hosted by EdSource and New America Media. No district will receive less than it got this year.

Districts will also split $1.2 billion in extra money to help implement new Common Core Curriculum Standards and $250 million to bolster work-based learning programs to help students prepare for college and careers. A few districts that don’t have many disadvantaged students may also receive “economic recovery payments” to help them get back to the same funding levels in eight years that they received before the recession.

The new funding gives more control to districts to determine how they spend their money. But the state will hold districts accountable for using the supplemental and concentration grants to help disadvantaged students by requiring them to develop plans showing added programs or staff funded through the grants.

In about three years, if disadvantaged students fail to improve with the new expenditures, county offices of education and the state could step in. Details about the spending plans and expected student improvement still need to be worked out by the state Board of Education, said Board President Michael Kirst, during the briefing.

In January, the state Board of Education plans to approve a template for district spending plans, which must be implemented in 2014-15.

Until then, many districts are starting to approve raises. But Ana Matosantos, director of the California Department of Finance, said money from supplemental and concentration grants can’t be used for across-the-board raises, since it must be used to specifically help disadvantaged students.

Arun Ramanathan, executive director of the Education Trust-West advocacy group, said after the briefing that he expects schools to have greater control over spending. School districts will be expected to consult parents and other groups as they come up with their spending plans.

Ramanathan said he hopes to see lots of innovation. Schools could decide they need more nurses, reading specialists, music teachers or other educators. They could also extend the school year for disadvantaged students.

Combined with the $1.25 billion for Common Core implementation, districts are going to see more money than they’ve had in years, Ramanathan said.

“This is an influx of money, which districts, quite frankly, aren’t used to,” he said.

“I am very leery, because I know some districts are prepared and some districts clearly aren’t.”
For help, many will turn to consultants and to companies that produce instructional materials.

“What you do in those situations is you create open season for vendors,” Ramanathan said. “It’s going to be a big gold rush.”

An unedited audio recording of the budget briefing is at

Is your district prepared to spend more money wisely?

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30 Responses to “State budget requires districts to plan for spending more money”

  1. Michael Langley Says:

    {For help, many will turn to consultants and to companies that produce instructional materials.

    “What you do in those situations is you create open season for vendors,” Ramanathan said. “It’s going to be a big gold rush.”}

    If districts spend more on consultants and glitzy prepackaged solutions, then it will a gold rush indeed. The usual result of a gold rush is the majority of participants go broke and a few “clever” opportunists make a fortune.

    What will MDUSD do?

  2. Jim Says:

    All of the categorical pots of money, with their long strings stretching from the school to the district and then to Sacramento or DC, were intended to force districts to do things that they wouldn’t do otherwise. In other words, without any other accountability mechanism, we got micro-management from the layers above. As so often happens, that approach failed.

    So now we will give more discretionary funds back to the very districts that couldn’t spend them wisely in the first place. The idea of giving parents the choice to have their children attend schools other than these failure factories seldom enters the conversation — even though, in the end, that is the one reform that is most likely to maintain true accountability in the system, just as it has in almost every other advanced country whose educational outcomes we claim to wish to emulate.

  3. Doctor J Says:

    Districts have received the preliminary STAR test results — rumor is that MDUSD doesn’t look pretty despite 3 years of SASS “coaching” of principals. “Dr. Bernard is widely recognized for his organizational management skills as well as his expertise and know-how in educational leadership.”

    The $64 question is whether Dr. Bernard will make some organizational changes now before the new Supt is brought in.

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As was pointed out in a different thread, the board discussed changes in assignments during its last closed session. In the report out, Hansen said no action was taken and Bernard clarified that THE BOARD took no action. This could mean HE is taking action and was merely informing the board.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#4 But that was on a disciplinary action. I don’t think reorganization is a disciplinary action.

  6. 20 year Says:

    IMHO the MDUSD SASS department has been a success. Those coaches work hard and have been instrumental in bringing a lot of quality professional development directly to teachers in the past couple of years.
    I will agree that the SASS coaches working with principals was not an effective model. But that’s not happening anymore, and has not for a couple of years.
    As a teacher, I think the district has a lot of progress to be made. But with continued quality PD, and a raise for teachers, we may be able to bring some high quality education to the kids in this area. I’m looking forward to it.
    Once these are in place, it will be up to the admins to weed out the crappy teachers who are not on board with 21st century teaching methods and get rid of them. It’s a big task to take on, but the district will continue to flounder as long as “old school” teachers continue to ‘phone it in’ with protection from their union. There is a system in place to deal with below par teachers, and the union is on board with it. It just needs to be used.

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Parcel taxes for school districts under fire.

  8. Doctor J Says:

    Unusually suspicious — about a month since the Director of Elementary Education (29 schools) was demoted to a principal and about a month before new teacher orientation, no replacement has been announced nor any job posting for the position. One has to wonder if Rose Lock’s friend, Doris Avalos, retired from WCCUSD will “three peat” by taking the vacant post part time until she exhausts the approximately $40,000 she can “double dip” with her STRS retirement. In 2011-12, she took over Director of Secondary when Denise Rugani moved on, and in 2012-13 she took over for SASS Administrator Susan Hukkanen until she exhausted her new “double dip” which resets every July 1. I can hear Gomer Pyle saying it right now: “Surprise ! Surprise ! Surprise !” Only time will tell. We still have one Elementary principal unfilled and another administrative transfer would just leave a whole someplace else.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    The State Board of Education (SBE) and California Department of Education (CDE) invite all interested stakeholders to come and share their input and ideas to inform implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Sessions are scheduled in locations throughout the state. Staff from the SBE and CDE will be present at the primary locations with remote locations connected via video conference with an on site facilitator to help direct comments between locations. You can also email your input.

  10. Doctor J Says:

    What will LCFF mean to MDUSD ? It appears just a small amount per student — but two required public hearings on the district budget give the public input to the Board, which really means that Bryan Richards will have to publish the proposed budget at least 10 days prior to the public hearing since 10 days notice is required. Interesting article from EdSource — read the comments to the article — even the experts don’t agree on how its going to work.

  11. Doctor J Says:

    Sorry MDEA, no across the board raises. The money should be spent on disadvantaged students.

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    MDEA is accusing the board and district bargaining team of violating both of its published Board Goals and Expectations for Negotiations 2013:

  13. Doctor J Says:

    I don’t know who wrote the MDEA letter, but next time they should have an English teacher proof read it. How embarrassing for MDEA to publish a letter with so many grammatical errors. Is there any question why MDUSD students are struggling academically. I make my share of mistakes in blog posts, but in “official” letters NOT.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    How will MDUSD spend its “new” money ? More consultants ? More I-pads for Dent staff ? Vendors with the latest and greatest ? Rose Lock is soooo behind the curve. I am so sorry her illness is exacerbating the weaknesses of her failure of leadership.

    Memo from School Services: The California Department of Education (CDE) is now planning to apportion 50% of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) funding in August 2013 and the remaining 50% in October 2013 to local educational agencies (LEAs). The final October apportionment is subject to change due to evaluation of the eligible LEAs.
    The CCSS is a nationwide initiative to establish a single set of standards for K-12 education in English language arts and mathematics to ensure college and career readiness. The State Budget provides $1.25 billion statewide in one-time funds for the implementation of the CCSS. This equates to roughly $200 per student. LEAs can encumber funds any time during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. LEAs can spend the funds for the following allowed purposes:

    Professional Development
    Instructional materials and supplemental instructional materials aligned to the CCSS academic content standards

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a link to the Pleasant Hill Education Commission’s newsletter, which I previously mentioned:

    It includes updates on Pleasant Hill news, as well as districtwide info such as a college fair planned Oct. 30 at YVHS.

  16. Doctor J Says:

    RIP Mike. Condolences to his extended family.

  17. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: Thanks for your note. The mood is very somber here in the news room. Mike Taugher was a very talented and well-respected colleague and we are stunned by his untimely death:

  18. Doctor J Says:

    PARENTS must be involved in how to spend the budget money — no more Bryan Richards shell games and hocus pocus.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    Interesting EdSource article on LCFF requiring community participation in creating and evaluating the plans. No more of the behind closed doors with a quickie powerpoint. Tran said: “The new funding system requires districts to engage the community in the creation of their local accountability plans, which can help support effective planning and partnerships between districts and community leaders.
    ◾What process will be put in place to solicit feedback from community members at the district and individual school site levels?
    ◾What is the timeline for this process?”

  20. Doctor J Says:

    Heard rumor that CDE is considering releasing the STAR test results to the public prior to Aug 15 — that might make an interesting first Board meeting public comment on Aug 14. I believe the Supt will get the results 7-10 days ahead. Wonder if poor performance might cause some last minute shuffling. Anyone heard anything on the open positions ? No current postings for Certificated Management.

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, for those who can’t make it to Sacramento for the LCFF meeting, it will be livestreamed:

  22. Doctor J Says:

    Steven Lawrence never even gave our Board a chance to have the discussion as to whether to join the 8 Districts just approved for NCLB waivers by US Dept of Ed.

  23. Doctor J Says:

    How important are parent advisory groups ? Steven Lawrence didn’t like them — the new law REQUIRES them. Hot off the press from the SBE and CDE today to all superintendents: “Maintain local advisory groups. Parent and community engagement remain an important aspect of planning and accountability under LCFF. While the terminology and details for local advisory groups may be refined under LCFF, LEAs are expected to continue to engage parents and community members broadly in the preparation of LEA and site-level planning activities, as most of these groups are required for federal program purposes. For instance, LEAs should continue to engage district and site-level advisory groups, including those charged with providing input to planning for English learners’ needs.”
    An LEA is a school district. MDUSD needs to mend its ways at the district and each school site.

  24. Doctor J Says:

    Hey Bryan Richards — Aug 11 is in 4 days ! “Public inspection” — I hope you post it on the website. From the SBE and CDE today to all Supts: “Update budgets with LCFF revenues and potential revision of expenses. Because LEAs adopted budgets for 2013-14 before the passage of LCFF, governing boards must revise their budgets to reflect both the funding and legislative changes directed by LCFF. Current law requires that LEAs following the single budget adoption process pursuant to EC 42127(i) must make available for public inspection any revisions to their budgeted revenues and expenditures by August 11, 2013, 45 days after the Budget Act was signed.”

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the latest news on the MDUSD supt. search, with a Deputy Supt. from San Diego named as the finalist:

  26. Doctor J Says:

    Despite AB 1575, schools are still requesting students to bring money to participate in classes. From Northgate High’s new student orientation flyer: “Please bring $2 for the LUNCH and $30 for P.E. clothes”. Doesn’t sound like a request for a voluntary donation to me for the PE clothes.

  27. Anon Says:

    Clayton Valley say $30.00 for mandatory P.E. Clothes but then notes that you can where your own clothes. also states to please check with P.E. teacher if you need them at all.
    and no one can answer whether you really need them or not.

  28. Doctor J Says:

    Here is what Deb Cooksey said last January at the K-Adult Principal Meeting:

    Almost every High School website is saying students need to bring to orientation before school starts money for PE Uniforms. Many of the Elementary website are putting out “Supply Lists” implying that students need to have to have these materials for the first day of school. I haven’t found one yet, maybe there is, that makes these donations or suggestions, indicating that no child will be deprived any part of an educational experience for not having them.

  29. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Interesting that the WCCUSD actually formally approves the salary schedule for teachers at SIG sites (item C. 17):

    I don’t recall ever seeing the MDUSD board officially approving the extra pay that SIG teachers get in MDUSD in such a transparent way.

    Also of interest on tonight’s WCCUSD agenda is Item F.1 with a staff recommendation to GRANT a charter to controversial Summit Public Schools, despite the anticipated loss of 677 students in grades 7-12 by 2020-21.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#29 The SIG “extra pay” schedules in MDUSD were secret MOU’s negotiated without Board approval and no public disclosure.

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