New California School Funding Formula Gives More Money To Help Low-Income, ESL Students

After several decades without any major changes, the way California funds its schools is being completely revamped.

On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed several new bills into law that will allocate more money to help disadvantaged students and give districts more control over how their money is distributed, according to the Associated Press. The bills replace California’s previous school-funding system, which California Newswire describes as “overly complex, inefficient and inequitable.”

The new bills give every school district money based on its number of students and then additional funding based on its number of low-income students and ESL students. Further, schools where more than 55 percent of pupils are ESL or low-income qualify for additional funds.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the new funding system could have immense implications for school districts with many low-income students. For example, under the plan, Los Angeles Unified School District’s per-pupil funding will increase more than $5,000 in a matter of years.

“Our disadvantaged students deserve more resources to overcome the extra obstacles they face, and this formula does just that,” Senate President Darrell Steinberg said of the bills, according to California Newswire.

The legislation, called the Local Control Funding Formula, also gives school districts more control over how they spend the funds they receive, the AP reports.

"Today, we did something more creative: We pulled back and increased the discretion and the accountability of the local authorities, and that's all to the good," the governor said at a signing ceremony, according to the outlet.

Brown had been working with legislators to get the bills passed for weeks, according to the Los Angeles Times. He had introduced a similar idea last year, although the proposal fell flat.