Smaller Classes, More Novice Teachers: The ‘Tradeoff’ For Low-Income California Schools

Former Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature law, the Local Control Funding Formula, has frustrated researchers and advocacy groups that have wanted to verify how much of the extra money intended for targeted students has actually gone to the schools they attend — and how the funding was used.

Consistent with his view of local control, Brown insisted that district offices, not schools, should control money under the formula, and he fought efforts to make it easy to compare spending across schools and districts.

Now a researcher from the Public Policy Institute of California appears to have cracked the code, at least on a macro level of data, and has published the first statewide look at differences in spending among high- and low-poverty schools under the formula. His findings are both reassuring and concerning and may renew calls for clarity in tracking funding formula dollars at the school level and for the Legislature to give more direction on how dollars should be used.

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