10/31/2020

LA Unified not directing enough money to help low-income students, report charges

Despite some incremental progress, Los Angeles Unified officials continue to “evade” the requirement of the state’s education funding formula to spend substantially more on schools serving low-income children and other students who generate additional revenue for the district, authors of a study released on Tuesday wrote.

In their fourth annual analysis of spending in the state’s largest school district, the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Communities of Los Angeles Student Success, a coalition of organizations with the acronym CLASS, urged the district to spend hundreds of millions of dollars that it charges the district is diverting to general spending. The report also reiterated its previous call to funnel more of the additional revenue from the funding formula to the highest poverty, lowest-performing schools — instead of spreading it to most of the schools in the district. LA Unified’s school board agreed to do this four years ago, using a Student Equity Need Index that factors in a neighborhood’s health indicators, like asthma rates and exposure to gun violence, as well as a school’s standardized test scores. But the amount has totaled a small fraction of the funding under the formula, the study found.

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