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ERIC Number: ED502249
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 50
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
Funding Formulas for California Schools II: An Analysis of a Proposal by the Governor's Committee on Education Excellence. Occasional Paper
Reinhard, Ray; Rose, Heather; Sengupta, Ria; Sonstelie, Jon
Public Policy Institute of California
In its recent report, the Governor's Committee on Education Excellence proposes a major restructuring of California's school finance system, replacing most of the separate programs through which revenue now flows from the state to local school districts with a base program and a targeted program. The base program would serve the educational needs of all students. The targeted program would provide supplemental funds for disadvantaged students. Base revenue would be allocated according to the total number of students in each district. Targeted revenue would be allocated according to the number of English learners and students from low-income families. The Committee would not restrict the use of funds in these two programs, although districts would be obliged to demonstrate that targeted funds enhance the education of disadvantaged students. The Committee's proposed reform would not affect some current revenue programs, the most notable of which is special education. Overall, however, 86 percent of state revenue allocated to public schools would be consolidated into the new base and targeted programs. The Committee is not specific about every detail of its proposed new school finance system, including the level of base funding. It does stipulate that targeted revenue for each low-income student should be 40 percent of revenue per student in its base program and that targeted revenue for each English learner be 20 percent of that base revenue per student and suggests that base revenue vary with the grade attended by students, using the current funding formula for charter schools as a model. This report simulates the Committee's proposal using these parameters, comparing the revenue school districts would have received under various versions of the Committee's proposed system with the revenue districts actually received in 2004-2005 from the programs the Committee would eliminate. The simulations have been conducted imposing the condition that no district receives less revenue under the proposed system than it actually received in 2004-2005. The finance proposal of the Governor's Committee is similar to another recent proposal by Alan Bersin, Michael Kirst, and Goodwin Liu. Like the Governor's Committee, Bersin, Kirst, and Liu would consolidate a large number of current revenue programs, and large districts gain more than smaller districts under simulation. However, the two proposals differ in four primary areas: (1) Bersin, Kirst, and Liu recognize that it may be desirable to weight grade levels differently in allocating base revenue, but do not make an explicit recommendation about those weights; (2) Like the Governor's Committee, Bersin, Kirst and Liu define targeted students as English learners and students from low-income families but would use a different measure of low-income families and apply different weights for low-income students and English learners; (3) Bersin, Kirst and Lin would provide additional funds to districts with high concentrations of disadvantaged students, a factor considered by the Governor's Committee, but not recommended; and (4) Bersin, Kirst, and Liu propose to adjust school district revenue for differences in regional labor market conditions, another adjustment the Governor's Committee considered, but did not recommend. Although the differences illustrate that there are significant policy choices in implementing the direction of reform that both the Governor's Committee and Bersin, Kirst, and Liu have chosen, the choices are far less significant than the fundamental decisions the state would have to make in adopting either proposal. (Contains 20 footnotes, 9 figures and 12 tables.)
Public Policy Institute of California. 500 Washington Street Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94111. Tel: 415-291-4400; Fax: 415-291-4401; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: Public Policy Institute of California
Identifiers - Location: California