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New School-Finance System Approved by California State School Board

The California State Board of Education approved new regulations governing K-12 finance by a unanimous vote on Jan. 16, after hundreds of education administrators, parents, and others testified about the proposed rules.

Under the rules approved for the state's Local Control Funding Formula (passed by lawmakers last year), districts will have to direct more resources to needy students, defined as low-income children, English-language learns, and students in foster care. Districts and schools with relatively high percentages of those students will receive certain flexibility under the formula to spend money at their discretion on a district- or school-wide basis. 

At the same meeting, the state board also approved a template for Local Control and Accountability Plans, which districts and counties must use to involve the community to a greater extent than required previously when making budget decisions.

Much of the debate over that template and the proposed regulations has been how to strike the right balance between ensuring that more state resources reach needy students, and strengthening local decision-making power and reducing state bureaucratic oversight. 

The new funding formula, in addition to directing more money to needier students, also gradually raises overall state K-12 funding until 2020. 

I wrote about the proposed regulations before they were approved in a recent story for Education Week, and my colleague Lesli Maxwell wrote about the public testimony on the proposed rules on Jan. 16 before the board vote.

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