Also posted on The McMahon Group website.
With a strong bipartisan support (74-2) in the Assembly of AB18 last month, it appeared that the Legislature would actually begin to address some of the issues raised in the Robles-Wong lawsuit. Unfortunately, Assembly Education Committee chair Julia Brownley, pulled the bill from its scheduling hearing in the Senate. The hearings will be heard in 2012 making a two year bill.
Before examining the emerging politics already delaying productive dialogue about changing California’s public school finance law, let’s explore AB18′s central elements:
To simplify the number of funding streams provided to school districts and to provide continuing flexibility in the expenditure of those funds, this bill, commencing at the end of the current budget flexibility provisions (2015), treats current categorical funding streams in one of four ways:
- Redefine base funding (details for each category is in the central elements link above)
- Create pupil targeted equity funding
- Consolidate funding for quality instruction
- Funding for special education, career technical education, county offices of education and funding for capital would remain outside the bill at this time.
I guess it is understandable that when we start to move monies around within Prop 98, various stakeholders would begin to voice their “concern” (like CTA and adult education). However, given the current state of funding where categorical funding is being spent without any State direction, I believe it is in everyone’s interest to come to the table and redefine public school funding when categorical flexibility ends in 2015. Funding reform must precede “adequate funding for schools” because it is clear California taxpayers want greater assurances their tax dollars are being spent wisely.
Mike McMahon is a school board member for Alameda Unified School District.