Brown’s Formula a Win for Schools

Friday, March 15, 2013
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For years, the mantra among local school officials throughout the state has been to advocate for more local control and less iron-fist demands for how to spend public money.

And finally, we have exactly that situation. Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a smart, long-overdue method of funding our local schools. Known as the Local Control Funding Formula, Brown wants to give schools money based on need, on factors such as numbers of English-language learners and students in the free or reduced-cost lunch program.

The road to greater academic college achievement, higher employment rates, and a vibrant, bursting economy begins right here and right now. I support the governor’s proposal because it is the best solution proposed so far for attempting to address the serious achievement gaps in our schools.

The proposal would create a program where districts with high numbers of English-language learners would receive more money, or concentration grants, per student. Districts with large amounts of poorer children would receive even larger concentration grants. Schools in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria , Ventura , Oxnard, Santa Paula, and Fillmore, where in many cases more than half of the population are English-Language learners and economically disadvantaged, would benefit greatly.

In addition, the governor’s budget eliminates most categorical funding – meaning it eliminates dictating to the districts what programs they must spend the money on. Instead, the estimated $7 billion in categorical money would be placed in the hands of the district, and it would be up to the board members to determine how the money is spent.

The additional money to the students who need it most will not come at the expense of the wealthier school districts. All districts will receive more money next year, thanks to the passage of Prop. 30 and several other budget actions taken by the governor and legislature. On a statewide basis, funding levels are projected to grow by approximately $2,700 per-student over the first five years of Formula implementation.

And no basic aid district will receive less in state support than it does today. Basic aid districts would continue to retain local property tax revenues and continue to see their funding rise as property tax revenues increase, according to the state Department of Finance.

I like the governor’s plan, but I would even go a step further. I am an advocate for sending the money directly to the schools most in need. While I am confident that most districts would do what is right, I believe that sending the funding directly to schools would eliminate most political pressures that often fall on school boards when voting on education matters. It would also ensure that all schools with a majority English-language learner or economically disadvantaged population would see the same rise in funding as other schools with similar situations, even if that school happens to be in a district that doesn’t meet the requirements for the concentration grant.

It’s time to acknowledge and accept the fact that children who are learning English in the public school system, and children of less economic means, have it tougher academically than the children who begin public school with a wealth of resources both in and out of the classroom. Schools need the resources to properly educate those students to rise to the levels of many of their peers.

Schools should be our great equalizer. Unfortunately, the public school system is not an equal-opportunity place to learn. Neighborhoods with higher property values and property taxes create more money for the schools in those districts. Parental involvement and fundraising tends to be higher in those districts. It is our responsibility as residents to help each child succeed at the highest level. The Local Control Funding Formula is a major step in that direction.

Assemblymember Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, is Chair of the Higher Education Committee and member of the Education Committee.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

When local school boards are elected by union-friendly special interests, which is close to 100% our local school boards, you know exactly where local control is going to send this new money.

Don't let Das Williams and Jerry Brown fool you putting the "local control" label on this latest wealth transfer scheme. Both Williams and Brown are union tools and knows who's brung 'em. This latest scheme is merely manna from heaven getting mainlined directly into union coffers.

Nope, to get anything "for the children" they will still have to dun us with even more parcel taxes and bond issues using cloying image marketing intended to induce guilt that these extra taxes are still necessary "for the children".

Don't be fooled. Put radio-active tracers on this new "local control" money and track where it actually ends up. Out the back door and into the adults back pockets. It will not get used "for the children".

No one needs to keep increasing salaries, benefit, perks and retirement for teachers. They are paid well and there are plenty lining up to take their jobs, if they don't like them.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
March 15, 2013 at 6:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Brown wants to give schools money based on need, on factors such as numbers of English-language learners and students in the free or reduced-cost lunch program." Per the article this awesome plan intends to give more money to schools that are full of illegal aliens. Enough said.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 16, 2013 at 7:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

With attitudes like those above you'd think unions and illegal alien children were robbing us blind when in fact it's those who refuse to do their fair share for the America that made them who they are and it is those people who are keeping us from being that beacon of light they like to talk about (as well as how hard they say they had to work for what they have, spare me, we all do, some more that have a lot less). It is a lie, a con, and a crime in order to hoard more money. It is those in power who are responsible for the mis-use & mis-management of our taxes and not unions or children (remember the tax cuts, wars, contractors and politicians that pillaged the PUBLIC coffers?). How shameful to think so. Can't see beyond your gated community (or the one in your head you dwell in)?

spacey (anonymous profile)
March 16, 2013 at 3:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

well put, spacey!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 16, 2013 at 5:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yup Spacey, that's me, the elitist snob oppressing illegal aliens. Sorry my friend but it is getting tired and old to continue to claim that some of our lower socio economic groups continually need more public money to begin appreciating education.
California, by latest numbers, is at about 25th on spending per pupil(even the weenie CTA president admitted it the other day) but at the bottom in performance. There are plenty of states that out perform California with less money; why don't we study their success instead of waging class warfare here?

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 17, 2013 at 6:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's a good thing that Governor Moonbeam is such a little man. It makes it easier for him to fit in the union's pocket.

waz (anonymous profile)
March 18, 2013 at 1:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

despite my many disagreements with Das, he's correct in writing "It’s time to acknowledge and accept the fact that children who are learning English in the public school system, and children of less economic means, have it tougher academically than the children who begin public school with a wealth of resources both in and out of the classroom."
Italiansurg, why do you make the assumption that Brown's plan will give "money to schools that are full of illegal aliens."? There are plenty of poor CITIZEN kids who are anglo and hispanic and need this equalizing funding.
Sure, there is corruption in the unions, and the Chumash own Das, but the problems funding public education cannot be blamed solely on that. Guys like you don't want to pay.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 18, 2013 at 2:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

uh, I dunno, maybe because the majority of kids that are not learning english at home have parents that are illegal aliens...
Do you honestly want to contest this point? OK the kids that do not speak English are not 100% from illegals; maybe 95% or so...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 18, 2013 at 5:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm reading between the lines and seeing that there is an incentive to *keep* kids from learning English. As long as they are English-deficient, the schools get extra funds. Factor in human nature and the problem becomes obvious.

I remember when the genie was let out of the bottle a number of years ago and it was revealed that 8th-graders and Franklin school were still (!) English-deficient even though they had been attending that school since 1st grade. I remember the two school board meetings I attended in the late '90's and how the teachers made endless excuses about why we could not stop funding bilingual education--one of whom had the gall to compare doing so to "Hitler's Final Solution".

There is an assumption that teachers automatically walk on water and I realized this is false after attending those two meetings. Whether it's warped idealism, are profiteering, we once again see the same old yore being offered us by Mr. Williams and the schools while Johnny still can't read and while the failures are blamed on Latino/Hispanic culture. I place the blame squarly on the education system and the politicians who are in bed with these teachers' unions. Sorry people, but not all priests, doctors, politicians, or teachers are as wise or honest as they may want us to think, and simply saying your for "the children" isn't going to cut it any more.

Action speaks louder than words and I smell a rat in Wiliiams' article--whether or not he's a True Believer. i like Foo Fighter's comment, and there is plenty of Foo in Williams' article.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 18, 2013 at 6:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Easy there bc, it's heretical to even infer that lots of teachers suck and vote their self interest and are prostitutes to their intellectually dishonest Union. You sir should be banned from this comment space. And just because the Legislature is owned by public employee's Union money how dare you even hint that there is a conflict of interest

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2013 at 5:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"You sir should be banned from this comment space. "

And you sir, have outed yourself as a radical Leftie because the term "intellectually dishonest" is a term that angry Lefties use, and in your case, could have sinister implications. (How's THAT for an inside linguistic jab?)

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2013 at 6:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

your sinister linguistic jabs notwithstanding, BC, why of course I don't imagine teachers automatically walk on water. So you know, for the Cal Assoc Indep Schools [accrediting group of private schools, NOT a union], I've evaluated ten top private schools... taught abroad... and in public schools, too...Dang, just like plumbers and so on, there are lots of poor teachers.
Without great public education we are all in trouble. Ranting constantly about the evil teachers' unions etc. is not especially helpful, though there are some very true points in all that, I don't contest THAT, Italiansurg.
The education problems are actually much worse than just dishonest unions or poor teachers. Social media, screen obsession, flaccid youth, confused youth who are also intellectually "obese"... parents who could care less... poor facilities... horrendous textbooks...
Nonetheless, Brown and Das are right we need to put more money into the Hardings and Franklins... this is a good effort.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2013 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"parents who could care less... "

The term is "couldn't care less". It's a common mistake but an otherwise intelligent person who is a teacher to make it gives me pause for reflection. (I'm just a security guard who barely made it through high school so I don't lay claim to being an authority on grammar but since you are in the academic world...)

Having said this, your message is well-taken but teachers and administrators and politicians are all part of the same mechanism you mention. A wholistic approach to this is what is needed and partisan approaches don't work.

What really angers me about all this is that the teachers gripe about their lack of money, but will not stand up to the parasitical administrators.

To let out the inside jab, "sinestra" is the Italian word for "left", and of course Italiansurg is from Italy. "Sinister" comes from of course--you guessed it--because back in the Bad Old Days of superstition people believed left-handers were of the Devil. (My family has insisted that I was converted to being right-handed when I entered Catholic school) Of course, some people think Obama is the anti-Christ--and he is left-handed, as is Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush, and Paul McCartney. Take your pick.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program. (Or in British: "Programme")

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2013 at 6:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry, I meant to say the first Bush.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2013 at 6:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oops, sorry Bill, in my over-educated miasma I made an important thing in learning is to be open to correction: thank you for that. I also didn't get the pun about sinestra meaning left... was that a left-handed compliment to Italiansurg?
I agree that partisan approaches do not work. When people like to infer that teachers suck, OK, there are plenty of them that do but also a huge majority who work very hard. I wouldn't use Mussolini (or Al Capone) as models to infer how rotten Italians are!
BC, when you write "the teachers gripe about their lack of money, but will not stand up to the parasitical administrators", maybe you forget these administrators are the bosses and can (and do) fire and deny tenure and deny pay raises, so it's a bit tough to pound the rank-and-file teachers that way. Too many administrators, yes, & too few frontline teachers... Also, too little money and not always wisely spent.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2013 at 7:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh c'mon Dan. The money we are still paying Serban is very well spent, don't you think?

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 20, 2013 at 9:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Italiansurg and I give each other grief, but always in a good-natured way.

Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Bart and his fellow nerds were being harassed by a group of bullies? It finally occurred to them that they far outnumber the bullies and they stood up to them with success.

Think about the Velvet Revolution in Eastern Europe. Strength in numbers, and can you imagine what a public relations nightmare it would be for the administrators if such a battle started to make the news?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2013 at 3:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

finally, BC is now pro-union, tilting left, brother!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2013 at 6:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You mean left handers are not a demonic extension? How come nobody told me?
We will never create a metrics for success vs dollars spent and that is the beauty of Progressives; they do not have a metric. If groups fail their emotional reasoning is that money will make them not fail; it must be someones fault other than those that are failing.
Guess what, a dependable percentage of people in all cultures under perform, are deviant, are criminals, excel, you name it. And money is not the only answer.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 21, 2013 at 10:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"finally, BC is now pro-union, tilting left, brother!" -DrDan-

Diver Dan, your optimism is not warranted. The fact is, "billclausen" is a right winger if there ever was one. When other boys had Farrah Fawcett as their pin up girl, he had a pin up picture of Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly in his room. He truly is part of the " vast right wing conspiracy".

dullfin (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 2:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

so Italiansurg, why have you (appropriately, I'd say) inveighed against the priests when you already know "a dependable percentage of people in all cultures under perform, are deviant, are criminals, excel"? About 4% of Catholic priests are apparently (or, were) abusers... My point is why accept these "metrics"? You certainly do not in the cases of the priests, and I don't either. And I do not accept that value-free metric of yours in regard to public education. Of course money is not the only answer, but in terms of public education it is a sine qua non. Level the playing field.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 3:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@dullfin, I WAS being sarcastic in my comment about BC, what he did was slip in his comment about 'strength in numbers' which is what unions do when they battle the higher-ups. Oh, and hey my diving days are done, man.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 3:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Huh? Actually, the % of priest molesters is probably higher than that and I am not in favor of educating people to solve this problem; I am in favor of jailing pedophiles. No amount of money will help them or the nitwits that still give money to my church.
Nor will we make people magically produce academically performing kids if they do not already care by throwing money at them. It has not worked to date and your answer is to keep throwing money at the problem? Do you not remember two years ago when free government tutors were going unused in this district, in spite of having free interpreters and public assemblies to get these parents to actually care about their kids? We have a gang problem because some cultures have different values than our dominant culture and we do not want to be intellectually honest about the actual problem.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 2:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ignore "dullfin". There IS strength in numbers.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 3:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wish "dullfin" would swim away on the wave he rode in on.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2013 at 9:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hopefully the next time we see Dullfin it isn't in a can of tuna.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2013 at 11:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

hey BC, when dullfin swims in your direction and calls you out, you won't respond.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2013 at 7:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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