Governor Jerry Brown has just signed the California State Budget for 2013-14, ushering in a new era of California Education funding where school districts with a greater number of English Learners and Low-Income students will be given more money than others.
This new era of education funding is being described as a major overhaul of the existing system, and comes at a time when California is experiencing its first budget in years without a deficit.
Although it cannot be described as an “Education Windfall,” by any stretch of the imagination, this new strategy, coupled with the money from voter-approved Proposition 30, will result in increased per-pupil spending across the State for the first time in 5 years.
What will this mean for LAUSD? The second-largest school district in the country is responsible for educating many of the State’s low-income and English-learner kids. According to LAUSD School Board Member Steve Zimmer,
The Governor’s budget is hugely significant for two reasons:
First, thanks to the voters of California we finally will have a year without mass layoffs and destabilization.
Second, the governor’s formula truly honors local control. First, by taking away the confounding Sacramento funding maze and directing Prop 30 funds to Districts. Now it will be the District’s challenge to actually have that funding follow students to the school site.
This is a sea change on many levels. Certainly a game changing year both in terms of raw investment and funding delivery.
With all this good news, it may be tempting to lose sight of the fact that, even with this new per pupil spending level at $7,537 (up from the $7,000 the Governor initially proposed), California is still being outspent by miles. New York currently spends $19,000 per pupil, which puts us to shame.
So don’t let this current largesse on the part of lawmakers in Sacramento let us get complacent; we have a long way to go to make California’s Public schools what they once were.