Gov. Brown signed the California 2018–19 State Budget and will have accomplished his goal of fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula (LCAP) when he leaves office at the end of 2018. He proposed about $3.67 billion more for the Local Control Funding Formula, achieving his goal of restoring for all districts the funding they had (plus inflation) in 2008–09, before the last recession.
Brown calls that “full funding” under the funding formula that he championed and the Legislature passed five years ago, and he will achieve it two years earlier than originally scheduled. The Budget includes total funding of $97.2 billion ($56.1 billion General Fund and $41.1 billion other funds) for all K–12 education programs.
School districts will receive $300 million in 2018–19 to help improve the performance of students with the lowest standardized test scores. That will equal about $2,000 apiece for the estimated 146,000 students designated for the funding. The one-time money, “Low Performing Students Block Grant” is aimed at a group of students who had been overlooked under the Local Control Funding Formula. The formula targets additional dollars to English learners and low-income, foster, and migrant children. Students with special needs already get extra funding from another source of state funding. School districts will have flexibility in spending over the next three years as long as they work to close the achievement gap.
The budget includes more than $108 million in new money for early childhood education. Most of that money—$104 million—is set aside to expand the number of daycare slots for low-income families, and $4 million will provide cost-of-living raises for childcare and preschool workers.
California provides instruction and support services to roughly six million students in grades K–12 in more than 10,000 schools, in a system of 58 county offices of education, more than 1000 local school districts, and more than 1000 charter schools.
Committing more than $35 billion in new K–12 dollars to the funding formula is enough to raise California’s current per-student spending of $11,149 by about $6,500. That would potentially place California among the top 10 states in the nation. (Determining per pupil spending depends upon how spending is calculated and how up-to-date the data are, the per-student amount differs by thousands of dollars, and the state’s ranking varies widely. State comparisons can be several years old.)