Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 27, 2017

Less money, more problems

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

There’s a message about the closure of a class at Franklin Elementary that has been making its way around Facebook.  I hadn’t mentioned it in detail yet, but Ruby Bridges is facing a similar enrollment scenario as it did for the 2016-17 school year, the only difference is that we’re finding out about it prior to the school year starting.  The District has already warned parents and the community about the reduction in funding from the State and the choices that will need to be made.

In advance of the School Board meeting tomorrow night, I thought I’d post the funding breakdowns by elementary school site.  Naturally the only one that is going to have a bit of an asterisk next to it is Bay Farm as it serves K-8 so not a direct comparison.  These numbers come directly from the District from the 2016-17 school year.

One of the things that always bothered me about the way that elementary school funding has been presented to the public has been the way that all the funding buckets are rolled into one final total then divided by the number of students to present a cost per pupil funding number.   What this total number fails to reflect is that a portion of those funding buckets are restricted, meaning the District would be unable to spread it around to all school sites, such as Title I money.  Just to recap, there is a new funding mechanism called Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) which can be thought of as an unrestricted block of money to distributed however the District sees fit.  As part of the LCFF there is an additional pot of money: the LCFF supplemental grant.   According to Fair Share 4 Kids on how LCFF supplement grant money should be used:

The funds generated through supplementary and concentration grants must be spent to “increase or improve services” for English learners, low-income students, and students in foster care.

Districts should spend no less on disadvantaged students than they did in previous years, and they should add to this spending with new LCFF funds as they become available.

But let’s put that to the side for now and just break down what the numbers are for each of the funding pots per student sorted in order of least amount per student to most:

Unrestricted General Fund Unrestricted GF/student
Franklin $1,403,035 $4,151
Otis $2,449,642 $4,209
Bay Farm $2,907,742 $4,565
Maya Lin $1,455,850 $4,636
Earhart $2,849,181 $4,725
Edison $2,092,761 $4,735
Lum $2,406,977 $5,004
Ruby Bridges $2,402,103 $5,177
Haight $2,289,486 $5,203
Paden $1,629,331 $5,413

The amount of Parcel Tax per student sorted by least to most:

Parcel Tax Parcel Tax/student
Bay Farm $127,155 $200
Edison $91,130 $206
Lum $106,768 $222
Haight $98,047 $223
Earhart $149,481 $248
Ruby Bridges $123,500 $266
Paden $84,202 $280
Otis $443,712 $762
Maya Lin $347,097 $1,105
Franklin $376,503 $1,114

And both of those numbers for a combined unrestricted total per student from least to most:

Unrestricted Subtotal Unrestricted/student
Bay Farm $3,034,897 $4,764
Edison $2,183,891 $4,941
Otis $2,893,354 $4,971
Earhart $2,998,662 $4,973
Lum $2,513,745 $5,226
Franklin $1,779,538 $5,265
Haight $2,387,533 $5,426
Ruby Bridges $2,525,603 $5,443
Paden $1,713,533 $5,693
Maya Lin $1,802,947 $5,742

So all the schools get in the same general range, the median is about $5245.49 and the average is slightly less at $5244.46.

Here’s where it gets a bit more tricky, so remember what I said about LCFF supplemental above, here are the numbers sorted by allocation per student from least to most.  The next column is allocation per unduplicated student:

LCFF Supplemental LCFF Supplemental/
LCFF Supplemental/
unduplicated student
Bay Farm $23,550 $37 $185
Edison $18,631 $42 $233
Franklin $15,217 $45 $198
Earhart $30,110 $50 $237
Otis $34,643 $60 $233
Lum $47,253 $98 $223
Ruby Bridges $186,413 $402 $508
Paden $147,722 $491 $869
Haight $246,505 $560 $910
Maya Lin $199,757 $636 $1,833

What makes these numbers unusual is that the LCFF supplemental is being allocated in a seemingly subjective manner and not necessarily representative of the need at the school site based on the unduplicated student count.  Here is a chart of school sites sorted by the percentage of unduplicated students at the site in order of lowest to greatest.  The next two numbers are the percentage of unduplicated students of all elementary level district students and the percentage of LCFF supplemental fund received by site:

% of unduplicated by site % of unduplicated by district % of LCFF funds
Edison 18.10% 4.74% 1.96%
Bay Farm 19.94% 7.52% 2.48%
Earhart 21.06% 7.52% 3.17%
Franklin 22.78% 4.56% 1.60%
Otis 25.60% 8.82% 3.65%
Maya Lin 34.71% 6.45% 21.03%
Lum 44.07% 12.55% 4.98%
Paden 56.48% 10.07% 15.55%
Haight 61.59% 16.04% 25.95%
Ruby Bridges 79.09% 21.73% 19.63%

These are the numbers of restricted General Fund monies per student from least to most.  Ruby Bridges gets the lion share because of the percentage of Title I eligible kids:

Restricted General Fund Restricted GF/student Restricted GF/unduplicated student
Edison $0 $0
Earhart $0 $0
Franklin $0 $0
Lum $0 $0
Bay Farm $0 $0
Otis $0 $0
Haight $155,840 $354 $575
Paden $120,537 $400 $709
Maya Lin $188,180 $599 $1,726
Ruby Bridges $600,043 $1,293 $1,635

And here’s the number that you typically see from the district, all the funds rolled up into one divided by number of students.  However, as I mentioned above the restricted general fund dollars can only allocated in a specific manner, they are not subjectively allocated like the other dollars, so I spun off another column which totals all the subjectively allocated funds divided by number of students in a per student count:

Total all funds Total all funds/student Total w/o restricted GF Total w/o restricted GF/student
Bay Farm $3,058,447 $4,801 $3,058,447 $4,801
Edison $2,202,522 $4,983 $2,202,522 $4,983
Earhart $3,028,772 $5,023 $3,028,772 $5,023
Otis $2,927,997 $5,031 $2,927,997 $5,031
Franklin $1,794,755 $5,310 $1,794,755 $5,310
Lum $2,560,998 $5,324 $2,560,998 $5,324
Ruby Bridges $3,312,059 $7,138 $2,712,016 $5,845
Haight $2,789,878 $6,341 $2,634,038 $5,986
Paden $1,981,792 $6,584 $1,861,255 $6,184
Maya Lin $2,190,884 $6,977 $2,002,704 $6,378

When equity is only provided to schools in need with funds that are legally required to serve the students at the school that’s not truly valuing equity, that’s just ensuring compliance.

If you’re a more visual  person, I have visualized some of the data here.



  1. What is the difference between a per student and a per unduplicated student count?

    Comment by notadave — March 27, 2017 @ 9:09 am

    • Per student are the entire population of kids at the school. Unduplicated, per the state is defined as:

      Unduplicated count of pupils who (1) are English learners, (2) meet income or categorical eligibility requirements for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program, or (3) are foster youth. “Unduplicated count” means that each pupil is counted only once even if the pupil meets more than one of these criteria (EC sections 2574(b)(2) and 42238.02(b)(1)).

      Comment by Lauren Do — March 27, 2017 @ 9:17 am

  2. One of the biggest factors contributing to elementary school budget is the experience of the teaching staff. Since the pay scale pays for more experience schools with more experienced teachers will be higher.

    There have been attempts to attract more experienced teachers to Title 1 schools but they have not been successful.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — March 27, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

  3. My head is spinning because of all the numbers, but is the problem at Franklin and Ruby Bridges that they have 2 classes in each grade K-3 but in 4th grade they need only 1.5 classrooms per grade because larger class sizes are allowed in those grades?

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — March 27, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

    • Franklin is slated to lose an upper grade, but incoming K families have been told that RB is “full” at 50 kids which means only two Kinder classes. Capping RB at two Kinder classes essentially stymies the entire program and forces either (1) combo classes or (2) diversions at 4th or 5th because 50 kids won’t scale down to two upper grade classes.

      Comment by Lauren Do — March 28, 2017 @ 6:29 am

  4. Passage of LCFF has closed the gap of per pupil funding between school districts. Five years ago Dublin Unified received close to $1000 more than Alameda Unified. Now the gap is around $100.

    As for equity outcomes, LCFF is not a silver bullet. School districts struggle to target resources that will benefit specific groups of students.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — April 7, 2017 @ 8:50 am

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