Major Restructuring of School Funding Proposed
California lawmakers are trying to overhaul the state's school-financing system and divert more money to districts that serve low-income and English-learning students.
Senate Democrats today will unveil a plan billed as an alternative to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed Local Control Funding Formula, but both have the same goal.
The state's current system is out of date, said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now.
"This is really a historic opportunity to make more transparent and straightforward the way we fund our schools," he said, "but also to really make sure kids in intense poverty and kids in need get the extra support they need to succeed."
Brown's plan would give K-12 school districts greater control over how they spend their money, while also directing more funds to urban and rural districts that serve poorer students. Critics want funding to be shared equally by all school districts. Brown says his plan is not an ordinary legislative matter, calling it a cause for the children of California.
Children Now is coordinating the "Children's Movement of California," which supports Brown's Local Control Funding Formula and other issues. Nearly 600 organizations and thousands of individuals already have joined the movement by proclaiming that they are "Pro-Kid."
Most people want children to be a priority, Lempert said.
"What the Children's Movement is about is getting a range of organizations - from large statewide groups to individual local nonprofits and businesses and community parent groups - to sign onto saying 'We are pro-kid'," he said, "but then it creates a very large network of groups that can weigh in to support key issues."
The 2012 Kids Count Report ranked California 41st in children's well-being.
More information is online at childrennow.org.