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Everybody agrees that an educated citizenry and skilled work force are key to California’s prosperity, growth and well-being. That’s why the Legislature needs to quickly pass Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula now that the legislative leadership has reached a consensus on the budget.
The formula would help to level the playing field and improve student readiness by targeting additional dollars to the school districts and students that need it most. Best of all, no district would lose funding. In fact, funding will increase over the transition period as revenue grows.
The governor’s proposal is a win-win for San Diego’s schools and students. Most Californians agree that the formula is the step in the right direction. A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found overwhelming support among a majority of Californians (77 percent) for the governor’s formula. Across the state, a broad coalition of educational advocates, business leaders and faith-based groups including Alliance San Diego has come together to persuade the Legislature to approve the governor’s proposal.
The formula directs additional resources to school districts with high concentrations of poverty and English learner students to enable educators to better provide more services and support. We must invest in these students – our future teachers, doctors and scientists – so that they are prepared for future demands of California’s changing global economy.
The proposal also shifts the power to set priorities and make funding decisions to local communities, parents and teachers, but annual audits and compliance reports will help to ensure that school districts are accountable for the progress of disadvantaged students.
Streamlining the system and increasing local control will give parents, teachers and community leaders a clearer line of sight into funding amounts and decisions to make it easier for all to understand and engage in the process. As schools gain the ability to adapt to student needs and innovate under the formula, they will become more responsive. This, in turn, will increase confidence among members of the community.
At its core, the formula is about helping all California schools and students by improving an outdated school funding system. Now is the time to modernize the state’s school funding system so that it reflects important developments that have taken place in our country and our economy, and so that it supports California’s commitment to education.
The deadline to pass a state budget is June 15. The Legislature needs to listen to the will of the people and take action to pass the formula. Our schools and students have waited long enough.
Matt Yagyagan is the special projects organizer for Alliance San Diego.