Major funding changes are ahead for California’s school system. California Governor Jerry Brown is expected to propose in his January budget release for fiscal year 2013-2014 to eliminate categorical funding and to increase funding for schools in poorer areas.
The elimination of categorical funding would give local school districts more control over how money is spent and which school programs are funded. Currently, categorical funding is money that must be spent on certain programs. There are 56 categories that include funding for programs such as Advanced Placement, student council, art and music, school counselors, school safety and violence prevention, and transportation services.
Under Brown’s new proposal, schools would receive funding, but the funds would no longer be earmarked and local school districts could spend the money however they decide is best.
Some critics are afraid that school districts will decide to cancel certain programs and not spend the money in a way that would best serve the community. The California Federation of Teachers (CTF) is against the elimination of the mandates. CTF Legislative Director Monica Henestroza told News10, “The state has an interest and has an obligation to make sure that school districts are making the best decisions possible and that means having categoricals in place.”
Brown is also proposing that California schools modify the “weighted per-pupil formula” and schools in poorer areas or with higher numbers of students who are English-language learners will receive more funding.