By Kevork KURDOGHLIAN
Glendale Unified School District, like all school districts across California, must adapt to the new rules mandated by the Local Control Funding Formula, which was signed into law in the 2013-14 state budget by Gov. Brown on July 1.
A press release from Brown’s office said that the new formula “replaces California’s overly complex, inefficient and inequitable finance system for K-12 schools.” The Revenue Limit Funding model, the previous finance system that has been in place since 1972, was the model used for all of the GUSD budgetary assumptions made thus far. The budget proposed to the GUSD board of education members on June 18 was a “placeholder” budget.
The governor’s office has projected “the formula will spend 84 cents of each dollar on base grants for every district, 10 cents in supplemental funding for every English learner, student from a low income family or foster child in a district and 6 cents for those districts that have a particularly high concentration of these students.
“Under the legislation, districts will receive a per-pupil base grant, a supplemental grant based upon the number of students who are English learners, students from low-income families and foster youth and a concentration grant for districts with over 55% of this targeted population.”
In a budget update presentation to the GUSD board at its June 18 meeting, Controller Mike Lee noted that GUSD would receive a $537 increase in the base grant per grade span. Using the LCFF School Services simulator, GUSD estimates that it will experience a 15% decrease in supplemental grant funding and a 15% increase in concentration grant funding.
Lee added that GUSD should expect a $1 to $2.5 million dollar net increase in additional funding for next year. GUSD Chief Business and Financial Officer Eva Lueck said LCFF “is more advantageous to [GUSD] than what we were getting from the Revenue Limit formula.”
Though the legislation is now law there are still a number of unanswered questions for GUSD. According to the June 18 budget presentation, the Common Core Standards proposal, the state’s new means for testing K-12 students, still needs to be defined, rules must still be finalized for K-3 class size ratios and the state must clarify if there will be any modification to special education funding.
“There are enough unknowns in the budget where we believe it could swing a million dollars to the good or a million dollars to the bad,” said GUSD Superintendent Richard Sheehan.
Glendale Unified now has 45 days from the signing of the state budget to prepare a new district budget using the Local Control Funding Formula for the board’s consideration. This will not be an easy task by any means.
Lueck said of the change, “It’s hard to take a system that has been built up for years and years and years with its funky regulations and codes and try to change them all at once.”