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LA Unified Wins Big Under State Budget Compromise

Hillel Aron | June 11, 2013

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RB BudgetState lawmakers have reached an agreement with Governor Jerry Brown about how to overhaul state education funding that — while altered somewhat from Brown’s original proposal — will still be of substantial financial benefit to LAUSD.

“I applaud Governor Brown and our legislators for their work on the compromise announced on the Local Control Funding Formula,” said Superintendent John Deasy in a written statement.

The compromise language is designed to give more money all school districts while still making sure districts like LAUSD with a large concentration of low-income and English language learning students get a big boost.

Last month, Deasy said that the original Brown plan would hand LAUSD an extra $188 million in the first school year alone. The compromise version is expected to give the district roughly the same amount of money.

Governor Brown’s initial proposal earmarked 80 percent of education funds to go directly to all school districts evenly — the “base funding.”

Meanwhile, 16 percent went to “supplemental funding,” flowing to districts with disadvantaged kids, and 4 percent to “concentration funding,” helping districts (like LAUSD) with especially high concentrations of low-income students, English language learners and foster kids.

The compromise proposal raises the base funding to 84 percent, lowers the supplemental funding to 10 percent, and then increases the concentration funding to 6 percent.

See EdSource Today‘s handy chart for a visual comparison of the original and compromise language:

Via EdSource Today

“[The compromise formula] was trying to give something to the school districts who were concerned that the base amount wasn’t enough,” explained Edgar Zazueta, LA Unified’s top advocate in Sacramento. “But we didn’t want it to be at the expense of the neediest kids. It was a very creative way to get to the final end product.”
Under the compromise proposal, which is slated to start kicking in July 1, LAUSD’s per pupil allocation would continue to rise every year until 2020-21, when it is expected to reach $12,750.

“This announcement marks the most significant overhaul of K-12 school finance since the 1978 passage of Proposition 13 shifted most school funding from property taxes to the state’s sales and income tax rolls,” said Deasy. “While we have miles to go to regain the ground we’ve lost since, with this deal, we have begun our journey toward funding equity and funding adequacy.”

To be sure, Deasy was just one of the many LA officials pushing for the funding formula, including UTLA President Warren Fletcher and LA Chamber of Commerce President Gary Toebben.

“This is one of those issues where you had everyone on board — labor, business, management,” said Zazueta. “This is a big win for LA as a whole.”

LA Unified will also get a funding boost from Proposition 39, the ballot measure passed by California voters in November to close a corporate tax loophole that benefitted out-of-state-corporations in order to build clean energy infrastructure.

The State legislature has decided that the bulk of the Prop 39 money will go to school districts, who can now apply for the money in order to, say, install solar panels on schools in order to save on energy costs.

Previous posts: Brown Soft-Sells School Formula in LADeasy Joins Governor’s Funding Formula OffensiveGov’s “Weighted” Funding Formula Will Transform LAUSDDeasy Praises Brown Budget Proposal

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