Portantino Introduces Enrollment-Based Funding Bill for K-12 Schools

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(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) was joined by educational leaders to announce Senate Bill 830, a measure that will determine supplemental funding for K-12 schools based on the daily average student enrollment numbers.  Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education President Kelly Gonez and California School Employees Association (CSEA) President Matthew “Shane” Dishman joined the Senator in support of SB 830.  LAUSD and CSEA are sponsoring the bill.  The list of education organizations in support of the bill is expecting to increase.

“With the state anticipating a $31 billion dollar surplus, it is critical that increasing K-12 education funding be front and center in those discussions.  We are currently using an outdated system that only considers student attendance.  Now is the perfect time to implement structural reforms that will benefit every school district in California,” stated Senator Portantino.  “The pandemic will have long-lasting impacts on student achievement and mental health.  It is important more than ever that we ensure students are in school and are receiving the support they need to learn and thrive. SB 830 aims to achieve this goal.”

California is one of only six states that does not consider student enrollment figures for determining state aid to school districts.  Districts plan their budgets and expend funds based on the number of students enrolled but receive funds based on their average daily attendance.  For example, if a school district enrolls one hundred students but their attendance rate is 95%, the school district must still prepare as if one hundred students will attend class every day but only receive funding for ninety-five students.

SB 830 remedies this inequity and would define “average daily membership” as the amount of the aggregate enrollment days for all pupils in a school district or county office of education, from transitional kindergarten to grade 12, divided by the total number of instructional days for the local educational agency in an academic year.

“When students are facing trauma, economic uncertainty, or dangerous routes to school, the simple act of showing up to class isn’t so simple,” stated LAUSD Board of Education President Kelly Gonez.  “The proposed legislation would provide more equitable funding so school districts like L.A. Unified can meet students’ needs and address the root causes of absenteeism.  We need these critical resources to ensure all students receive support to be in class and learning every day.”

SB 830 would require a local educational agency to receive the difference between what they would have received under the local control funding formula (LCFF) based on average daily enrollment and what they received under the local control funding formula based on average daily attendance for that fiscal year.

In order for a local educational agency to be eligible for supplemental educational funding, SB 830 would require the local educational agency to report the average daily enrollment for the prior academic year to the State Superintendent on July 1 and to demonstrate a maintenance of effort to address chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy.  SB 830 would also require local educational agencies to use at least 50% of their supplemental education funding to supplement existing local educational agency expenditures to address chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy.

“Our current attendance-based funding system takes resources away from schools in lower-income communities because they experience higher rates of absenteeism,” stated California School Employees Association President Matthew “Shane” Dishman.  “Our members, including instructional assistants and attendance clerks, know that student absences actually cost money and demand additional resources to track down absent students and prepare make-up assignments.  The truth is, attendance-based funding punishes students in schools that most need the state’s financial support.  That is why CSEA is co-sponsoring this bill to move to enrollment-based funding so that California schools will be funded equitably and have greater financial stability and predictability.”

1 COMMENT

  1. PS if there is a $31 billion surplus, why not cut state taxes as well? We could all use a little relieve from the highest taxes in America. Just saying…

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