March 12 | Educated Guess

In the event they reappear instead of disappear

By John Fensterwald

Given a choice between school funding cut and funding delayed, districts until now have preferred late payments, known as deferrals. They now total about $10.4 billion or 30 percent of state funding for K-12 and community colleges. While bailing out the state short-term, they have created cash flow havoc for charter schools and for many of the state's nearly 1,000 districts.

Many, but not all. Basic aid districts -- those that fund their schools totally from their own property taxes -- and those districts more dependent on property taxes than state dollars for their Proposition 98 funding have largely escaped the impact of deferrals. But those districts with small tax bases that rely on state revenues for most of their money have gotten hit disproportionately hard.* That's because deferrals only affect the state revenue portion of a district's total funding. And districts most affected tend to serve large numbers of poor children, according to Stephen Rhoads, a policy consultant for school districts who is working with State Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, a Democrat from San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, on the issue.

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