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California schools could see a major shift in school funding, according to an Education Week article published Thursday (sorry guys — subscription only).

The article summarizes the initial findings of the Committee on Education Excellence, appointed by Schwarzenegger to figure out how to tackle the problems detailed in this March report:

High on the list is likely to be a recommended change in a school financing system that now directs much of its spending into certain categories of programs, rather than a so-called “weighted” system that provides different funding levels for students with various needs, such as low-income students, those with disabilities, and English-language learners.

School districts from San Francisco and Canada have made the switch, which give principals more control over their school budgets, the article says. The free-market-oriented Reason Foundation thinks it’s a good move that won’t require extra funding. Others like USC school finance expert Lawrence Picus say no one really knows how much you need to spend per child, and worried that the shift alone could be “(rearranging) lounge chairs on the Titanic.”

(On a rather grim note, this is the fourth time since I’ve started writing about education — a month ago — that I’ve heard California schools compared to the Titanic.)

EMILY ALPERT

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