California's New Funding System

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California’s New Financial System; Local Control Funding Formula California’s K-12 school system is currently implementing a new funding system, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), eliminating many categorical programs and revenue limits replacing it with a simpler and more equitable method in favor of the many disadvantaged students that attend California’s public schools that make up half of California’s public school population. Disadvantaged students are classified as students that qualify for free or reduced lunch (low-income), foster youth, and English learners. According to a 2007 study conducted by California’s state commission entitled Getting Down to Facts it is believed to cost California 30% more to educate disadvantaged students, although, these districts and schools received less funding than affluent districts under the previous financial system. The Public Policy Institute of California reported 2/3 of Californians believe economically underprivileged students should receive more funding from the state, even if this is at the expense of more affluent districts. The reasons as to why these disparities existed in the face of overwhelming support among Californians and fiscal figures will later be explored. Many parents, teachers and community leaders have varying sentiments about the new funding formula from complete support to speculation of fairness to utter rebuff. Nevertheless, the LCFF will be implemented next year and many are now engaged in the task of perfecting and ensuring that all California’s children benefit from this new financial distribution apparatus. Although, highly regulated many Californian’s felt the old education funding system was highly complex, severely state controlled, administratively costly, perpetuated unequal distribution of limited state funds, and did not take into account the additional funds needed to adequately educate the many disadvantaged students it served. A majority of basic state funds landed in wealthy districts (possibly due to their high local tax revenue) and went directly to pupils direct needs, whereas in less affluent districts these fund were nominal and typically went to basic school operations. Parcel taxes generated a larger quantity in wealthier districts, as it is dependent on local property taxes. Contrary to beliefs held by many, the state lotto represents only 1-2% in total state funding to California’s schools. Categorical funds were distributed in abundance dependent on a school’s competence in applying for these extra funds, were heavily restrictive with harsh noncompliance backlash. According to Edsource, an online forum dedicated to education issues, this has resulted in many administration officials feeling as though “they were simply administrating the state’s programs not really affecting education policy. “The last source of income to California’s schools are private donations that are most exemplified in wealthier districts, as these locals have more excess funds than their economically challenged counterparts. The disparity among wealth and poor districts have resulted in less qualified instructors and outdated educational supplies in poorer districts, two factors that serve in widening the extensive achievement gap amongst the two. The elimination of these inequalities would cultivate a leveled playing field for all Californian students assisting them in achieving their potential and competing in the global market. According to ASCD the belief in individualism, essentialism, and the culture of poverty have assisted in the perpetuation of unequal funding in California’s schools, although other developed countries do not have such unequitable systems and oppose subsiding poorer districts. The belief in individualism breeds the view that people are poor due to self-determination rather than the social conditions they may find themselves in. Essentialism or the conviction that underprivileged groups inherit genes that hinder...
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