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New School Funding Formula Mandates Parental Involvement

Andrew Nixon
Capital Public Radio

California’s new education funding formula sends more dollars to disadvantaged students – with new strings attached.  School districts will have to show how they’ll spend the money to improve student achievement – and how they’ll measure success.  And as KPCC’s Julie Small reports, they’ll have to hear from one important group before they adopt their plans.

By July of next year, each California school district has to adopt a plan showing what “high quality educational programs” the new state money has allowed them to fund.  They also have to show how those programs benefit low-income, English-learner and foster care children.

But before districts finalize their plans, Edgar Cabral with the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office says school officials will have to hear parents out.

“The goal here is for parents to be more engaged in what’s going on—and not just sort of at the end, looking back at what school districts have done, but even in the beginning stages of developing a plan to bring parents in so that they’re involved in that process as well,” says Cabral.

Cabral says districts will have to meet with English Learner Advisory groups—or other parent groups formed just for the task.  Parents will be able to provide comments to districts, and the districts have to respond, in writing.  Patty Scripter with the California PTA says this kind of transparency is "critical."

Successful districts are ones where they’re transparent about what their goals are and how they’re going to get there and they include parents and community members in the process,” says Scripter.

Scripter's thrilled all school districts now have to include parents and community members in decisions on how to spend the new funding.

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