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School Districts Have Varying Views on School Funding Formula

Fresno Unified School District

School districts in California will receive varying amounts of money under the state’s new school funding plan. And attitudes about the plan vary as well. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Under the new formula, districts will receive a base level of funding for every student. They’ll get additional money for every low-income and non-English speaking student they have.

That’s good news for urban districts like Oakland Unified. 80 percent of its students fall into at least one of those categories. Oakland Unified will get about $7,500 per student next year. The district’s Troy Flint says the plan will benefit all of California.

“If we don’t take really dramatic steps to improve the performance of low-income students, of black and Latino student, of English learner students, we’re going to develop an underclass that is so huge that it’s going to sink the entire California economy,” says Flint.

But administrators at Saddleback Valley Unified in suburban Orange County aren’t so happy. Assistant Superintendent Geri  Partida says the district doesn’t qualify for as much funding as surrounding districts. She says that will put Saddleback at a disadvantage.

 “Districts are going to have a lot more money to offer to different programs to their students, a lot more money to put on salary schedules for staff. So we anticipate that, over time, as this disparity becomes larger and larger, we’ll probably have a hard time obtaining quality staff,” says Partida.

Saddleback will get about $6,400 per student next year.