Happy Leap Day!
Has anyone read Alameda School Board member Mike McMahon’s analysis of how Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed new education funding system would work? If not, it really is great, but it comes with a few caveats but the big one is that the voters will pass the big tax initiative come November in order for the new funding scheme to be in place.
In his January budget proposal, Governor Brown has proposed to combine base revenue limits and categorical spending into one weighted student formula. The idea is after a five year phase in, school districts would more local control on how to spend their money. When you compare the district by district impact you can see dramatic shifts can occur. For example, in Alameda county where Dublin Unified would start with $877 more per student compared to Alameda Unified in 2012/13, by 2017/18 Alameda Unified would be receiving $626 more per student compared to Dublin Unified.
The Educated Guess blog, a part of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation blog has extensively covered the issue of the possible weighted formula. And even uses Alameda as an example case of how it would all work, excerpt:
Using Alameda County, above, to illustrate, the most important columns in the chart are 5, 11, and 14.
- Column 5: What each district will receive in per-student funding in 2012-13, pre-weighted student formula: $6,302 in the case of Alameda City Unified. No district will receive less than this. (HTS refers to home-to-school transportation, which will be protected next year only.)
- Column 11: The per-student funding in 2017-18, after the full implementation of the weighted student formula ($7,981 for Alameda City Unified).
- Column 14 (far right): The dollar difference between the 2012-13 and 2017-18 funding ($1,679 for Alameda City Unified).
Mike McMahon is projecting that:
Given the dramatic swings in funding for school districts, I expect the Legislature will not adopt a weighted student formula in 2012. Given the uncertainity of November tax initiatives, I would expect the weighted student formula legislation be examined in 2013.
And that may be so, but at least in the Alameda County examples, the only districts that take large funding hits are smaller ones — see Mountain House (47 students) and Sunol Glen (255) — and these small districts may not make enough noise to make a difference.