Tuesday, March 31, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

School funding plans go awry

TomEliasW

By
From page A6 | February 20, 2014 |

Gov. Jerry Brown and a lot of public school officials are just now rediscovering how right the 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns was when he observed that “The best laid plans of mice and men oft’ go astray.”

The latest example in California is the new public school funding formula Brown aggressively pushed last year, one giving a greater portion of new money raised via the 2012 Proposition 30 tax increases to schools with the highest percentages of English learners, foster children and pupils from poverty-ridden homes.

Essentially, Brown wants to finish the job begun in 1971 by the Serrano v. Priest decision of the state Supreme Court, which directs most funds from newly approved property tax levies to the poorest districts.

“Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice,” Brown said as he proposed giving districts with high concentrations of needy children as much as $5,000 per year more than wealthier districts for each such student they have. The grants would start lower and escalate over several years, the money added to the state’s base grant of $6,800 per year per child.

Officials of many better-heeled districts protested, suggesting the Brown proposal left out students from poverty-level homes who attend their schools. They provided numbers showing that districts in some generally well-to-do areas educate many disadvantaged students, even if their numbers don’t come up to the levels required to get the extra state money.

Those districts pushed for giving schools money based on the actual number of disadvantaged students they serve, rather than creating a threshold percentage schools must pass before getting extra money.

Their objections resulted in some change in the plan, with the extra money now being passed to districts on the basis of numbers at individual schools, rather than districtwide enrollments, an alteration made by the Legislature in June.

“Our disadvantaged students deserve more resources to overcome the extra obstacles they face, and this formula does just that,” said state Senate President Darrell Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, after the changes were approved. Known as the local control funding formula, the new rules also give districts more control over how they spend state money they receive.

That’s the plan. But it’s not working out quite as Brown and the school administrators hoped, the same phenomenon Robbie Burns sagely noted more than 200 years ago.

Yes, districts are getting extra money for low-income pupils, English learners and foster children. The initial boost comes to about $2,800 per student.

But many districts are not getting all the money they expected because hundreds, perhaps thousands of families still have not turned in verification forms attesting to their income. So far, the state isn’t handing over money for students whose forms are not yet in, reasoning that without the forms, it can’t be sure the students actually exist or are really needy.

Districts, meanwhile, complain that they already verify students’ family income every four years to get federal funds for subsidized lunches, while the state demands new forms and will want them every year. Doing it again costs them time and money, they gripe.

For some of California’s largest districts, this paperwork problem amounts to tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. The Los Angeles Unified district, for example, had only about 40 percent of the required forms returned as of mid-December, with about $200 million at stake in the missing paperwork. In Fresno, hundreds of families were refusing to fill out forms, possibly worried about immigration problems.

In San Diego, only a small fraction of affected schools had turned in the forms by the same time.

If this problem continues and the state is left with an undistributed pot of cash, it should be divided among all schools on the basis of their federal lunch-money reports. Do that and poor kids who go to school with the children of the wealthy will benefit far more than they can under the current formula.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at [email protected]

Comments

comments

.

News

Coroner confirms West Davis deaths were murder-suicide

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Special playground dedication slated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

 
Solo crash kills Woodland man, 22

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Officials say Iran nuke talks will continue in new phase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Police: Missing athlete died on freeway

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

French eye cockpit entry rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Wrap your head around our MRAP need

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
‘Old Autos’ at Hattie Weber Museum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis tops list of best schools for the buck

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

 
Lenten giving project highlights climate justice

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

DCCNS plans open house April 8

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Parent-child open house previews new Waldorf classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Summer garden alert!

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Davis FFA and ag students host plant sale

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Poker tourney benefits DMTC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Camp Shakespeare begins Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Yolo animal shelter seeks donations

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

RSVP for Gerber Young Community Leader reception

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Pence Gallery recruiting volunteers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Move over, Muggles

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A5

 
Tour de Cluck has selected its coops

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

CBH hosts Passover Community Potluck Seder

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
City extends nomination period for Huynh Awards

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Parenting class meets Tuesdays

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Meeting examines Northstar Pond priorities

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Forum

Maybe he loves the outdoors …

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Why can’t we be friends?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

A California comeback for gerrymandering?

By Tom Elias | From Page: A8

 
César Chávez’s peaceful civil disobedience forged a great legacy

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

A conversation about power

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

Over the years, The Show has been a reach for Davis

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UC Davis opens hopeful spring football camp

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

A very palpable hit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
UCD roundup: Sleiffer seals Aggie tennis victory over Montana

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Grizzlies beat Kings to end three-game skid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Snubbed Temple, returning Stanford highlight NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Features

.

Arts

30 years of dance in Davis with Pamela Trokanski

By Chloe Lessard | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Hear some April Fool’s night jazz

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Dance the night away at house party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

‘A Year with Frog and Toad’ a delightful family show

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Mischief to play at Picnic in the Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Yolo Mambo will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Thursday Live! plans a blues party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Jane Lynch performance rescheduled to August

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7