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California Parents Share Ideas About New State Funding Law

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California state and local education leaders are meeting with parents and community members during a 12-city bus tour to discuss how the state's new education funding law will be used to improve schools.

The California Endowment, a private statewide health foundation, organized the "School Success Express" bus tour and community forums, which kicked off in South Kern Sept. 30 and will end next month in Del Norte.

Last November, California voters approved Proposition 30—Gov. Jerry Brown's school funding ballot initiative. The Local Control Funding Formula gives more funding to support students who are low-income, learning to speak English, or living in foster homes. State education funding is projected to increase by $18 billion over the next eight years.

Under the new funding law, schools must craft plans to boost parent involvement, improve student engagement, and establish a more-positive learning environment. School district budgets must be aligned with these plans beginning in July of 2014. School leaders and parents are expected to work together to develop achievement plans and education budgets that target their students' needs. In early 2014, the California Board of Education will provide school districts with more detailed guidance to explain how the funding law's accountability criteria will be enforced.

Stops on the bus tour will give parents and community members a chance to convey how they believe the additional state dollars should be used to improve the schools in their area. A custom-decorated bus provides free transportation to each community forum.

"The core of the new Local Control Funding Formula is just that: local control," California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a news release. "Parental and community involvement remains key to student success, perhaps now, more than ever."

See our full coverage of parent empowerment issues.

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