January 9 | San Diego Union-Tribune

By The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board

Five years ago this month, Gov. Jerry Brown announced his support for what was billed as the biggest change in California public education in decades. Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula increased funding for districts with disproportionate numbers of English-language learners, foster students and students from impoverished families to help them all have better chances at leading successful lives. The legislation also freed up school districts from having to comply with many state-imposed mandates.

Now the Local Control Funding Formula is again in the news with a leak about the state budget that Brown will release Wednesday that notes the formula will be fully funded this budget, two years ahead of schedule. But hold the applause. As this editorial board has repeatedly noted, instead of formula dollars going specifically to help struggling students — as Brown promised in 2013 — formula dollars are instead treated like block grants by many districts. These districts use the funds to defray higher compensation costs — especially pensions, where phased-in higher payments mandated by the state Legislature’s 2014 bailout of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System are a giant headache for every district in the state.

 

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