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object(Timber\Post)#3742 (44) { ["ImageClass"]=> string(12) "Timber\Image" ["PostClass"]=> string(11) "Timber\Post" ["TermClass"]=> string(11) "Timber\Term" ["object_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["custom"]=> array(5) { ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(12) "R_511MWR.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(6) "699561" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(95438) "California’s New School Funding Flexibility May 2011 Margaret Weston Supported with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 2 Summary Spurred by a deep recession and large budget shortfalls, the California L egislature in 2009 enacted what was arguably the largest change to California’s school finance system in decades —relaxing spending restrictions on more than 40 categorical programs th rough 2012–13, extended later to 2014 –15. Categorical funding , which gives school dist ricts money in addition to the general funds they already receive from the state, had been limited to specific , narrow purposes: buying textbooks or providing summer scho ol, for example. Under the 2009 changes, districts could begin spending these funds for any educational purpose. When the law expires, the legislature will be faced with a decision: whether to return to the previous, tightly restricted categorical fund sy stem or transition to a permanent version of the flexibility now in use . Because they were part of legislative negotiations over the state budget, not education policy, the decisions made in 2009 were far from optimal for K –12 schools . A more systematic a nd less political reconsideration of categorical flexibility could result in a more equitable and transparent distribution of funds , while also reserving targeted aid for students who need supplemental services. In addition, u nder the 2009 provisions, dist ricts could spend categorical funds on any educational purpose. Both state policymakers and local district officials have expressed concern about th e impact of completely flexible funds on the collective bargaining process ; specifically, that those funds would b e used inappropriately to increase teacher salaries and benefits rather than to provide additional services or materials for students . This report offers three recommendations to improve current flexibility provisions that the legislature could consider should it pursue categorical flexibility beyond the program’s sunset date:  Distribute these less -restricted categorical funds more equally.  Apply clear criteria for flexibility and consider alternative configurations.  Consider some restrictions on flex item funds. These recommendations would create a more equitable and transparent source of revenue. This would provide local school districts with increased flexibility in meeting student needs , and would be consistent wi th several recent major school finance reform proposals , as well as Governor Brown’s campaign plan for K –12 education . http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 3 Contents Summary 2 Figures 4 Tables 5 Abbreviations 6 Introduction 7 Background 10 The Flex Item 14 Distribution of Flex Item Funds 17 Improving or Extending California’s Categorical Flexibility 20 Recommendation One: Consolidate Funding and Set Per Pupil Funding Rates 20 Recommendation Two: Apply Clear Criteria for Flexibility and Consider Alternative Configurations 22 Recommendation Three: Consider Some Restrictions on Flexible Funds 28 Conclusion 30 References 31 About the Author 34 Acknowledgments 34 Technical appendices to this paper are available on the PPIC website: http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/other/511MWR_appendix.pdf http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 4 Figures 1. School district funding by type, 2009 –10 8 2. Per pupil funding by student disadvantage, 2009 –10 9 3. Share of categorical revenues, by program, 2010 –11 11 4. Flex item funds per ADA by district type and size, 2009 –10 17 5. Flex item funds per pupil by percent Title I students 19 6. Distribution of flex item funds under categorical reform proposal, by student disadvantage 27 http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 5 Tables 1. Categorical programs classi fied by tier and function 15 2. Flex item funds per ADA by selected categorical programs, 2009 –2010 18 3. General purpose funds per ADA by district type, 2009 –10 21 4. Distribution of flex item funds under categorical reform proposals, by district type 26 http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 6 A bbreviations ADA Average daily attendance CAHSEE California high school exit examination CalSAFE California School Age Families Education CDE California Department of Education CTE Career-technical education DOF California Department of Finance EIA Economic impact aid EL English learner K –3 CSR Kindergarten through grade 3 class size reduction LAO Legislative Analyst’s Office LEA Local education agency ROCP Regional occupational center or program TCBG Teacher credentialing block grant TIIBG Targeted instructional improvement block grant http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 7 Introduction School districts in California are funded in two ways : with unrestricted general purpose funds that may be spent for any educational purpose, and restricted funds —called categorical—earmarked for special programs and purposes. 1 U nrestricted funding comes to school districts in the form of revenue limits— a per pupil entitlement amount that comes from local property taxes and the state. O ther unrestricted funds include part of state lottery revenues and some other local revenues, such as parcel taxes and donations . Together, unrestricted funding sources account for approximately 70 percent of all California school district revenues (Figure 1 ), app roximately $5,700 per pupil in 2009– 10. Most restricted—categorical —funding is delivered through and is intended for myriad specific programs, including special education, pupil transportation, and professional development for teachers . Weston, Sonstelie, and Rose (2009) catalog ued more than 60 state categorical revenues in existence in 200 5– 06. School districts also receive restricted funds from the federal government through programs such as Title I and the N ational School L unch Program. Restricted fundin g constitutes 30 percent of school district revenues (Figure 1), approximately $2,600 per pupil in 2009– 10. 1 There is some subjectivity in the definition of categorical revenue. For the purposes of this report, the terms restricted and categorical are used interchangeably and include any state funding allocated beyond revenue limit funding. This includes pro grams with restrictions on expenditures, applications, or requirements to obtain funds, including incentive funding such as K –3 Class Size Reduction. California’s complex school finance system California’s current school finance system is largely a product of two 1970s -era events that shifted the bulk of school funding from the local to the state level. Previously, school districts set their own property tax rates, and this local revenue constituted the majority of school district funds. Afterward, the burden of financing California’s schools s hifted largely to the state. First, the 1971 California Supreme Court decision known as Serrano v. Priest found the state’s school finance system to be unconstitutional and required the state to equalize general purpose funding across all school districts. Then in 1978, Proposition 13 reduced the amount of local property tax revenue available to cities, counties, and schools. The state now determines its K –12 contribution through a series of complex formulas governed by Proposition 98, a voter -approved ini tiative that dictates the minimum amount that the state must spend. K –12 education and community colleges receive at least 40 percent of the state’s General Fund revenues under Proposition 98. Proposition 98 funds both general purpose funds and most catego rical programs. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 8 F IGURE 1 School district funding by type, 2009–10 SOURCE: Education Data Partnership statewide totals and averages for school districts, 2009 –10. NOTE: Does not reflect flexibility provisions granted by the 2009 Budget Act; state categorical includes $4.5 billion flex item. Unrestricted incentive categoricals, such as K –3 Class Size Reduction, are counted as state categorical funds. See Technical Appendix B for more information about which revenues were used to create these categories. Some state categorical programs are funded though non -Proposition 98 state aid, such as the state lottery and 2009 –10 pupil transportation funding. The largest portion of unrestricted funding, revenue limits, is intended to pro vide for the basic education of an average student (LAO 1993b). Revenue limits pay s for teacher salaries and benefits and other items and services required to keep a school in operation such as janitorial services, administration, desks, and electricity. C onceptually, this base funding is awarded to every district on an equal per pupil basis. Some districts have special costs, such as rural schools that typically have extensive transportation costs to ensure that students can get to school. Another example is schools with many English learners, who may require additional instruction or special materials to assist them in becoming proficient in English. Revenue limit funding may be insufficient to cover those additional costs —costs above the basic education o f a typical student. This is a major reason why federal and state categorical (restricted) programs were created: to cover (sometimes only partially) the gap between the base funding and the true cost of educating some groups of students and districts. In practice, California school finance follows this framework. Revenue limits funding is relatively equally distributed across school districts, in keeping with the Serrano decision (see text box). Any differences in funding are explained by the type of schoo l district (elementary, high school, or unified): the average base revenue limit in 2009 –10 for elementary districts was approximately $5,200 per pupil, for unified districts $5,300 per pupil, and for high school districts $6,100 per pupil. Under the Serra no equalization rules, districts were categorized by their type and size (small and large) and equalization occurred within each category. This means that the vast majority of students within each district type have roughly the same base revenue limit fund ing (90 percent of all unified district students are within an $80 per pupil band). Very small districts, however, have higher revenue limit s than other districts of the same type. These configurations are illustrated further in Figure 2a , which shows funding per student against the percentage of students identified as disadvantaged under the federal Title I program. Each bubble represents a California school district. The bubble color reflects its type and the bubble size reflects the number of students in the district; the largest bubble is the Los Angeles Unified School District, which serves approximately 10 percent 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 District revenues Percent of total revenue Federal categorical State categorical Other unrestricted Revenue limits Proposition 98 funds Proposition 98 funds Restricted funding Unrestricted funding http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 9 of California’s students. As the percentage of disadvantaged students grows, the revenue limit funding per pupil stays constant at the mean level of funding for each type of district; any variation is explained by district type and size. FIGURE 2 Per pupil funding by student disadvantage, 2009 –10 SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary, Economic Impact Aid Funding Results, and CBEDS enrollment, CDE. NOTES : Size of circle corresponds to the number of students in the district. Base revenue limit reflects 18.355% reduction in 2009–10. Includes 944 of 961 districts. Reasons for exclusion include missing enrollment counts (7 districts) or Title I counts larger than enrollment (5 districts). SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary, Funding Results (various programs), and CBEDS enrollment, CDE; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction. NOTES: Includes 918 of 961 districts. Reasons for exclusion include missing enrollment counts. Title I counts larger than enrollment, and categorical funding greater than $5,000 per ADA (33 districts). Districts with more than $5,000 per ADA in total categorical funding are predominantly elementary districts with fewer than 101 ADA. Excludes child care, facilities, mandates , school nutrition, and special education funding. 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 7,000 7,500 8,000 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvantaged (Title I) students Revenue limit funds per student Elementary High school Unified 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvataged (Title I) students Categorical funds per student Elementary High school Unified http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 10 Figure 2b shows that cat egorical funds are not equally distributed across school districts; districts with many disadvantaged students tend to receive more categorical revenue per pupil than those with few or no disadvantaged students , but there are wide variations in funding even among schools with similar shares of disadvantaged students. For example, in districts that have between 10 and 20 percent Title I students, the amount of categorical funding per pupil clearly varies: most districts receive between $500 and $1,500 per pu pil. Within that range are districts of all types, with funding at both ends of the spectrum. However, like revenue limits, districts with much higher than average funding within a band of poverty tend to be very small. In addition, categorical funds do not vary across districts of different types , in sharp contrast to the revenue limit funding of 2a , where the level of funding on the vertical axis is clear and discrete for each district type. This relationship between categorical funding and student disa dvantage results from the unique history and politics of categorical programs in California. Background The 1917 federal Smith -Hughes Vocational Act created one of the first categorical programs , with many more created in the 1960s and 1970s as a response to the additional costs faced by school districts to educate students disadvantaged in some way. 2 The state provided additional funds , whose use was restricted to these additional services and programs , to improve educational outcomes. These complemented changes at the federal level that recognized new rights and offered federal funding for these special needs students. 3 Other categorical programs addressed the additional costs facing small and geographically isolated school districts that lack ed economies of scale. 4 Many of those early categorical programs were designed to improve the outcomes of at -risk students— special education, disadvantaged, and English learner students. Following the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983, 5 attention shifted toward the academic improvement of all students and the state’s approach to categoricals shifted as well : funding was supplied to districts that voluntarily met certain criteria and thus the funding became an incentive that districts sought. In general, the criteria targeted education reforms such as longer school days and school years, higher teacher salaries, and smaller class sizes. 6 This shift toward incentives occurred because incentives were generally viewed as more effective and less costly than mandates for such things as pupil health screenings and criminal background checks for staff, in which the state reimbursed districts for the costs of meeting state requirements (Picus 1991, LAO 2002). 7 At present, t he largest incentive prog ram is K –3 class size reduction (K –3 CSR), in which districts received $1,071 per K –3 student in 200 9– 20 10 as long as class sizes did not exceed an average of 20.44 students. 8 2 California’s history of categorical revenues is simplified for this report. See Kirst, Goertz, and Odden (2007), LAO (1993b), Little Hoover Commission (1997), Mockler (1987), Picus (1991), and Timar (1994) for more comprehensive and detailed descriptions. 3 Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 . 4 SB 813 (Chapter 498, Statutes of 1983) revised the Necessary Small School formula and provided additional funds to small scho ol districts for bus replacement, for example. 5 A report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education that summarized the literature on American academic achievement relative to the rest of the world. It concluded that the United States was failing to produce a competitive workforce and offered some recomm endations to reform education. The report is archived at http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk/index.html . 6 The first major package of incentives -based categoricals was SB 813 (Chapter 498, Statutes of 1983) whi ch responded to A Nation At Risk, and proposed lengthening the school day and year, adopting more rigorous achievement standards, and strengthening teaching. S ee LAO (1984). 7 The LAO estimates that the state owes districts $3.4 billion in backlogged mandate claims (LAO 2010d, 2011b). 8 The 2009 Budget Act relaxed penalties so that districts could increase class sizes up to 25 students and retain 80 percent of K –3 CSR funds for 20 students. Districts with class sizes between 25 students and the statutory ma ximum size of 32 students (grades 1–3; maximum is 33 in kindergarten) retain 70 percent of K –3 CSR funds for 20 students. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 11 Politics has also affected decisions about categorical programs. Many local lab or agreements require that districts provide salary increases when general purpose (revenue limits) funding increases. 9 Timar (1994) and Kirst (2007) contend that because categorical revenues cannot fund salary increases, Governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson and legislators in the 1980s and 1990s viewed them as a way to keep money off the bargaining table ; general purpose funding increases automatically trigger salary increases or salary renegotiations in many districts’ employment contracts. Timar (1994, 2002) also point s to examples of categorical programs or revenues as political leverage in budget negotiations. 10 Further, the creation of categorical programs can give legislators a way to demonstrate a tangible increase in K –12 fu nding or respond to constituents’ needs. This has resulted in the creation of many narrowly focused categorical programs such as those for textbooks, professional development and school safety, as well as auxiliary services s uch as foster youth programs and oral health assess ments. The overall result has been a proliferation of categoricals, at least 60, as noted above. However, most funding goes to only a few programs; almost 90 percent of all categorical funding is allocated through 15 programs , whereas more than 30 programs each provide less than $50 million statewide (about 0.1 percent of Proposition 98 funding ) ( Figure 3 ). T he share of state aid spent on categorical programs compared to revenue limits has grown quite dramatically ; Timar (2006) calculates that the categoric al share of state funding increased 165 percent between 1980 and 2000, compared to an inflation -adjusted 8 percent decline in revenue limit s funding . FIGURE 3 Share of categorical revenues, by program, 2010– 11 SOURCE S: Legislative Analyst’s Office (2011) and California State Controller’s Office. NOTE: Lottery funding is 2009–10 total. 9 LAO (1997 and 2008). 10 See Timar (1994) p. 146 and (2002) p. 58, for example. Special education25% Economic impact aid8% K–3 class size reduction8% Targeted instructional improvement block grant7%State lottery7% Adult education5% After school education and safety4% Pupil transportation4% Quality education investment act3% Regional occupational centers and programs3% School and library improvement3% Supplemental instruction3% Instructional materials3% Deferred maintenance2% Professional development block grant2% All other (43 programs)13% http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 12 This program proliferation has led to increased concern about their usefulness—although t here are many legitimate reasons for restricting some kinds of funding. First, approximately 40 percent of the state’s g eneral f und goes to K –12 education , so it is rational that the state would want to exert some control over those revenues. 11 B ecause of its large investment in K –12 education, the state also has a fundamental interest in the achievement of its students and may prioritize specific types of spending to improve student outcomes. Categorical programs ensure that districts pursue those state priorities. Second, categorica l programs can correct adverse incentives. A commonly cit ed example is special education. Districts typically face higher -than- average costs per student to provide supplemental services and programs f or students with learning or other disabilities . Without additional , dedicated revenues the result co uld be fewer services and programs than needed. To correct this, categorical special education revenues offset some of those higher costs and may only be spent on special education students . Notwithstanding these benefits, there have been several attempts over the last 30 years to provide more flexibility over categorical revenues or to reduce the number of categorical programs. These efforts are described in detail in Technical Appendix A; three main concerns motivated thes e efforts, concerns echoed by district superintendents, the LAO, and researchers now . First, not every program will work in every district in a state as large and diverse as California . Categorical restrictions prohibit local administrators from shifting funds to meet local needs , thus fragmenting services ( LAO 1999b). As Kirst (2007) explains, some districts may have surpluses in lower -priority categorical accounts while running lean in basic district operatio nal accounts . Second, some categorical programs can themselves create fiscal disincentives. For example, Economic Impact Aid funds additional services and materials for economically disadvantaged students and for English learners. Funding is allocated based on the numbe r of these students in a district. Districts that are successful with English learners lose these funds when these students become proficient in English—potentially providing a fiscal incentive to reduce the pace of English proficiency or to reclassify English learners as English proficien t. A third major concern driving earlier reform efforts was and is the administrative burden of categorical programs. As long ago as 1997, the Little Hoover Commission found that the categorical administrative burden coul d redirect district staff time away from instruction. Each program has its own application procedures, compliance restrictions, and paperwork requirements. Although the state has attempted to streamline some of this burden through efforts such as the Consolidated Application, districts must still maintain approved, detailed school site and district plans . 12 The se issues have been the focus of a large body of research. 13 Some c ritics propose consolidating categoricals into large thematic revenue streams w ith the goal of a simpler, more streamlined, and more flexible allocation of categorical revenues. 14 As a candidate, Governor Jerry Brown (2010) proposed a similar restructuring. In 2009, c ategorical regulations received new attention in th at year’s budget negotiation . L arge cuts to schools were proposed to help balance the state budget . To give local administrators more flexibility to absorb these 11 See the DOF website for historical distributions of general fund revenues across state programs: www.dof.ca.gov/budgeting/budget_faqs/information/documents/CHART -C.pdf . 12 See www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/co/ for more information on the Consolidated Application and www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/le/ for information about related requi red accountability plans. 13 Bersin, Kirst, and Liu (2008); Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence (2007); Kirst, Goertz, and Odden (2007); LAO ( 1993b, 2004 b, 2006, 2008); Loeb, Bryk, and Hanushek (2007); Mockler (1987), Picus (1991), Timar (1994, 20 06) 14 For examples, see Bersin, Kirst, and Liu (2008), Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence (2007), and LAO (2008). http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 13 large revenue cuts, the legislature granted spending flexibility to approximately 40 programs comprising 30 pe rcent of all categorical revenues in 2009– 10. 15 The programs included in this measure were given the collective name of the flex item . In creating the flex item, the legislature suspended all restrictions on the use of funding, reclassifying these categorical programs as general purpose programs through 2012– 13, and later to 2014– 15. These actions were not driven by a specific educational reform effort, but by the need to help local districts absorb large budget cuts . Nonetheless, the creation of t he flex item—and its long sunset date—now offer the legislature the opportunity to reevaluate California’s school finance system. T he legislature could in 2015 revert to the categorical system that existed previously , or it could use the flex item as a cas e study of categorical deregulation and reconsider the categorical system , perhaps add ing additional , and permanent, flexibility . This report focuses on the latter option as the best one for the state’s education system. 15 The LAO (2011) found that the flex item had increased to 40 perce nt of categorical funds in 2010–11. Their calculation excluded ch ild care and lottery funding. Additionally, funding for K –3 CSR decreased by approximately 50 percent between 2009– 10 and 2010–11 as districts increased class sizes. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 14 The Flex Item The legislature, under pressure from a sagging economy that had reduced revenues, approved the creation of the new categorical flexibility items in February 2009. The overarching theme was that in exchange for large cuts (almost 20 percent from 2007 –08 lev els), local districts would be given substantial flexibility . Legislative committees heard alternative budget cut and flexibility proposals from the LAO, but largely settled on the provisions in Governor Schwarzenegger’s original budget proposal . The stat e’s categorical programs were divided into three levels:  Tier I programs remained intact: there were no 2008–09 midyear or 2009 –10 reductions to their allocat ion, no programmatic changes , and no flexibility granted . 16  Tier II programs received funding reductions but the requirements of the programs remained unchanged.  Tier III progra m allocations were reduced and the programs became fl exible, allowing districts to make programmatic changes . This represented 40 categorical programs representing about 30 percent of all categorical funds . 17 Districts would be allowed to spend Tier III funds on any educational purpose as long as the school board publicly discussed those purposes at a regularly scheduled board meeting. 18 Although the underlying statutes for pro grams affected by the flexibility provision remain ed in place, districts using it would be considered to be compliant with all state categorical program requirements even if they no longer operated a particular program. F lex item programs vary in their purpose, scope, and beneficiar ies (Table 1). The majority fund support services and programs for K –12 students or their teachers at school s. Non -local education agencies such as the Center for Civic Education —a nonprofit that provides civic education material s to participating districts —and American Indian Education Centers , operated by tribal governments —also receive categorical funds. Other programs support statewide administrative activities operated from county offices of education, such as education technology or non-K– 12 programs such as adult education. 16 Although K –3 Class Size Reduction (K– 3 CSR) is considered Tier I, the penalty structure was temporarily changed. Prior to the 2009 Budget Act, districts lost all K –3 CSR funds if they exceeded average class sizes of 20.44 ADA. The exact calculation of K –3 funding for class sizes exceeding 20.44 students is compl ex, but through June 30, 2014, districts are eligible for 70 percent of K– 3 CSR funds even if class sizes exceed 25 students. Smaller class sizes that are nevertheless over the former maximum incur smaller penalties. 17 SBX3 4 (Chapter 12, Statutes of 2009) . See www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fr/eb/yr09budgetacts.asp or Education Code 42605 for more information. The exact number of programs is subject to some debate. Expenditure flexibility was granted to 38 items in the 2009 Budget Act. Many items have several schedules, each of which is sometimes considered a separate program. All categorical programs in the flex item were cut by 15 percent, or $944 million, in 2008 -2009, and reduced by another 4.9 percen t, or $267 million, in 2009-2010. See T echnical Appendix B. 18 As stated in an April 17, 2009 letter from CDE to school districts, “[t]here is some ambiguity in SBX3 4 with regard to the p ublic hearing requirement.” See SBX3 4 for statutory language and http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/ac/co/documents/sbx34budgetflex.doc CDE interpretation and district guidance. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 15 TABLE 1 Categorical programs classified by tier and function Program 2009–10 funding level (thousands) Program 2009–10 funding level (thousands) Tier III: Administrative Education technology 14,074 Williams monitoring 8,016 Tier III : Adult Adult education 634,752 Community- based English tutoring 40,079 Tier III: General Arts and music block grant 87,979 Instructional materials block grant 333,729 Charter school categorical block grant 186,326 Oral health assessments 3,527 Deferred maintenance 250,806 School safety block grant 79,942 Grades 7– 12 counseling 167,076 School and library improvement block grant 370,044 Grade 9 class size reduction 78,944 Tier III: Specialized Advanced placement test fee reimbursement 1,425 Gifted and talented education (GATE) 44,231 American Indian early childhood education 531 International baccalaureate 1,017 American Indian education centers 3,639 Pupil retention block grant 76,684 California Association of Student Councils 26 Regional occupational centers and programs (ROCP) 384,676 CAHSEE intensive services 58,317 School safety competitive grant 14,350 CalSAFE 46,425 Specialized secondary programs 4,893 Center for Civic Education 200 Supplemental instruction programs 336,285 Community day school additional funding 41,681 Targeted instructional improvement block grant (TIIBG) 855,230 Tier III: Teacher and Professional Development Administrator training 3,928 Peer assistance and review 23,926 Alternative certification 26,188 PE teacher incentives 33,516 Bilingual teacher training 1,708 Professional development block grant 218,406 Certificated staff mentoring 8,583 Reader services for legally blind teachers 321 Math and reading professional development 45,472 Teacher credentialing block grant 106,164 National board certification incentives 2,405 Teacher dismissal 38 Tier II Adults in correctional facilities 14,966 FCMAT 9,168 Agricultural vocational inc entives 4,135 Foster Youth 15,097 Apprenticeship 15,693 K–12 internet access 8,340 California partnership academies 18,829 Student assessments 69,108 Charter school facility grants 45,466 Year-round schools 46,558 English learner assistance programs 50,558 Tier I After school education and safety (Prop 49) 546,941 K–3 class size reduction 1,824,589 Child nutrition 134,044 Pupil transportation 618,714 Child care 1,928,645 Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) 450,000 Economic Impact Aid 945,779 Special education 3,121,060 SOURCES: SBX3 4 (Chapter 12, Statutes of 2009) , LAO (2010) , CDE 2009 –2010 funding profiles and results . NOTE S: Classification of programs is subjective, particularly over “general programs” and “specialized programs.” Programs that supp ort non-districts, a small group of districts, or a specific group of students were generally deemed “specialized.” See Weston, Son stelie, and Rose (2009) for a description of each categorical program, its 2005 –2006 and 2007–2008 appropriation, and mean per pupil funding by district characteristics such as type and size, proportion of students eligible for free and reduced price meals , proportion of English learners, and population density. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 16 According to most observers, no clear rationale was applied to determining if a program should become flexible or not —the mix of programs included in the flex item was determined by budgetary expedi ency and politics rather than by a systematic review of categorical programs or recommendations from research on categorical programs. 19 Thus, s imilar programs were treated differently and were placed in different tiers. For example, the largest career- technical education (CTE) program , regional occupational centers and programs (ROCP) , was moved to Tier III, w hile two smaller CTE programs, apprenticeship and agricultural vocational incentives, were not . For each flex item program, a district’s funding level is determined by its proport ion of statewide funds in a base year. If a district received 5 percent of statewide funding for a program in the base year, it will continue to receive 5 percent of the funding appropriated in each year through 2014–15. For most program s, the base year is 2008 –09. For programs where funding is determined by student attendance , such as adult education and supplemental instruction , the base year is 2007–08. Except for new schools not in existence in the base year (primarily charter schools), districts without funding in a particular program in the base year are ineligible for f unding in that program through 2014– 15. 20 19 Some cases, such as the After School Education and Safety (ASES) program, ar e obvious: ASES was created by 2002’s Proposition 49 and any changes would require voter approval. 20 Some funding is set aside for new schools that are ineligible for the flex item because they were not in existence in the bas e year. See Education Code 42606 and www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/ca/nscategfund.asp . Other ongoing flexibility provisions The 2009 budget enacted other, non -categorical flexibility provisions. Most sunset June 30, 2015 , except where noted: Education mandates: Suspends six education mandates relating to supplemental instruction for retained students, pupil residency verificati on, chemical removal, scoliosis screening, and school bus safety instruction through 2012 –13 . Instructional materials: Delays purchasing requirements for instructional materials. K–3 C SR: Reduces the penalty for class sizes exceeding 20 students in grades K –3 through 2013 –14. Length of school year: Allows districts to reduce the school year to 175 days without loss of incentive funding. Maintenance: Reduces the required contributions i nto routine maintenance accounts from 3 percent to 1 percent of general fund expenditures. Eliminates the local match requirement for the deferred maintenance program. Reserves: Reduces districts’ required reserve for economic uncertainties through 2012 –1 3. Sale of surplus property: Proceeds from the sale of surplus property originally purchased through local funds may be spent on any one -time general purpose until January 1, 2014. SOURCE: Chapters 2, 12, Statutes of 2009; Chapter 724, Statutes of 2010, C hapter 7, Statutes of 2011 http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 17 The mix of programs included in the flex item and each program’s prior allocation formula largely determine the distribution of flex item funds across California’s school districts. Distribution of Flex Item Funds Flex item funds per student vary a cross districts. The statewide average is $ 719 per pupil , but this differs according to district type : high school districts receive more than twice as much per pupil ($ 879 ) on average t han do elem entary districts ( $ 418 ). But there is also significant variation among distri cts of the same type and size , as illustrated in Figure 4. The interquartile range, a measure of variation ( the difference between the 75th percentile and the 25 th percentile of funding represented by rectangles in the figure) is $448 per pupil statewide. The interquartile range is particularly large for small elementary ($678 per pupil) and large unified districts ($537 per pup il). Large elementary districts have the lowest level of flex item fund ing and the least variation. FIGURE 4 Flex item funds per ADA by district type and size, 2009– 10 SOURCES: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: Districts with flex item funds per pupil abov e the 90 th percentile or below the 10th percentile (outliers) are not shown: the minimum flex item fund ing per student is $178 and the maximum $12,150. The bottom half of a rectangle represents the difference between the median funding level and the 25 th percentile of funding. The upper half represents the difference between the 75th percentile of funding and the median funding level. The endpoints of the vertical bars represent the 10th and 90th percentile of flex item funds per ADA. Percentiles are weig hted by the number of students in a district . Within each group, students are assigned the flex item of their district and ranked according to this rate. The 75 th percentile is the flex item of the student in the 75th percentile of this ranking. The mean f lex item funding for each district type is represented by the horizontal lines. 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1,000 1,100 1,200 1,300 1,400 1,500 1,600 1,700 1,800 1,900 2,000Small elementary Medium elementary Large elementary Small high school Medium high school Large high school Small unified Medium unified Large unified 90th percentile 75th percentile Type average Median 25th percentile 10th percentile http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 18 These differences in flex item funds per pupil are not surprising : they are based on the funds the district received in each of the categ orical programs prior to the flexibi lity provisions , which were not equally distributed because m any categorical programs did not fund all districts uniformly . The most notable example is the T argeted Instructional Improvement Block Grant (TIIBG) . TIIBG was part of a 2004 categorical consolidation and merged two programs: targeted instructional improvement that provided funds for desegregation and supplemental grants designed to equalize categorical funds. Districts with prior desegregation court orders and programs received much more funding than districts with categorical equalization fundin g. Following the 2004 block grant consolidation , a district’s TIIBG funding was based on its proportional share of fundi ng prior to the consolidation. Today , approximately 82 percent of TIIBG funds are apportioned to 67 districts based on the prior desegregation programs ; 516 districts r eceive the remaining 18 percent , explaining the large differences in per pupil TIIBG funding reported in Table 2 . 21 In addition, f lex item funds vary because some districts were ineligible for the previous categorical programs. E lementary districts, which do not serve high school students, are ineligible for Grade 9 class size reduction, ROCP, and adult education funds (Table 2) . Th ese three revenue sources account for more than 80 percent of the average $ 461 per pupil difference between elementary and high school per pupil funds. 22 The mix of programs included in the flex item largely dictates the degree of variation of funds across districts of different ty pes. TABLE 2 Flex item funds per ADA by selected categorical program s, 2009–2010 Program Elementary districts with funding (N) Mean funding ($/ADA) High school d istricts with funding (N) Mean funding ($/ADA) Unified districts with funding (N) Mean funding ($/ADA) Adult education 0 0 71 238 243 140 American Indian e arly childhood education 2 207 0 0 6 24 Grade 9 c lass size reduction 0 0 64 58 182 21 Regional occupation centers and p rograms 0 0 29 210 93 92 School safety competitive grant 5 71 3 20 13 7 Targeted instructional improvement block grant 281 76 52 61 207 229 All other flex item programs 544 358 83 450 334 401 Flex it em 544 418 83 879 334 781 SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), C DE; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTE: Means are student -weighted. Columns show the mean funding per student in the program (for districts r eceiving the program ). The flex item row shows the mean funding for all d istricts by type. 21 Proportions and district counts are approximate and based on 2004 funding results for targeted instructional improvement and supplemental grant s provided by CDE. 22 The mean flex item funding per pupil is $879 for high school districts and $418 for elementary districts. Once ROCP, adult ed ucation, and ninth- grade class size reduction funds are removed, the average for high schools is $503, a decl ine of $377 per pupil. The average difference in flex item funds per pupil between the two district types drops to $85. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 19 The mix of programs included in the flex item also affects the relationship between flex item funds per pupil and student disadvantage. Although Economic Impact Aid, the categorical program whose funding is based on a count of disadvant aged pupils, is excluded from the flex item, districts with higher percentages of Title I students nevertheless tend to receive more flex item funds per pupil (Figure 5 ). This relationship between flex item funds and student disadvantage is not as strong a s the relationship depicted in Figure 2 for all categorical programs. T echnical Appendix C lists each flex item program and its correlation with student disadvantage. FIGURE 5 Flex item funds per pupil by percent Title I students SOURCES: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary, 2009 Economic Impact Aid calculation results, 2009 Funding Results (various programs), 2009 CBEDS enrollment, CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction. NOTE: Includes 848 of 961 districts. Reasons for exclusion include missing enrollment counts. Title I counts larger than enrollment, districts with fewer than 101 ADA (113 districts) , and districts with categorical funding greater than $15,000 per ADA (30 districts). Districts wit h more than $5,000 per ADA in total categorical funding are predominantly elementary districts with fewer than 101 ADA. 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvantaged (Title I) students Elementary High school Unified http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 20 Improv ing or Extend ing California’s Categorical Flexibility Previous PPIC reports have focused on ways to improve California’s overly complex and inequitable school finance system and have evaluated school finance reform proposals that would consolidate almost all categorical programs into a few flexible block grants . In Pathways for School Finance Reform in California (2010) , we offered five principles to guide a n improved school finance system. These same principles could guide any discussions about categorical flexibility within a reform context:  Meet resource needs . Schools should have t he resources necessary for their students to meet state academic standards, and the cost of those resources may vary from school to school for a variety of reasons.  Structure incentives properly . The formulas allocating revenue to schools should not give s chools incentives to deviate from actions that are in the best interest of students and taxpayers.  Allocate funds transparently . The formulas for allocating revenue to schools should be clear and relatively simple.  Treat s imilar districts equitably . When the state has chosen the factors that determine the revenue a school district receives, school districts with the same values for those factors should receive the same revenue.  Balanc e s tate and local authority. Restrictions on the use of funds must proper ly balance the state objectives with the realities that schools differ widely across the state and that school administrators have unique knowledge about local conditions. In its current form, t he flex item addresses the last principle , but because it was created as a general budget solution, it did not address other underlying weaknesses of education funding and so does not address the other principles. We recommend three ways of improving the flex item as it currently exists.  Consolidating flexible programs into one funding stream and setting per pupil funding rates would produce a more equitable and transparent flex item .  Applying clear criteria to determine whether a program is flexible would make the flex item more transparent and could allow the state to focus categorical resources on cost differences across districts.  Reinst ating some restrictions on flexible funds could help avoid ad verse incentives while still balancing state and l ocal authority. Recommendation One: Consolidate Fund ing and Set Per Pupil Funding Rates One benefit of categorical consolidation is a lower CDE administrative burden , which could be achieved by consolidating flexible program funds into a single revenue s tream and amending the relevant code sections. 23 Additionally, t he LAO (201 0c) estima ted that the state could save $5.2 million by eliminating 70 staff positions at CDE needed to monitor and administer flex item programs. 24 23 Little Hoover Commission (1997); LAO (1993b) . 24 According to a California Watch article (9/1/10), former State Superintendent of Publi c Instruction Jack O’Connell disputed the LAO estimate in a letter to the budget conference committee. See http://californiawatch.org/watchblog/whitman -overstates-excess-jobs -california -department - education -4231. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 21 In addition, we recommend the state set per pupil funding rates. Currently , if a district received 5 percent of all international baccalaureate funds available in 2008–09, it will continue to receive 5 percent of all future such appropriations through 2014 –15. The state has used this approach in previous categorical reforms, most notably in the 20 04 block grant consolidations, but this proportional method poses several challenges a nd should be reconsidered. The first challenge is equity. One way to address this is to create a per pupil funding rate calculated by dividing each district’s total flex item funds by a pupil count, and then equalizing those funding rates over time. If the flex item continues and the funds within it retain their general purpose designation, then there is no longer a compelling r ationale for differences in per p upil funding across districts— districts are no longer required to provide these services and the main requirement of Serrano is the equalization of general purpose revenues . As Figure 2 showed , base revenue limits are relatively equally distributed, particularly within each district type. And a s the previous section showed , there is currently considerable variation in flex item funds per pupil ; the difference between the 75 th and 25th percentile of funding statewide is almost $450 per student . A per pupil funding rate is more equitable than proportional funding because it can better account for changes in student enrollment. Under the current proportional -allocation method, if the total appropriation remains constant, districts with declining enrollment s receive more funds per pupil over time while districts with gro wing enrollment s receive less. Since many of the flex item programs we re based on some pupil count, it is both logical an d equitable to apportion funds in proportion to the number of students in a district. Additionally, the main source of general purpose funds —revenue limits—is allocated on a per pupil rate. Current flex item provisions also restrict funding to schools and districts that rece ived funding in the base year. Since flex item funds no longer support prior programs and are instead designated general purpose funds, it is no longer rational to prevent or exclude any schools or districts from receiving this funding . Equalizing funding rates addresses this inequality. Significant efforts have already been made to equalize schools’ main source of general purpose funds, revenue limits. Revenue limits were created in 1973 by calculating each district’s per pu pil expenditures in 1972 –73. Through various equalization policies, differences in base rates among districts of the same type have diminished and in 2009– 10, the statewide interquartile range in base revenue limit s was $22 per pupil (Table 3). The large varia tion in flex item funds, even among dist ricts of the same type, produces in turn large variation in total general purpose funds per pupil (revenue limits and flex item funds). The statewide interquartile range increases from $22 per pupil in base revenue l imits to $696 per pupil in total general purpose revenues. Without attention to this issue, this inequality will continue until the flex item sunsets and may possibly persist in any future categorical consolidations . TABLE 3 General purpose funds per ADA by district type, 2009–10 District type Number of districts Mean base revenue limit ($/ADA) Interquartile r ange ($/ADA) Mean flex item ($/ADA) Interquartile range ($/ADA) Mean total general purpose ($/ADA) Interquartile range ($/ADA) Elementary 544 5,008 21 418 120 5,426 117 High school 83 6,017 30 879 434 6,896 462 Unified 334 5,239 11 781 440 6,020 533 All districts 961 5,270 22 719 447 5,989 696 SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTE: All means are student -weighted. Base revenue limit shown is reduced by the 2009–10 18.355% deficit factor The interquartile range is the difference between the funding level of the st udent at the 75 th percentile and the 25th percentile. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 22 However, g iven the slow speed of the economic recovery, additional funds that would be required for equalization are unlikely to appear in the near future . 25 The legislature could look to past equalizati on policies for w ays to equalize rates over time, primarily by providing occasional one -time aid designed to increase the rates of districts at the low end of the distribution . This could become an ongoing increase as the new rates are applied in subsequen t years. 26 Alternatively, flex item equalization could occur slowly over time using expected increases in K –12 funding , similar to the LAO’s 1997 and 2009 proposal s. We simulate d this type of equalization in Rose, Sonstelie , and Weston (2010) and found that demographic and economic trends could result in a 30 percent increase in real per pupil spending by 2030. If 30 percent of that expected increase (9 percent over current levels) w as used each year to slowly equalize flex item funds per pupil, all dist ricts would receive $1,540 per pupil in 2030 a nd the flex item would be fully equalized. 27 Recommendation Two: Apply Clear Criteria for Flexibility and Consider Alternative Configurations As Table 1 showed , the flex item encompasses much , from state administrative activities to specialized pro grams for struggling students. However, there are many similar categorical programs excluded from the flex item: funds to reduce ninth grade class sizes are included, for example, but K–3 class size reduct ion is excluded. In its current form, the flex item lacks clear criteria for which programs are included and excluded. Correcting this would make the flex item more transparent , and if the state transitions from the flex item to some continued form of cate gorical flexibility, such clear criteria could help guide that process. If the flex item remains a source of general purpose funds and is allocated to districts on an equal per pupil basis, then any programs that remain flexible should be equally distribut ed across all schools to support general instruction. Currently, the flex item includes programs that target special costs or needs, such as a dult e ducation. Responsibility for adult education rests with school districts in some parts of the state while in others community college districts are responsible. In school districts responsible for adult education, the program imposes extra costs and the state provides funding to offset these costs. Under the new flexibility provisions, school districts with adul t education funds have a new source of unrestricted revenue not enjoyed by other districts yet no longer have to provide adult education . Additionally, the legislature may want to reconsider whether regional programs should be granted flexibility . T he flex item currently includes ROCPs and the te acher credentialing block grant (TCBG). These two programs support consortia of school districts , county offices of education, and charter schools, but funding flows only to a small group of administrative districts and county offices of education. These administrative units now have a new source of general purpose funds but without a requirement to actually provide the regional service. Regional funds also include programs that support administrative activities and programs operated by nonprofits or non -local education agencies. These two criteria , removing targeted and regional programs, would likely result in a much smaller flex item, both in funding and number of programs. 25 Additional revenues would be necessary if the state held districts harmless, meaning that no district would receive less flex item funds per pupil than it does today. This approach requires that funding rates be leveled up, instead of redistributing fundi ng from high flex item districts to districts with lower flex item rates. It is very unlikely that districts would not be held harmless in any equalization policy. 26 See Weston (2010) for a description of revenue limit equalization policies and Rose, Sonst elie, and Weston (2010) for special education and Economic Impact Aid equalization policies. 27 See Rose, Sonstelie, and Weston (2010), pp. 30 -31. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 23 However, there are programs currently excluded from the flex item that would meet the criteria and could reasonably be added. One is K–3 CSR , which support s general instruction with a goal of improving student achievement. The state has temporarily relaxed the penalties on districts that exceed the maximum class sizes of 20 students, in effect making the program, or at least the 70 percent of funds districts receive, flexible—even for class es as large as 32 students. Table 4 shows alternate configurations, some advocated by various groups since the flex item’s inception, and the results of these proposals, and based on the two criteria offered above. The first column shows the current distribution of flex item funds . The next column series show s the distrib ution of the flex item if additional programs , proposed by the LAO (2010) are a dded to it, and the following series the distribution of the flex item if some current flex item programs are removed. The first number in each cell is the new mean funding leve l for a particular district type and size category. The second number , in parenthese s, is the interquartile range, the difference between the 75 th percentile of funding and the 25th percentile of funding —a measure of variation . The effects of the three additional LAO items are represented in the cells of the first three columns of the table; the fourth column represents the cumulative effect. The result is a more equal distribution of flex item funds across districts. In the current flex item, high school districts have much larger flex item funds per pupil than elementary districts. The inclusion of these three programs would raise flex item fund ing per pupil in all districts, but most significantly in elementary districts. However, within district types, there would be more variation in flex item funds per pupil, as shown in the larger interquartile ranges. For the state as a whole, this variation would be less pronounced because the statewide interquartile range would increase by less than $30 per pupil. The next column series represents results from programs being removed from the flex item. 28 The first two columns remove r egional programs and special costs and are derived from the criteria described earlier . The next column represents the state assembly’s 2010 budget proposal that r emov es CalSAFE, a program that support s pregnant minors, and supplemental instruction for students who have failed the California high scho ol exit exam (CAHSE E). 29 Finally, the LAO in 1997 recommended removing the Deferred Maintenance program (DMP) from a n older categorical flexibility policy that allowed some funding transfers . 30 28 These alternative s are presented not as recommendations but as illustrations of the type of analysis that c an help the state develop a long-range plan. 29 See www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/Conf_Comm/2010/K12_Categorical_Flexibility_061410.pdf . 30 See Technical Appendix A. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 24 TABLE 4 Alternative flex item compositions by district type and size, 2009 –2010 District type and size Current flex item Add K –3 CSR Add HTS Add ASES Add All Subtract ROCP and TCBG Subtract adult Subtract CalSAFE and CAHSEE Subtract DMP Subtract All Add and Subtract All Elementary Small (0 —250 students ) 943 (678) 1,270 (636) 1,243 (962) 973 (696) 1,598 (989) 943 (678) 943 (678) 9 40 (671 ) 625 (320) 621 (320) 1 ,2 76 (5 73) Medium (251—1,500) 520 (198) 894 (198) 692 (334) 570 (281) 1,117 (372) 513 (198) 520 (198) 520 (198) 441 (161) 435 (161) 1,032 (322) Large (1,501+) 396 (117) 714 (157) 450 (137) 474 (209) 847 (244) 389 (111) 396 (117) 396 (117) 358 (110) 351 (105) 802 (245) All elementary 418 (120) 742 (150) 489 (160) 493 (222) 888 (269) 411 (112) 418 (120) 418 (120) 371 (113) 364 (113) 834 (272) High school Small (0 —1,500) 928 (366) 928 (366) 1,114 (404) 928 (366) 1,114 (404) 844 (401) 847 (244) 890 (342 ) 770 (389) 567 (201) 753 (3 29) Medium (1,501—6,000) 912 (332) 912 (332) 990 (403) 912 (332) 990 (403) 827 (326) 634 (216) 867 (307) 857 (326) 458 (140) 536 (228) Large (6,001+) 871 (434) 871 (435) 917 (475) 873 (434) 918 (475) 758 (303) 642 (234) 828 (430) 831 (432) 446 (121) 493 (140) All high school 879 (434) 879 (434) 935 (467) 880 (434) 936 (467) 772 (328) 648 (256) 836 (427) 834 (432) 452 (125) 509 (143) Unified Small (0 —3,000) 642 (222) 860 (230) 870 (392) 676 (270) 1,122 (407) 619 (203) 604 (234) 633 (2 24) 564 (190) 495 (141 ) 976 (285 ) Medium (3,001—10,000) 573 (239) 788 (242) 655 (272) 622 (286) 920 (292) 525 (179) 483 (156) 559 (231) 533 (239) 382 (99) 729 (192) Large (10,001+) 825 (537) 1,047 (566) 903 (581) 902 (534) 1,203 (615) 773 (546) 683 (336) 809 (539) 785 (538) 576 (324) 954 (599) All unified 781 (440) 1,002 (486) 866 (477) 852 (513) 1,158 (560) 731 (402) 651 (280) 766 (445) 739 (435) 545 (189) 922 (477) All districts 719 (447) 938 (407) 798 (460) 784 (463) 1,083 (471) 672 (380) 604 (229) 704 (4 33) 676 (443) 500 (1 49) 873 (341) NOTE S: Student -weighted means appear first in each cell. Student -weighted interquartile ranges are in parentheses in each cell. K –3 CSR is grades K–3 class size reduction ; HTS is home -to -school transportation ; ASES is Proposition 49’s After School Education and Safety ; TIIBG is the targeted instruction improvement block grant ; ROCP is regional occupation center or program ; TCBG is the teacher credentialing block grant ; Adul t is adult education ; CalSAFE is California School Age Families Education ; DMP is deferred maintenance. Add All is the cumulative effect of adding K –3 CSR, HTS, and ASES to the flex item. Subtract All is the cumulative effect of removing ROCP, TCBG, Adult, CalSAFE, and DMP from the flex item . Add and Subtract All is the cumulative effect of adding the three programs and removing the six programs from the flex item. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 25 Several general trends emerge from Table 4. First, removing adult education and regional programs would result in a more equal dist ribution of funds by reducing the amount received by high school and unified districts that provide these programs. The same equalized distribution is less apparent when CalSAFE, CAHSEE supplemental instruction, and DMP are removed from the flex item—because the former are relatively small (less than $100 million statewide) and because DMP is already fairly equally distributed across districts. T he cumulative effect of removing these six p rograms is a more equal distribution of funds across districts o f different types ( as is the case where three programs are added to the flex item). The average difference between elementary and high school districts drops to $88 per pupil compared to the current average difference of $461 per pupil. Removing these prog rams would also result in less variation among districts of the same type , and less variation statewide, as demonstrated by the smaller interquartile ranges. Smaller differences across districts and smaller interquartile ranges would lower the cost of equalizing rates. Adding specified programs to the flex item and removing specified programs would each result in more equally distributed funding. However, if these actions are taken together the result is less clear . Such a distribution , shown in the final c olumn of Table 4, is almost the reverse of the distribution of the current flex item: elementary districts have much higher average funding levels than high school districts, and unified districts are somewhere in the middle. There is no clear pattern in t he variation within district type and size categories —in some cases the variation decreases, such as in small elementary districts, and in others it increases, such as in large elementary districts. Consistent with findings in the previous section, the mix of programs made flexible or made less so largely dictates the extent of variation across school districts. Reconfigurations in the C ontext of School Finance Reform As previous sections have demonstrated, categorical reform has been the subject of much debate. Over the last few years, several reform proposals have emerged from multiple sources. 31 Although the specifics differ, they share the idea of replacing the maze of categorical programs with three simpler, consolidated, and flexible programs: a base p rogram providing for the general needs of school districts, a special education program , and a targeted program providing additional funds for supplemental services to English learners, disadv antaged, and at -risk students. The LAO’s 2008 proposal includ es an additional program for instructional improvement. R eform proposals consolidate many of the current flex item programs into a base program. 32 Using clear criteria to categorize individual programs, the legislature could reconfigure the flex item to ali gn with these consolidation proposals. A majority of the current flex item programs would continue to support general purpose activities while the remain der would form a second flexible fund for supplemental programs and services for disadvantaged or at -ri sk students. For example, each of the categorical reform proposals consolidates the pupil retention block grant into a targeted program for disadvantaged and at -risk students. These proposals allow the state to continue to direct spending on disadvantaged students and English learners while providing districts with the flexibility to determine the best way to meet the ir needs . Under the flex item now, pupil retention block grant funds can be spent for any education al purpose. The LAO (2010b) found that tha t more than half of districts shifted funds away from this program in 2009 –10, and that 31 See Bersin, Kirst,, and Liu (2008), Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence (2007), and LAO (2008). 32 In the LAO proposal (2008), these programs are in the instructional improvement program. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 26 almost 70 percent of districts made prog rammatic changes to pupil retention efforts. The following year over 70 percent of districts shifted funds away from this program, and almost 20 percent of districts discontinued it altogether ( LAO 2011). The specific programmatic changes from 2009– 10 are unclear, but the LAO survey found that most districts shifted f unds from enrichment and student support programs , like the pupil retention block grant, to direct classroom instruction. If support for disadvantaged and struggling students is a priority, the state could consider restoring some restrictions on current fl ex item programs designed for these students while still providing flexibility by removing them from the flex item and consolidating the m into a larger targeted program . Table 5 presents the distribution of current flex item funds under such a proposed reconfiguration. Programs that support general education activities or professional development for teachers would remain in a general purpose flex item. Programs currently in the flex item that support specialized programs for disadvantaged or at -risk stu dents would be consolidated into a ta rgeted flex item. The remain ing programs would be grouped into the other flex item category. 33 TABLE 5 Distribution of flex item funds under categorical reform proposals , by district type District type General purpose flex item program funds ($/ADA) Targeted flex item program funds ($/ADA) Other flex item program funds ($/ADA) Mean Interquartile range Mean Interquartile range Mean Interquartile range Elementary 292 54 111 66 15 18 High school 301 91 236 94 343 310 Unified 295 56 299 157 187 288 All districts 295 62 256 141 168 284 SOURCES: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: General purpose includes all general support and teacher and professional development programs from Table 1, except the teacher credentialing block grant (TCBG), a regional program, and programs that do not support school districts or for which data was unavailab le. Targeted includes all specialized programs from Table 1, except regional occupation centers and programs (ROCP), a regional program, and programs that do not support school districts or for which data was unavailable. Other includes adult programs from Table 1, TCBG, and ROCP. Administration programs in Table 1 do not fund school districts. Means and interquartile ranges are student -weighted . The distribution of flex item funds is more equitable under such a system . There would be less variation in gene ral flex item funds per pupil statewide, as represented by the interquartile range of $62 per pupil (Table 5 ). The mean general and targeted flex item funds per student are much closer than the current flex item across and within the different types of dis tricts. For example, the average high school district’s general and targeted flex item funds per pupil are $301 and $236, respectively, compared to $292 and $111 in elementary districts. These differences are much smaller than the average $479 per pupil difference in current flex item funds per pupil between these two district types. The more equal distribution of funds is largely explained by removing funds for adult education and the two regional programs from the flex item, represented by the other flex item fund column. These programs are unevenly distributed now and generally flow to medium and large high school and unified districts. 33 The categorical reform proposals consolidate programs based on the purposes and students served by the categorical programs , a process that can be subjective and differ among the proposals. Flex item programs categories used throughout this paper appear i n Table 1. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 27 Such a configuration would also affect the distribution of funds by student disadvantage (Figure 6 ). Currently, there is a small positive relationship between flex item funds per pupil and the percent of Title I students, as demonstrated in Figure 5 . Many of the flex item programs classified as general purpose are allocated on a statewide per pupil rate to almost all districts, which explains why , in Figure 6a, the general purpose flex item funds per pupil value remains relatively flat as the percent of Title I students increases. On the other hand, targeted flex item funds per pupil appear to increase as the percen t of Title I students increases. There is no clear relationship for the other flex item programs , which may be attributed to the fact that relatively few districts receive these funds . FIGURE 6 Distribution of flex item funds under categorical reform proposal, by student disadvantage SOURCES: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: Includes all general support and teacher and professional development programs from Table 1 except the teacher credentialing block grant (TCBG), a regional program, and programs that do not support school districts or for which data are unavailable. Excludes 49 districts with more than $1,500 per ADA in general purpose flex item programs; these districts are predominantly small elementary districts with fewer than 251 ADA . 0 250 500 750 1,000 1,250 1,500 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvantaged (Title I) students General purpose flex item funds per student Elementary High school Unified http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 28 SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: Includes all specialized programs from Table 1, except regional occupation centers and programs (ROCP), a regional program, and programs that do not support school districts or for which data was unavailable. Excludes six districts with more than $1,500 per ADA in targeted flex item programs; these districts are predominantly small elementary districts with fewer than 2 51 ADA. SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: Includes adult programs from Table 1, TCBG, and ROCP. Administration programs in Table 1 do not fund school districts. Recommendation Three: C onsider Some Restrictions on Flexible Funds Loosening restrictions for some programs is not advocating that there should be no restrictions. If the legislature set per pupil rates that could be equalized over time, one option would be to simply fold some or all flex ible funds into reve nue limit funding, a logical option if the funds support general purposes. However, the state has placed restriction s on flexible funding for many reasons. One has been to ensure that the funds do not sup port general salary increases. As noted earlier, salary increases or salary renegotiations 0 250 500 750 1,000 1,250 1,500 010 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA ) Percent disadvantaged (Title I) students Targeted flex item categorical funds per student Elementary High school Unified 0 250 500 750 1,000 1,250 1,500 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvataged (Title I) students Other flex item categorical funds per student Elementary High school Unified http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 29 in many districts’ employment contracts are triggered when general purpose funding increases. This concern is not solely held at the state le vel. In their survey of 49 school district superintendents, Sonstelie, Rose, and Reinhard (2006) found that superintendents prefer some flexible restricted funds to unrestricted funding because they fear that unrestricted funds would go entirely to unjustified increases in employee compensation. P reventing local administrators from increasing salaries may not be a good state polic y, but funds in the flex item were restricted from such uses prior to the 2009 Budget Act. The legislature could consider turning the flex item into a block grant that would provide comparable flexibil ity while mitigating concerns over collective bargaining . Evaluate Flexibility Moreover, the flex item is not the first time the state has provided additional flexibility over categorical revenues. Five major efforts are described in more detail in Technical Appendix A, but, generally, these previous policies offered little additional flexibility and were deemed unsuccessful in evaluations by the L AO and the s tate auditor . One important takeaway wa s the lack of substantive evaluation in those earlier efforts. Evaluation, if any , consisted of district surveys or analysis of the program’s implementation rather than the effect of flexibility on desired outcomes . Evaluation of the flex item is similarly limited to district surveys because the flexibility legislation changed the procedures for reporting categorical revenues and expenditures. 34 School districts are required to report expenditures of funds using the Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS). Prior to the flexibility provisions, many categorical programs were assigned specific individual revenue and expenditure codes. Following the flexibility provisions, revenue codes for the flexed categorical programs were terminated. This mean t that the state and researchers can no longer track how districts spend specific categorical revenues in any systematic way. It is possible to track general changes in expenditures, but nearly impossible to determine how individ ual program expenditures change, other than by total dollars spent on the program . Reinstating SACS reporting procedures for the duration of the flex item would enable the state to better understand how districts have prioritized funding and individual programs. It would also enable better evaluation of specific programs. For example, if 70 percent of districts report shifting funds away from supplemental instruction programs designed to help students pass the high school exit exam ( LAO 2011), did the exam passage rate in fact change in those districts? 35 If the state extended flexibility to pupil transportation, would districts see a decline in student attendance rates? These types of evaluations — marking a shift from compliance -based to outcomes- based—would better inform state decisions over whether flexibility can be granted to particular categorical programs. Currently, there is little evidence that categorical programs achieve their intended purposes and outcomes. According to the LAO (2011) , “This is in part because programs are so rarely evaluated.” Until the state implements substantive evaluations, it will be difficult to determine whether districts , when given increased local control over revenues , will serve what the state believes are the best interest of students. 34 This is not to denigrate survey data or the surveys; they provide representative information about how districts choose to sp end flexible revenues and how the flexibility affects district decision making. To date, the LAO (2010b, 2011) has r eleased the results from two statewide district surveys on the flex item. A group of researchers affiliated with the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) network plan to release a case study of the flex item’s implementation in 10 districts and results from their own statewide survey. 35 There are two programs aimed at helping students pass the CAHSEE after having failed on the first attempt. A supplemental ins truction (summer school) program, and the CAHSEE intensive services program. The LAO fo und in their 2011 survey that 75 percent of districts shifted funds away from supplemental instruction and 63 percent of districts shifted funds from the CAHSEE supplemental instruction. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 30 Conclusion Under the California Constitution, the responsibility for K– 12 education rests with the state. For most of its history, K –12 education was financed and controlled at the local level, and the state provided limited supplemental aid. Serrano and other court decisions and Proposition 13 shifted the responsibility of funding local schools to the state. The state gradually assumed more control over funding decisions through categorical programs. But the state has long struggled with its categorical funding system. Following m any years of growth in the number of categorical programs reforms were instituted that were designed to incr ease local authority over funds or to reduce the number of categorical programs . 36 Although not explicitly designated as categorical reform, the 2009 flexibility provisions provide unprecedented flexibility over approximately 30 percent of categorical reven ues and 10 percent of all K –12 revenues . However, these provisions are set to expire on June 30, 201 5, giving the state an opportunity to evaluate the flex item and determine whether to continue some form of increased local authority over education revenues. Favorable reactions to categorical flexibility from school districts may make it less likely that t he state will return to the categorical system that existed prior to the flexibility provisions. Districts report positive experiences with the flex item and a majority desire even greater flexibility over programs currently excluded from the flex item ( LAO 2010b , 2011). Despite this, the flexibility provisions in their current form pose many challenges. T he flex item was hastily created as a response to severe education budget cuts. The legislature now has the opportunity to deliberat e and consider any extension of the flex item in the context of broad, structural school finance reform. We recommend three ways to produce categorical flexibility better aligned with reform principles: consolidate funding and set per -pupil funding rates ; create clear criteria to determine whether a program is flexible; and consider making programs flexible through block grants. As the L AO (2011) points out, “E ven if the current flexibility structure were made permanent, the K –12 finance system would still have inherent flaws .” This report and its recommendations attempt to address the current categorical flexibility provisions in light of these flaws and to a id a transition to a more rational, equitable, and transparent , but still flexible, school finance system. 36 Detailed descriptions of five major efforts are included in T echnical Appendix A . http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 31 References Bersin, Alan, Michael W. Kirst, and Goodwin Liu. 2008. Getting beyond the Facts: Reforming California School Finance . Issue Brief. Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity, University of California, Berkeley School of Law . Available at www. law.berkeley.edu/files/GBTFissuebriefFINAL.pdf . Bro wn, Jerry. 2010. “Education Plan.” Available at www.jerrybrown.org/sites/default/files/EducationPlan_0. pdf. California State Auditor. 2003. California Department of Education: The Extensive Number and Breadth of Categorical Programs Challenges the State’s Ability to Reform and Oversee Them . Available at www.bsa.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2003 –107.pdf . Governor’s Co mmittee on Education Excellence. 2007. Students First: Renewing Hope for California’s Future. Technical Report. Available at www.everychildprepared.org/docs/00cover.pdf . Kirst, Michael, Margaret Goertz, and Allan Odden. 2007. “Evolution of California State School Finance with Implications from Other States.” Getting Down to Facts project, Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice, Stanford University. Available at http://irepp.stanford.edu/projects/cafinance -studies.htm. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1976. “Analysis of the 1976 –77 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1976/14_k -12_1976.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1977. “Analysis of the 1977 –78 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1977/09_k -12_1977.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1978. “Analysis of the 1978 –79 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1978/10_k -12_1978.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1979. “Analysis of the 1979 –1980 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Legislative Analyst’s Office. Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1979/09_k -12_1979.pdf. Legisla tive Analyst’s Office. 1980. “Analysis of the 1980 –81 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1980/09_k -12_1980.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1981. “Analysis of the 1981 –82 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1981/10_k -12_1981.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1982. “Analysis of the 1982 –83 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” A vailable at www.lao.ca.gov /analysis/1982/10_k -12_1982.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1983. “Analysis of the 1983 –84 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1983/10_K -12_1983. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1984. “Analysis of the 1984 –85 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.g ov/analysis/1984/10_K -12_1984. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1985. “Analysis of the 1985 –86 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1985/10_k -12_1985.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1986. “A nalysis of the 1986– 87 Budget Bill: K–12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1986/10_k -12_86.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1987. “Analysis o f the 1987–88 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1987/10_k -12_1987.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1988. “Analysis of the 1988 –89 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1988/10_k -12_1988.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1989. “Analysis of the 1989 –90 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1989/10_k -12_1989.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1990. “Analysis of the 1990 –91 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1990/10_k -12_1990.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1991. “Analys is of the 1991 –92 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1991/10_education_1991. pdf. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 32 Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1992. “Analysis of the 1992 –93 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1992/08_education_1992. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1993. “Analysis of the 1993 –94 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1993/06_k -12_1993.pdf. L egislative Analyst’s Office. 1993b. “ Reform of Categorical Education Programs: Principles and Recommendations.” Legislative Analyst’s Office. Available at www.lao.ca.gov . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1993b. “A Special Session Guide to K –12 Reform.” Legislative Analyst’s Office. Availab le at www.lao.ca.gov . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1994. “Analysis of the 1994 –95 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysi s_1994/K-12_Education_anl94. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1995. “Analysis of the 1 995–96 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www. lao.ca.gov/analysis_1995/K -12_Education_anl95.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1996. “Analysis of the 1996 –97 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1996/a96e. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1997. “Analysis of the 1997 –98 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1997/k12_ed_anal97. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1998. “Anal ysis of the 1998 –99 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1998/pdfs_anl98/k12_ed_anl98. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1999. “Analysis of the 1999 –20 00 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1999/education/education_anl99. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2000. “Analysis of the 2000 –20 01 Budget Bill: Educat ion.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2000/education/ed_anl00. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2001. “Analysis of the 2001 –02 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2001/education/ed_anl01. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2002. “Analysis of the 2002 –03 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2002/education/ed_anl02. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2003. “Analysis of the 2003 –04 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analys is_2003/education/ed_anl03. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2004. “Analysis of the 2004 –05 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2004/education/education_anl04.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2004b . “ Reforming K –12 Categorical Programs .” Presented to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1. Available at www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/education/2004/Categorical_Programs_041204. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2005. “Analysis of the 2005 –06 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2005/education/ed_anl05. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2006. “Analysis of the 2006 –07 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www. lao.ca.gov/analysis_2006/education/ed_anl06. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2007. “Analysis of the 2007 –08 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2007/education/ed_anl07. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2008. “Analysis of the 2008 –09 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2008/educati on/ed_anl08.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2009. “2009 –10 Budget Analysis Series: Proposition 98 Education Programs.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2009/education/ed_anl09.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2010b . “Year -One Survey: Update on School District Finance and Flexibility.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2010/edu/educ_survey/ed uc_survey_050410.pdf. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 33 Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2010c. “Overview of the Proposition 98 Budget.” Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Handout, May 27, 2010. Available at www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/education/2010/Overview_of_the_Prop_98_Budget_52710.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office 2010d. “Education Mandates: Overhauling a Bro ken System.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2010/edu/educ_mandates/ed_mandates_020210. pdf. Legislative An alyst’s Office. 2011. “The 2011– 12 Budget Year-Two Survey: Up date on School District Finance in California.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/2011/education/ed_survey_two_020711.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2011b. “Overv iew of Education Mandates.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/education/2011/Overview_of_Education_Mandates_020111. pdf. Lipscomb, Stephen. 2009. “Special Ed ucation Financing in California: A Decade After Reform.” Public Policy Institute of California. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=790 . Little Hoover Commission. 1997. “Dollars and Sense: A Simple Approach to School Finance.” Available at www.lhc.ca.gov/studies/143/report143.pdf . Mockler, John. 1987. Testimony to the Governor’s Commission on Educational Quality. Available at www.cde.ca.gov /nr/re/hd. O’Connell, Jack. 2009. “2009 Budget Act and Related Legislation.” Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and County Chief Business Officers (August 28). Available at www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/2009budgetact.asp . Picus, Lawrence O. 1991. “Incentive Funding Programs and School District Response: California and Senate Bill 813.” Educational E valuation and Policy Analysis 13 (3): 289 –308. Rose, Heather, Jon Sonstelie and Margaret Weston. 2010. “ Pathways for School Finance in California .” Public Policy Institute of California. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=923 . Timar, Thomas B. 1994. “Politics, Policy, and Categorical Aid: New Inequities in California School Finance.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis: 16 (2): 14 3–60. Getting Down to Facts project, Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice, Stanford University. Available at http://irepp.stanford.edu/projects/cafinance -studies.htm . Timar, Thomas B. 2002. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want: School Governance in California .” UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access. Available at www.escholarship.org/uc/item/050609xs . Timar, Thomas B. 2006. “Financing K –12 Education in California. A System Overview.” Weston, Margaret, Jon Sonstelie, and Heather Rose. 2009. “California School Finance Revenue Manual.” Public Policy Institute of California. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=893 . http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 34 About the Author Margaret Weston is a research associate at the Public Policy Institute of Californ ia’s Sacramento Center, where her work focuses on K –12 school finance . Before joining PPIC, she taught high school English and drama in Baltimore City Public Scho ols through Teach For America. She holds a master’s degree in teaching from Johns Hopkins University and a ma ster of public policy degree from the University of Michigan. Acknowledg ments I thank Brian Edwards, Richard Greene, Hans Johnson, Kim R ueben, Heather Rose, Tom Timar, and Lynette Ubois for their valuable comments while reviewing a previous draft. PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA Board of Directors John E. Bryson, Chair Retired Chairman and CEO Edison International Mark Baldassare President and CEO Public Policy Institute of California Ruben Barrales President and CEO San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce María Blanco Vice President, Civic Engagement California Community Foundation Gary K. Hart Former State Senator and Secretary of Education State of California Robert M. Hertzberg Partner Mayer Brown LLP Walter B. Hewlett Director Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities Donna Lucas Chief Executive Office r Lucas Public Affairs David Mas Masumoto Author and farmer Steven A. Merksamer Senior Partner Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni, LLP Constance L. Rice Co -Director The Advancement Project Thomas C. Sutton Retired Chairman and CEO Pacific Life Insurance Company The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute’s goal is to raise public awar eness and to give elected representatives and other decisionmakers a more informed basis for developing policies and programs. The institute’s research focuses on the underlying forces shaping California’s future, cutting across a wide range of public poli cy concerns, including economic development, education, environment and resources, governance, population, public finance, and social and health policy. PPIC is a private operating foundation. It does not take or support positions on any ballot measures or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office. PPIC was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. Mark Baldassare is President and Chief Executive Officer of PPIC. John E. Bryson is Chair of the Board of Directors. Short sections of text, not to exceed three paragraphs, may be quoted without written permission provided that full attribution is given to the source and the above copyright noti ce is included. Research publications reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Directors of the Public Policy Institute of California. © 2011 Public Policy Institute of California All r ights reserved. San Francisco, CA PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94111 phone: 415.291.4400 fax: 415.291.4401 www.ppic.org PPIC SACRAMENTO CENT ER Senator Office Building 1121 L Street, Suite 801 Sacramento, California 95814 phone: 916.440.1120 fax: 916.440.1121" } ["___content":protected]=> string(102) "

R 511MWR

" ["_permalink":protected]=> string(85) "https://www.ppic.org/publication/californias-new-school-funding-flexibility/r_511mwr/" ["_next":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_prev":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_css_class":protected]=> NULL ["id"]=> int(8764) ["ID"]=> int(8764) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_content"]=> string(0) "" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:40:36" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(4090) ["post_status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["post_title"]=> string(8) "R 511MWR" ["post_type"]=> string(10) "attachment" ["slug"]=> string(8) "r_511mwr" ["__type":protected]=> NULL ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(12) "R_511MWR.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(6) "699561" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(95438) "California’s New School Funding Flexibility May 2011 Margaret Weston Supported with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 2 Summary Spurred by a deep recession and large budget shortfalls, the California L egislature in 2009 enacted what was arguably the largest change to California’s school finance system in decades —relaxing spending restrictions on more than 40 categorical programs th rough 2012–13, extended later to 2014 –15. Categorical funding , which gives school dist ricts money in addition to the general funds they already receive from the state, had been limited to specific , narrow purposes: buying textbooks or providing summer scho ol, for example. Under the 2009 changes, districts could begin spending these funds for any educational purpose. When the law expires, the legislature will be faced with a decision: whether to return to the previous, tightly restricted categorical fund sy stem or transition to a permanent version of the flexibility now in use . Because they were part of legislative negotiations over the state budget, not education policy, the decisions made in 2009 were far from optimal for K –12 schools . A more systematic a nd less political reconsideration of categorical flexibility could result in a more equitable and transparent distribution of funds , while also reserving targeted aid for students who need supplemental services. In addition, u nder the 2009 provisions, dist ricts could spend categorical funds on any educational purpose. Both state policymakers and local district officials have expressed concern about th e impact of completely flexible funds on the collective bargaining process ; specifically, that those funds would b e used inappropriately to increase teacher salaries and benefits rather than to provide additional services or materials for students . This report offers three recommendations to improve current flexibility provisions that the legislature could consider should it pursue categorical flexibility beyond the program’s sunset date:  Distribute these less -restricted categorical funds more equally.  Apply clear criteria for flexibility and consider alternative configurations.  Consider some restrictions on flex item funds. These recommendations would create a more equitable and transparent source of revenue. This would provide local school districts with increased flexibility in meeting student needs , and would be consistent wi th several recent major school finance reform proposals , as well as Governor Brown’s campaign plan for K –12 education . http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 3 Contents Summary 2 Figures 4 Tables 5 Abbreviations 6 Introduction 7 Background 10 The Flex Item 14 Distribution of Flex Item Funds 17 Improving or Extending California’s Categorical Flexibility 20 Recommendation One: Consolidate Funding and Set Per Pupil Funding Rates 20 Recommendation Two: Apply Clear Criteria for Flexibility and Consider Alternative Configurations 22 Recommendation Three: Consider Some Restrictions on Flexible Funds 28 Conclusion 30 References 31 About the Author 34 Acknowledgments 34 Technical appendices to this paper are available on the PPIC website: http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/other/511MWR_appendix.pdf http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 4 Figures 1. School district funding by type, 2009 –10 8 2. Per pupil funding by student disadvantage, 2009 –10 9 3. Share of categorical revenues, by program, 2010 –11 11 4. Flex item funds per ADA by district type and size, 2009 –10 17 5. Flex item funds per pupil by percent Title I students 19 6. Distribution of flex item funds under categorical reform proposal, by student disadvantage 27 http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 5 Tables 1. Categorical programs classi fied by tier and function 15 2. Flex item funds per ADA by selected categorical programs, 2009 –2010 18 3. General purpose funds per ADA by district type, 2009 –10 21 4. Distribution of flex item funds under categorical reform proposals, by district type 26 http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 6 A bbreviations ADA Average daily attendance CAHSEE California high school exit examination CalSAFE California School Age Families Education CDE California Department of Education CTE Career-technical education DOF California Department of Finance EIA Economic impact aid EL English learner K –3 CSR Kindergarten through grade 3 class size reduction LAO Legislative Analyst’s Office LEA Local education agency ROCP Regional occupational center or program TCBG Teacher credentialing block grant TIIBG Targeted instructional improvement block grant http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 7 Introduction School districts in California are funded in two ways : with unrestricted general purpose funds that may be spent for any educational purpose, and restricted funds —called categorical—earmarked for special programs and purposes. 1 U nrestricted funding comes to school districts in the form of revenue limits— a per pupil entitlement amount that comes from local property taxes and the state. O ther unrestricted funds include part of state lottery revenues and some other local revenues, such as parcel taxes and donations . Together, unrestricted funding sources account for approximately 70 percent of all California school district revenues (Figure 1 ), app roximately $5,700 per pupil in 2009– 10. Most restricted—categorical —funding is delivered through and is intended for myriad specific programs, including special education, pupil transportation, and professional development for teachers . Weston, Sonstelie, and Rose (2009) catalog ued more than 60 state categorical revenues in existence in 200 5– 06. School districts also receive restricted funds from the federal government through programs such as Title I and the N ational School L unch Program. Restricted fundin g constitutes 30 percent of school district revenues (Figure 1), approximately $2,600 per pupil in 2009– 10. 1 There is some subjectivity in the definition of categorical revenue. For the purposes of this report, the terms restricted and categorical are used interchangeably and include any state funding allocated beyond revenue limit funding. This includes pro grams with restrictions on expenditures, applications, or requirements to obtain funds, including incentive funding such as K –3 Class Size Reduction. California’s complex school finance system California’s current school finance system is largely a product of two 1970s -era events that shifted the bulk of school funding from the local to the state level. Previously, school districts set their own property tax rates, and this local revenue constituted the majority of school district funds. Afterward, the burden of financing California’s schools s hifted largely to the state. First, the 1971 California Supreme Court decision known as Serrano v. Priest found the state’s school finance system to be unconstitutional and required the state to equalize general purpose funding across all school districts. Then in 1978, Proposition 13 reduced the amount of local property tax revenue available to cities, counties, and schools. The state now determines its K –12 contribution through a series of complex formulas governed by Proposition 98, a voter -approved ini tiative that dictates the minimum amount that the state must spend. K –12 education and community colleges receive at least 40 percent of the state’s General Fund revenues under Proposition 98. Proposition 98 funds both general purpose funds and most catego rical programs. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 8 F IGURE 1 School district funding by type, 2009–10 SOURCE: Education Data Partnership statewide totals and averages for school districts, 2009 –10. NOTE: Does not reflect flexibility provisions granted by the 2009 Budget Act; state categorical includes $4.5 billion flex item. Unrestricted incentive categoricals, such as K –3 Class Size Reduction, are counted as state categorical funds. See Technical Appendix B for more information about which revenues were used to create these categories. Some state categorical programs are funded though non -Proposition 98 state aid, such as the state lottery and 2009 –10 pupil transportation funding. The largest portion of unrestricted funding, revenue limits, is intended to pro vide for the basic education of an average student (LAO 1993b). Revenue limits pay s for teacher salaries and benefits and other items and services required to keep a school in operation such as janitorial services, administration, desks, and electricity. C onceptually, this base funding is awarded to every district on an equal per pupil basis. Some districts have special costs, such as rural schools that typically have extensive transportation costs to ensure that students can get to school. Another example is schools with many English learners, who may require additional instruction or special materials to assist them in becoming proficient in English. Revenue limit funding may be insufficient to cover those additional costs —costs above the basic education o f a typical student. This is a major reason why federal and state categorical (restricted) programs were created: to cover (sometimes only partially) the gap between the base funding and the true cost of educating some groups of students and districts. In practice, California school finance follows this framework. Revenue limits funding is relatively equally distributed across school districts, in keeping with the Serrano decision (see text box). Any differences in funding are explained by the type of schoo l district (elementary, high school, or unified): the average base revenue limit in 2009 –10 for elementary districts was approximately $5,200 per pupil, for unified districts $5,300 per pupil, and for high school districts $6,100 per pupil. Under the Serra no equalization rules, districts were categorized by their type and size (small and large) and equalization occurred within each category. This means that the vast majority of students within each district type have roughly the same base revenue limit fund ing (90 percent of all unified district students are within an $80 per pupil band). Very small districts, however, have higher revenue limit s than other districts of the same type. These configurations are illustrated further in Figure 2a , which shows funding per student against the percentage of students identified as disadvantaged under the federal Title I program. Each bubble represents a California school district. The bubble color reflects its type and the bubble size reflects the number of students in the district; the largest bubble is the Los Angeles Unified School District, which serves approximately 10 percent 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 District revenues Percent of total revenue Federal categorical State categorical Other unrestricted Revenue limits Proposition 98 funds Proposition 98 funds Restricted funding Unrestricted funding http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 9 of California’s students. As the percentage of disadvantaged students grows, the revenue limit funding per pupil stays constant at the mean level of funding for each type of district; any variation is explained by district type and size. FIGURE 2 Per pupil funding by student disadvantage, 2009 –10 SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary, Economic Impact Aid Funding Results, and CBEDS enrollment, CDE. NOTES : Size of circle corresponds to the number of students in the district. Base revenue limit reflects 18.355% reduction in 2009–10. Includes 944 of 961 districts. Reasons for exclusion include missing enrollment counts (7 districts) or Title I counts larger than enrollment (5 districts). SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary, Funding Results (various programs), and CBEDS enrollment, CDE; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction. NOTES: Includes 918 of 961 districts. Reasons for exclusion include missing enrollment counts. Title I counts larger than enrollment, and categorical funding greater than $5,000 per ADA (33 districts). Districts with more than $5,000 per ADA in total categorical funding are predominantly elementary districts with fewer than 101 ADA. Excludes child care, facilities, mandates , school nutrition, and special education funding. 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500 7,000 7,500 8,000 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvantaged (Title I) students Revenue limit funds per student Elementary High school Unified 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 5,000 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvataged (Title I) students Categorical funds per student Elementary High school Unified http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 10 Figure 2b shows that cat egorical funds are not equally distributed across school districts; districts with many disadvantaged students tend to receive more categorical revenue per pupil than those with few or no disadvantaged students , but there are wide variations in funding even among schools with similar shares of disadvantaged students. For example, in districts that have between 10 and 20 percent Title I students, the amount of categorical funding per pupil clearly varies: most districts receive between $500 and $1,500 per pu pil. Within that range are districts of all types, with funding at both ends of the spectrum. However, like revenue limits, districts with much higher than average funding within a band of poverty tend to be very small. In addition, categorical funds do not vary across districts of different types , in sharp contrast to the revenue limit funding of 2a , where the level of funding on the vertical axis is clear and discrete for each district type. This relationship between categorical funding and student disa dvantage results from the unique history and politics of categorical programs in California. Background The 1917 federal Smith -Hughes Vocational Act created one of the first categorical programs , with many more created in the 1960s and 1970s as a response to the additional costs faced by school districts to educate students disadvantaged in some way. 2 The state provided additional funds , whose use was restricted to these additional services and programs , to improve educational outcomes. These complemented changes at the federal level that recognized new rights and offered federal funding for these special needs students. 3 Other categorical programs addressed the additional costs facing small and geographically isolated school districts that lack ed economies of scale. 4 Many of those early categorical programs were designed to improve the outcomes of at -risk students— special education, disadvantaged, and English learner students. Following the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983, 5 attention shifted toward the academic improvement of all students and the state’s approach to categoricals shifted as well : funding was supplied to districts that voluntarily met certain criteria and thus the funding became an incentive that districts sought. In general, the criteria targeted education reforms such as longer school days and school years, higher teacher salaries, and smaller class sizes. 6 This shift toward incentives occurred because incentives were generally viewed as more effective and less costly than mandates for such things as pupil health screenings and criminal background checks for staff, in which the state reimbursed districts for the costs of meeting state requirements (Picus 1991, LAO 2002). 7 At present, t he largest incentive prog ram is K –3 class size reduction (K –3 CSR), in which districts received $1,071 per K –3 student in 200 9– 20 10 as long as class sizes did not exceed an average of 20.44 students. 8 2 California’s history of categorical revenues is simplified for this report. See Kirst, Goertz, and Odden (2007), LAO (1993b), Little Hoover Commission (1997), Mockler (1987), Picus (1991), and Timar (1994) for more comprehensive and detailed descriptions. 3 Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 . 4 SB 813 (Chapter 498, Statutes of 1983) revised the Necessary Small School formula and provided additional funds to small scho ol districts for bus replacement, for example. 5 A report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education that summarized the literature on American academic achievement relative to the rest of the world. It concluded that the United States was failing to produce a competitive workforce and offered some recomm endations to reform education. The report is archived at http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk/index.html . 6 The first major package of incentives -based categoricals was SB 813 (Chapter 498, Statutes of 1983) whi ch responded to A Nation At Risk, and proposed lengthening the school day and year, adopting more rigorous achievement standards, and strengthening teaching. S ee LAO (1984). 7 The LAO estimates that the state owes districts $3.4 billion in backlogged mandate claims (LAO 2010d, 2011b). 8 The 2009 Budget Act relaxed penalties so that districts could increase class sizes up to 25 students and retain 80 percent of K –3 CSR funds for 20 students. Districts with class sizes between 25 students and the statutory ma ximum size of 32 students (grades 1–3; maximum is 33 in kindergarten) retain 70 percent of K –3 CSR funds for 20 students. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 11 Politics has also affected decisions about categorical programs. Many local lab or agreements require that districts provide salary increases when general purpose (revenue limits) funding increases. 9 Timar (1994) and Kirst (2007) contend that because categorical revenues cannot fund salary increases, Governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson and legislators in the 1980s and 1990s viewed them as a way to keep money off the bargaining table ; general purpose funding increases automatically trigger salary increases or salary renegotiations in many districts’ employment contracts. Timar (1994, 2002) also point s to examples of categorical programs or revenues as political leverage in budget negotiations. 10 Further, the creation of categorical programs can give legislators a way to demonstrate a tangible increase in K –12 fu nding or respond to constituents’ needs. This has resulted in the creation of many narrowly focused categorical programs such as those for textbooks, professional development and school safety, as well as auxiliary services s uch as foster youth programs and oral health assess ments. The overall result has been a proliferation of categoricals, at least 60, as noted above. However, most funding goes to only a few programs; almost 90 percent of all categorical funding is allocated through 15 programs , whereas more than 30 programs each provide less than $50 million statewide (about 0.1 percent of Proposition 98 funding ) ( Figure 3 ). T he share of state aid spent on categorical programs compared to revenue limits has grown quite dramatically ; Timar (2006) calculates that the categoric al share of state funding increased 165 percent between 1980 and 2000, compared to an inflation -adjusted 8 percent decline in revenue limit s funding . FIGURE 3 Share of categorical revenues, by program, 2010– 11 SOURCE S: Legislative Analyst’s Office (2011) and California State Controller’s Office. NOTE: Lottery funding is 2009–10 total. 9 LAO (1997 and 2008). 10 See Timar (1994) p. 146 and (2002) p. 58, for example. Special education25% Economic impact aid8% K–3 class size reduction8% Targeted instructional improvement block grant7%State lottery7% Adult education5% After school education and safety4% Pupil transportation4% Quality education investment act3% Regional occupational centers and programs3% School and library improvement3% Supplemental instruction3% Instructional materials3% Deferred maintenance2% Professional development block grant2% All other (43 programs)13% http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 12 This program proliferation has led to increased concern about their usefulness—although t here are many legitimate reasons for restricting some kinds of funding. First, approximately 40 percent of the state’s g eneral f und goes to K –12 education , so it is rational that the state would want to exert some control over those revenues. 11 B ecause of its large investment in K –12 education, the state also has a fundamental interest in the achievement of its students and may prioritize specific types of spending to improve student outcomes. Categorical programs ensure that districts pursue those state priorities. Second, categorica l programs can correct adverse incentives. A commonly cit ed example is special education. Districts typically face higher -than- average costs per student to provide supplemental services and programs f or students with learning or other disabilities . Without additional , dedicated revenues the result co uld be fewer services and programs than needed. To correct this, categorical special education revenues offset some of those higher costs and may only be spent on special education students . Notwithstanding these benefits, there have been several attempts over the last 30 years to provide more flexibility over categorical revenues or to reduce the number of categorical programs. These efforts are described in detail in Technical Appendix A; three main concerns motivated thes e efforts, concerns echoed by district superintendents, the LAO, and researchers now . First, not every program will work in every district in a state as large and diverse as California . Categorical restrictions prohibit local administrators from shifting funds to meet local needs , thus fragmenting services ( LAO 1999b). As Kirst (2007) explains, some districts may have surpluses in lower -priority categorical accounts while running lean in basic district operatio nal accounts . Second, some categorical programs can themselves create fiscal disincentives. For example, Economic Impact Aid funds additional services and materials for economically disadvantaged students and for English learners. Funding is allocated based on the numbe r of these students in a district. Districts that are successful with English learners lose these funds when these students become proficient in English—potentially providing a fiscal incentive to reduce the pace of English proficiency or to reclassify English learners as English proficien t. A third major concern driving earlier reform efforts was and is the administrative burden of categorical programs. As long ago as 1997, the Little Hoover Commission found that the categorical administrative burden coul d redirect district staff time away from instruction. Each program has its own application procedures, compliance restrictions, and paperwork requirements. Although the state has attempted to streamline some of this burden through efforts such as the Consolidated Application, districts must still maintain approved, detailed school site and district plans . 12 The se issues have been the focus of a large body of research. 13 Some c ritics propose consolidating categoricals into large thematic revenue streams w ith the goal of a simpler, more streamlined, and more flexible allocation of categorical revenues. 14 As a candidate, Governor Jerry Brown (2010) proposed a similar restructuring. In 2009, c ategorical regulations received new attention in th at year’s budget negotiation . L arge cuts to schools were proposed to help balance the state budget . To give local administrators more flexibility to absorb these 11 See the DOF website for historical distributions of general fund revenues across state programs: www.dof.ca.gov/budgeting/budget_faqs/information/documents/CHART -C.pdf . 12 See www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/co/ for more information on the Consolidated Application and www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/le/ for information about related requi red accountability plans. 13 Bersin, Kirst, and Liu (2008); Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence (2007); Kirst, Goertz, and Odden (2007); LAO ( 1993b, 2004 b, 2006, 2008); Loeb, Bryk, and Hanushek (2007); Mockler (1987), Picus (1991), Timar (1994, 20 06) 14 For examples, see Bersin, Kirst, and Liu (2008), Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence (2007), and LAO (2008). http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 13 large revenue cuts, the legislature granted spending flexibility to approximately 40 programs comprising 30 pe rcent of all categorical revenues in 2009– 10. 15 The programs included in this measure were given the collective name of the flex item . In creating the flex item, the legislature suspended all restrictions on the use of funding, reclassifying these categorical programs as general purpose programs through 2012– 13, and later to 2014– 15. These actions were not driven by a specific educational reform effort, but by the need to help local districts absorb large budget cuts . Nonetheless, the creation of t he flex item—and its long sunset date—now offer the legislature the opportunity to reevaluate California’s school finance system. T he legislature could in 2015 revert to the categorical system that existed previously , or it could use the flex item as a cas e study of categorical deregulation and reconsider the categorical system , perhaps add ing additional , and permanent, flexibility . This report focuses on the latter option as the best one for the state’s education system. 15 The LAO (2011) found that the flex item had increased to 40 perce nt of categorical funds in 2010–11. Their calculation excluded ch ild care and lottery funding. Additionally, funding for K –3 CSR decreased by approximately 50 percent between 2009– 10 and 2010–11 as districts increased class sizes. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 14 The Flex Item The legislature, under pressure from a sagging economy that had reduced revenues, approved the creation of the new categorical flexibility items in February 2009. The overarching theme was that in exchange for large cuts (almost 20 percent from 2007 –08 lev els), local districts would be given substantial flexibility . Legislative committees heard alternative budget cut and flexibility proposals from the LAO, but largely settled on the provisions in Governor Schwarzenegger’s original budget proposal . The stat e’s categorical programs were divided into three levels:  Tier I programs remained intact: there were no 2008–09 midyear or 2009 –10 reductions to their allocat ion, no programmatic changes , and no flexibility granted . 16  Tier II programs received funding reductions but the requirements of the programs remained unchanged.  Tier III progra m allocations were reduced and the programs became fl exible, allowing districts to make programmatic changes . This represented 40 categorical programs representing about 30 percent of all categorical funds . 17 Districts would be allowed to spend Tier III funds on any educational purpose as long as the school board publicly discussed those purposes at a regularly scheduled board meeting. 18 Although the underlying statutes for pro grams affected by the flexibility provision remain ed in place, districts using it would be considered to be compliant with all state categorical program requirements even if they no longer operated a particular program. F lex item programs vary in their purpose, scope, and beneficiar ies (Table 1). The majority fund support services and programs for K –12 students or their teachers at school s. Non -local education agencies such as the Center for Civic Education —a nonprofit that provides civic education material s to participating districts —and American Indian Education Centers , operated by tribal governments —also receive categorical funds. Other programs support statewide administrative activities operated from county offices of education, such as education technology or non-K– 12 programs such as adult education. 16 Although K –3 Class Size Reduction (K– 3 CSR) is considered Tier I, the penalty structure was temporarily changed. Prior to the 2009 Budget Act, districts lost all K –3 CSR funds if they exceeded average class sizes of 20.44 ADA. The exact calculation of K –3 funding for class sizes exceeding 20.44 students is compl ex, but through June 30, 2014, districts are eligible for 70 percent of K– 3 CSR funds even if class sizes exceed 25 students. Smaller class sizes that are nevertheless over the former maximum incur smaller penalties. 17 SBX3 4 (Chapter 12, Statutes of 2009) . See www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fr/eb/yr09budgetacts.asp or Education Code 42605 for more information. The exact number of programs is subject to some debate. Expenditure flexibility was granted to 38 items in the 2009 Budget Act. Many items have several schedules, each of which is sometimes considered a separate program. All categorical programs in the flex item were cut by 15 percent, or $944 million, in 2008 -2009, and reduced by another 4.9 percen t, or $267 million, in 2009-2010. See T echnical Appendix B. 18 As stated in an April 17, 2009 letter from CDE to school districts, “[t]here is some ambiguity in SBX3 4 with regard to the p ublic hearing requirement.” See SBX3 4 for statutory language and http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/ac/co/documents/sbx34budgetflex.doc CDE interpretation and district guidance. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 15 TABLE 1 Categorical programs classified by tier and function Program 2009–10 funding level (thousands) Program 2009–10 funding level (thousands) Tier III: Administrative Education technology 14,074 Williams monitoring 8,016 Tier III : Adult Adult education 634,752 Community- based English tutoring 40,079 Tier III: General Arts and music block grant 87,979 Instructional materials block grant 333,729 Charter school categorical block grant 186,326 Oral health assessments 3,527 Deferred maintenance 250,806 School safety block grant 79,942 Grades 7– 12 counseling 167,076 School and library improvement block grant 370,044 Grade 9 class size reduction 78,944 Tier III: Specialized Advanced placement test fee reimbursement 1,425 Gifted and talented education (GATE) 44,231 American Indian early childhood education 531 International baccalaureate 1,017 American Indian education centers 3,639 Pupil retention block grant 76,684 California Association of Student Councils 26 Regional occupational centers and programs (ROCP) 384,676 CAHSEE intensive services 58,317 School safety competitive grant 14,350 CalSAFE 46,425 Specialized secondary programs 4,893 Center for Civic Education 200 Supplemental instruction programs 336,285 Community day school additional funding 41,681 Targeted instructional improvement block grant (TIIBG) 855,230 Tier III: Teacher and Professional Development Administrator training 3,928 Peer assistance and review 23,926 Alternative certification 26,188 PE teacher incentives 33,516 Bilingual teacher training 1,708 Professional development block grant 218,406 Certificated staff mentoring 8,583 Reader services for legally blind teachers 321 Math and reading professional development 45,472 Teacher credentialing block grant 106,164 National board certification incentives 2,405 Teacher dismissal 38 Tier II Adults in correctional facilities 14,966 FCMAT 9,168 Agricultural vocational inc entives 4,135 Foster Youth 15,097 Apprenticeship 15,693 K–12 internet access 8,340 California partnership academies 18,829 Student assessments 69,108 Charter school facility grants 45,466 Year-round schools 46,558 English learner assistance programs 50,558 Tier I After school education and safety (Prop 49) 546,941 K–3 class size reduction 1,824,589 Child nutrition 134,044 Pupil transportation 618,714 Child care 1,928,645 Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) 450,000 Economic Impact Aid 945,779 Special education 3,121,060 SOURCES: SBX3 4 (Chapter 12, Statutes of 2009) , LAO (2010) , CDE 2009 –2010 funding profiles and results . NOTE S: Classification of programs is subjective, particularly over “general programs” and “specialized programs.” Programs that supp ort non-districts, a small group of districts, or a specific group of students were generally deemed “specialized.” See Weston, Son stelie, and Rose (2009) for a description of each categorical program, its 2005 –2006 and 2007–2008 appropriation, and mean per pupil funding by district characteristics such as type and size, proportion of students eligible for free and reduced price meals , proportion of English learners, and population density. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 16 According to most observers, no clear rationale was applied to determining if a program should become flexible or not —the mix of programs included in the flex item was determined by budgetary expedi ency and politics rather than by a systematic review of categorical programs or recommendations from research on categorical programs. 19 Thus, s imilar programs were treated differently and were placed in different tiers. For example, the largest career- technical education (CTE) program , regional occupational centers and programs (ROCP) , was moved to Tier III, w hile two smaller CTE programs, apprenticeship and agricultural vocational incentives, were not . For each flex item program, a district’s funding level is determined by its proport ion of statewide funds in a base year. If a district received 5 percent of statewide funding for a program in the base year, it will continue to receive 5 percent of the funding appropriated in each year through 2014–15. For most program s, the base year is 2008 –09. For programs where funding is determined by student attendance , such as adult education and supplemental instruction , the base year is 2007–08. Except for new schools not in existence in the base year (primarily charter schools), districts without funding in a particular program in the base year are ineligible for f unding in that program through 2014– 15. 20 19 Some cases, such as the After School Education and Safety (ASES) program, ar e obvious: ASES was created by 2002’s Proposition 49 and any changes would require voter approval. 20 Some funding is set aside for new schools that are ineligible for the flex item because they were not in existence in the bas e year. See Education Code 42606 and www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/ca/nscategfund.asp . Other ongoing flexibility provisions The 2009 budget enacted other, non -categorical flexibility provisions. Most sunset June 30, 2015 , except where noted: Education mandates: Suspends six education mandates relating to supplemental instruction for retained students, pupil residency verificati on, chemical removal, scoliosis screening, and school bus safety instruction through 2012 –13 . Instructional materials: Delays purchasing requirements for instructional materials. K–3 C SR: Reduces the penalty for class sizes exceeding 20 students in grades K –3 through 2013 –14. Length of school year: Allows districts to reduce the school year to 175 days without loss of incentive funding. Maintenance: Reduces the required contributions i nto routine maintenance accounts from 3 percent to 1 percent of general fund expenditures. Eliminates the local match requirement for the deferred maintenance program. Reserves: Reduces districts’ required reserve for economic uncertainties through 2012 –1 3. Sale of surplus property: Proceeds from the sale of surplus property originally purchased through local funds may be spent on any one -time general purpose until January 1, 2014. SOURCE: Chapters 2, 12, Statutes of 2009; Chapter 724, Statutes of 2010, C hapter 7, Statutes of 2011 http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 17 The mix of programs included in the flex item and each program’s prior allocation formula largely determine the distribution of flex item funds across California’s school districts. Distribution of Flex Item Funds Flex item funds per student vary a cross districts. The statewide average is $ 719 per pupil , but this differs according to district type : high school districts receive more than twice as much per pupil ($ 879 ) on average t han do elem entary districts ( $ 418 ). But there is also significant variation among distri cts of the same type and size , as illustrated in Figure 4. The interquartile range, a measure of variation ( the difference between the 75th percentile and the 25 th percentile of funding represented by rectangles in the figure) is $448 per pupil statewide. The interquartile range is particularly large for small elementary ($678 per pupil) and large unified districts ($537 per pup il). Large elementary districts have the lowest level of flex item fund ing and the least variation. FIGURE 4 Flex item funds per ADA by district type and size, 2009– 10 SOURCES: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: Districts with flex item funds per pupil abov e the 90 th percentile or below the 10th percentile (outliers) are not shown: the minimum flex item fund ing per student is $178 and the maximum $12,150. The bottom half of a rectangle represents the difference between the median funding level and the 25 th percentile of funding. The upper half represents the difference between the 75th percentile of funding and the median funding level. The endpoints of the vertical bars represent the 10th and 90th percentile of flex item funds per ADA. Percentiles are weig hted by the number of students in a district . Within each group, students are assigned the flex item of their district and ranked according to this rate. The 75 th percentile is the flex item of the student in the 75th percentile of this ranking. The mean f lex item funding for each district type is represented by the horizontal lines. 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1,000 1,100 1,200 1,300 1,400 1,500 1,600 1,700 1,800 1,900 2,000Small elementary Medium elementary Large elementary Small high school Medium high school Large high school Small unified Medium unified Large unified 90th percentile 75th percentile Type average Median 25th percentile 10th percentile http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 18 These differences in flex item funds per pupil are not surprising : they are based on the funds the district received in each of the categ orical programs prior to the flexibi lity provisions , which were not equally distributed because m any categorical programs did not fund all districts uniformly . The most notable example is the T argeted Instructional Improvement Block Grant (TIIBG) . TIIBG was part of a 2004 categorical consolidation and merged two programs: targeted instructional improvement that provided funds for desegregation and supplemental grants designed to equalize categorical funds. Districts with prior desegregation court orders and programs received much more funding than districts with categorical equalization fundin g. Following the 2004 block grant consolidation , a district’s TIIBG funding was based on its proportional share of fundi ng prior to the consolidation. Today , approximately 82 percent of TIIBG funds are apportioned to 67 districts based on the prior desegregation programs ; 516 districts r eceive the remaining 18 percent , explaining the large differences in per pupil TIIBG funding reported in Table 2 . 21 In addition, f lex item funds vary because some districts were ineligible for the previous categorical programs. E lementary districts, which do not serve high school students, are ineligible for Grade 9 class size reduction, ROCP, and adult education funds (Table 2) . Th ese three revenue sources account for more than 80 percent of the average $ 461 per pupil difference between elementary and high school per pupil funds. 22 The mix of programs included in the flex item largely dictates the degree of variation of funds across districts of different ty pes. TABLE 2 Flex item funds per ADA by selected categorical program s, 2009–2010 Program Elementary districts with funding (N) Mean funding ($/ADA) High school d istricts with funding (N) Mean funding ($/ADA) Unified districts with funding (N) Mean funding ($/ADA) Adult education 0 0 71 238 243 140 American Indian e arly childhood education 2 207 0 0 6 24 Grade 9 c lass size reduction 0 0 64 58 182 21 Regional occupation centers and p rograms 0 0 29 210 93 92 School safety competitive grant 5 71 3 20 13 7 Targeted instructional improvement block grant 281 76 52 61 207 229 All other flex item programs 544 358 83 450 334 401 Flex it em 544 418 83 879 334 781 SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), C DE; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTE: Means are student -weighted. Columns show the mean funding per student in the program (for districts r eceiving the program ). The flex item row shows the mean funding for all d istricts by type. 21 Proportions and district counts are approximate and based on 2004 funding results for targeted instructional improvement and supplemental grant s provided by CDE. 22 The mean flex item funding per pupil is $879 for high school districts and $418 for elementary districts. Once ROCP, adult ed ucation, and ninth- grade class size reduction funds are removed, the average for high schools is $503, a decl ine of $377 per pupil. The average difference in flex item funds per pupil between the two district types drops to $85. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 19 The mix of programs included in the flex item also affects the relationship between flex item funds per pupil and student disadvantage. Although Economic Impact Aid, the categorical program whose funding is based on a count of disadvant aged pupils, is excluded from the flex item, districts with higher percentages of Title I students nevertheless tend to receive more flex item funds per pupil (Figure 5 ). This relationship between flex item funds and student disadvantage is not as strong a s the relationship depicted in Figure 2 for all categorical programs. T echnical Appendix C lists each flex item program and its correlation with student disadvantage. FIGURE 5 Flex item funds per pupil by percent Title I students SOURCES: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary, 2009 Economic Impact Aid calculation results, 2009 Funding Results (various programs), 2009 CBEDS enrollment, CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction. NOTE: Includes 848 of 961 districts. Reasons for exclusion include missing enrollment counts. Title I counts larger than enrollment, districts with fewer than 101 ADA (113 districts) , and districts with categorical funding greater than $15,000 per ADA (30 districts). Districts wit h more than $5,000 per ADA in total categorical funding are predominantly elementary districts with fewer than 101 ADA. 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 4,500 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvantaged (Title I) students Elementary High school Unified http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 20 Improv ing or Extend ing California’s Categorical Flexibility Previous PPIC reports have focused on ways to improve California’s overly complex and inequitable school finance system and have evaluated school finance reform proposals that would consolidate almost all categorical programs into a few flexible block grants . In Pathways for School Finance Reform in California (2010) , we offered five principles to guide a n improved school finance system. These same principles could guide any discussions about categorical flexibility within a reform context:  Meet resource needs . Schools should have t he resources necessary for their students to meet state academic standards, and the cost of those resources may vary from school to school for a variety of reasons.  Structure incentives properly . The formulas allocating revenue to schools should not give s chools incentives to deviate from actions that are in the best interest of students and taxpayers.  Allocate funds transparently . The formulas for allocating revenue to schools should be clear and relatively simple.  Treat s imilar districts equitably . When the state has chosen the factors that determine the revenue a school district receives, school districts with the same values for those factors should receive the same revenue.  Balanc e s tate and local authority. Restrictions on the use of funds must proper ly balance the state objectives with the realities that schools differ widely across the state and that school administrators have unique knowledge about local conditions. In its current form, t he flex item addresses the last principle , but because it was created as a general budget solution, it did not address other underlying weaknesses of education funding and so does not address the other principles. We recommend three ways of improving the flex item as it currently exists.  Consolidating flexible programs into one funding stream and setting per pupil funding rates would produce a more equitable and transparent flex item .  Applying clear criteria to determine whether a program is flexible would make the flex item more transparent and could allow the state to focus categorical resources on cost differences across districts.  Reinst ating some restrictions on flexible funds could help avoid ad verse incentives while still balancing state and l ocal authority. Recommendation One: Consolidate Fund ing and Set Per Pupil Funding Rates One benefit of categorical consolidation is a lower CDE administrative burden , which could be achieved by consolidating flexible program funds into a single revenue s tream and amending the relevant code sections. 23 Additionally, t he LAO (201 0c) estima ted that the state could save $5.2 million by eliminating 70 staff positions at CDE needed to monitor and administer flex item programs. 24 23 Little Hoover Commission (1997); LAO (1993b) . 24 According to a California Watch article (9/1/10), former State Superintendent of Publi c Instruction Jack O’Connell disputed the LAO estimate in a letter to the budget conference committee. See http://californiawatch.org/watchblog/whitman -overstates-excess-jobs -california -department - education -4231. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 21 In addition, we recommend the state set per pupil funding rates. Currently , if a district received 5 percent of all international baccalaureate funds available in 2008–09, it will continue to receive 5 percent of all future such appropriations through 2014 –15. The state has used this approach in previous categorical reforms, most notably in the 20 04 block grant consolidations, but this proportional method poses several challenges a nd should be reconsidered. The first challenge is equity. One way to address this is to create a per pupil funding rate calculated by dividing each district’s total flex item funds by a pupil count, and then equalizing those funding rates over time. If the flex item continues and the funds within it retain their general purpose designation, then there is no longer a compelling r ationale for differences in per p upil funding across districts— districts are no longer required to provide these services and the main requirement of Serrano is the equalization of general purpose revenues . As Figure 2 showed , base revenue limits are relatively equally distributed, particularly within each district type. And a s the previous section showed , there is currently considerable variation in flex item funds per pupil ; the difference between the 75 th and 25th percentile of funding statewide is almost $450 per student . A per pupil funding rate is more equitable than proportional funding because it can better account for changes in student enrollment. Under the current proportional -allocation method, if the total appropriation remains constant, districts with declining enrollment s receive more funds per pupil over time while districts with gro wing enrollment s receive less. Since many of the flex item programs we re based on some pupil count, it is both logical an d equitable to apportion funds in proportion to the number of students in a district. Additionally, the main source of general purpose funds —revenue limits—is allocated on a per pupil rate. Current flex item provisions also restrict funding to schools and districts that rece ived funding in the base year. Since flex item funds no longer support prior programs and are instead designated general purpose funds, it is no longer rational to prevent or exclude any schools or districts from receiving this funding . Equalizing funding rates addresses this inequality. Significant efforts have already been made to equalize schools’ main source of general purpose funds, revenue limits. Revenue limits were created in 1973 by calculating each district’s per pu pil expenditures in 1972 –73. Through various equalization policies, differences in base rates among districts of the same type have diminished and in 2009– 10, the statewide interquartile range in base revenue limit s was $22 per pupil (Table 3). The large varia tion in flex item funds, even among dist ricts of the same type, produces in turn large variation in total general purpose funds per pupil (revenue limits and flex item funds). The statewide interquartile range increases from $22 per pupil in base revenue l imits to $696 per pupil in total general purpose revenues. Without attention to this issue, this inequality will continue until the flex item sunsets and may possibly persist in any future categorical consolidations . TABLE 3 General purpose funds per ADA by district type, 2009–10 District type Number of districts Mean base revenue limit ($/ADA) Interquartile r ange ($/ADA) Mean flex item ($/ADA) Interquartile range ($/ADA) Mean total general purpose ($/ADA) Interquartile range ($/ADA) Elementary 544 5,008 21 418 120 5,426 117 High school 83 6,017 30 879 434 6,896 462 Unified 334 5,239 11 781 440 6,020 533 All districts 961 5,270 22 719 447 5,989 696 SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTE: All means are student -weighted. Base revenue limit shown is reduced by the 2009–10 18.355% deficit factor The interquartile range is the difference between the funding level of the st udent at the 75 th percentile and the 25th percentile. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 22 However, g iven the slow speed of the economic recovery, additional funds that would be required for equalization are unlikely to appear in the near future . 25 The legislature could look to past equalizati on policies for w ays to equalize rates over time, primarily by providing occasional one -time aid designed to increase the rates of districts at the low end of the distribution . This could become an ongoing increase as the new rates are applied in subsequen t years. 26 Alternatively, flex item equalization could occur slowly over time using expected increases in K –12 funding , similar to the LAO’s 1997 and 2009 proposal s. We simulate d this type of equalization in Rose, Sonstelie , and Weston (2010) and found that demographic and economic trends could result in a 30 percent increase in real per pupil spending by 2030. If 30 percent of that expected increase (9 percent over current levels) w as used each year to slowly equalize flex item funds per pupil, all dist ricts would receive $1,540 per pupil in 2030 a nd the flex item would be fully equalized. 27 Recommendation Two: Apply Clear Criteria for Flexibility and Consider Alternative Configurations As Table 1 showed , the flex item encompasses much , from state administrative activities to specialized pro grams for struggling students. However, there are many similar categorical programs excluded from the flex item: funds to reduce ninth grade class sizes are included, for example, but K–3 class size reduct ion is excluded. In its current form, the flex item lacks clear criteria for which programs are included and excluded. Correcting this would make the flex item more transparent , and if the state transitions from the flex item to some continued form of cate gorical flexibility, such clear criteria could help guide that process. If the flex item remains a source of general purpose funds and is allocated to districts on an equal per pupil basis, then any programs that remain flexible should be equally distribut ed across all schools to support general instruction. Currently, the flex item includes programs that target special costs or needs, such as a dult e ducation. Responsibility for adult education rests with school districts in some parts of the state while in others community college districts are responsible. In school districts responsible for adult education, the program imposes extra costs and the state provides funding to offset these costs. Under the new flexibility provisions, school districts with adul t education funds have a new source of unrestricted revenue not enjoyed by other districts yet no longer have to provide adult education . Additionally, the legislature may want to reconsider whether regional programs should be granted flexibility . T he flex item currently includes ROCPs and the te acher credentialing block grant (TCBG). These two programs support consortia of school districts , county offices of education, and charter schools, but funding flows only to a small group of administrative districts and county offices of education. These administrative units now have a new source of general purpose funds but without a requirement to actually provide the regional service. Regional funds also include programs that support administrative activities and programs operated by nonprofits or non -local education agencies. These two criteria , removing targeted and regional programs, would likely result in a much smaller flex item, both in funding and number of programs. 25 Additional revenues would be necessary if the state held districts harmless, meaning that no district would receive less flex item funds per pupil than it does today. This approach requires that funding rates be leveled up, instead of redistributing fundi ng from high flex item districts to districts with lower flex item rates. It is very unlikely that districts would not be held harmless in any equalization policy. 26 See Weston (2010) for a description of revenue limit equalization policies and Rose, Sonst elie, and Weston (2010) for special education and Economic Impact Aid equalization policies. 27 See Rose, Sonstelie, and Weston (2010), pp. 30 -31. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 23 However, there are programs currently excluded from the flex item that would meet the criteria and could reasonably be added. One is K–3 CSR , which support s general instruction with a goal of improving student achievement. The state has temporarily relaxed the penalties on districts that exceed the maximum class sizes of 20 students, in effect making the program, or at least the 70 percent of funds districts receive, flexible—even for class es as large as 32 students. Table 4 shows alternate configurations, some advocated by various groups since the flex item’s inception, and the results of these proposals, and based on the two criteria offered above. The first column shows the current distribution of flex item funds . The next column series show s the distrib ution of the flex item if additional programs , proposed by the LAO (2010) are a dded to it, and the following series the distribution of the flex item if some current flex item programs are removed. The first number in each cell is the new mean funding leve l for a particular district type and size category. The second number , in parenthese s, is the interquartile range, the difference between the 75 th percentile of funding and the 25th percentile of funding —a measure of variation . The effects of the three additional LAO items are represented in the cells of the first three columns of the table; the fourth column represents the cumulative effect. The result is a more equal distribution of flex item funds across districts. In the current flex item, high school districts have much larger flex item funds per pupil than elementary districts. The inclusion of these three programs would raise flex item fund ing per pupil in all districts, but most significantly in elementary districts. However, within district types, there would be more variation in flex item funds per pupil, as shown in the larger interquartile ranges. For the state as a whole, this variation would be less pronounced because the statewide interquartile range would increase by less than $30 per pupil. The next column series represents results from programs being removed from the flex item. 28 The first two columns remove r egional programs and special costs and are derived from the criteria described earlier . The next column represents the state assembly’s 2010 budget proposal that r emov es CalSAFE, a program that support s pregnant minors, and supplemental instruction for students who have failed the California high scho ol exit exam (CAHSE E). 29 Finally, the LAO in 1997 recommended removing the Deferred Maintenance program (DMP) from a n older categorical flexibility policy that allowed some funding transfers . 30 28 These alternative s are presented not as recommendations but as illustrations of the type of analysis that c an help the state develop a long-range plan. 29 See www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/Conf_Comm/2010/K12_Categorical_Flexibility_061410.pdf . 30 See Technical Appendix A. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 24 TABLE 4 Alternative flex item compositions by district type and size, 2009 –2010 District type and size Current flex item Add K –3 CSR Add HTS Add ASES Add All Subtract ROCP and TCBG Subtract adult Subtract CalSAFE and CAHSEE Subtract DMP Subtract All Add and Subtract All Elementary Small (0 —250 students ) 943 (678) 1,270 (636) 1,243 (962) 973 (696) 1,598 (989) 943 (678) 943 (678) 9 40 (671 ) 625 (320) 621 (320) 1 ,2 76 (5 73) Medium (251—1,500) 520 (198) 894 (198) 692 (334) 570 (281) 1,117 (372) 513 (198) 520 (198) 520 (198) 441 (161) 435 (161) 1,032 (322) Large (1,501+) 396 (117) 714 (157) 450 (137) 474 (209) 847 (244) 389 (111) 396 (117) 396 (117) 358 (110) 351 (105) 802 (245) All elementary 418 (120) 742 (150) 489 (160) 493 (222) 888 (269) 411 (112) 418 (120) 418 (120) 371 (113) 364 (113) 834 (272) High school Small (0 —1,500) 928 (366) 928 (366) 1,114 (404) 928 (366) 1,114 (404) 844 (401) 847 (244) 890 (342 ) 770 (389) 567 (201) 753 (3 29) Medium (1,501—6,000) 912 (332) 912 (332) 990 (403) 912 (332) 990 (403) 827 (326) 634 (216) 867 (307) 857 (326) 458 (140) 536 (228) Large (6,001+) 871 (434) 871 (435) 917 (475) 873 (434) 918 (475) 758 (303) 642 (234) 828 (430) 831 (432) 446 (121) 493 (140) All high school 879 (434) 879 (434) 935 (467) 880 (434) 936 (467) 772 (328) 648 (256) 836 (427) 834 (432) 452 (125) 509 (143) Unified Small (0 —3,000) 642 (222) 860 (230) 870 (392) 676 (270) 1,122 (407) 619 (203) 604 (234) 633 (2 24) 564 (190) 495 (141 ) 976 (285 ) Medium (3,001—10,000) 573 (239) 788 (242) 655 (272) 622 (286) 920 (292) 525 (179) 483 (156) 559 (231) 533 (239) 382 (99) 729 (192) Large (10,001+) 825 (537) 1,047 (566) 903 (581) 902 (534) 1,203 (615) 773 (546) 683 (336) 809 (539) 785 (538) 576 (324) 954 (599) All unified 781 (440) 1,002 (486) 866 (477) 852 (513) 1,158 (560) 731 (402) 651 (280) 766 (445) 739 (435) 545 (189) 922 (477) All districts 719 (447) 938 (407) 798 (460) 784 (463) 1,083 (471) 672 (380) 604 (229) 704 (4 33) 676 (443) 500 (1 49) 873 (341) NOTE S: Student -weighted means appear first in each cell. Student -weighted interquartile ranges are in parentheses in each cell. K –3 CSR is grades K–3 class size reduction ; HTS is home -to -school transportation ; ASES is Proposition 49’s After School Education and Safety ; TIIBG is the targeted instruction improvement block grant ; ROCP is regional occupation center or program ; TCBG is the teacher credentialing block grant ; Adul t is adult education ; CalSAFE is California School Age Families Education ; DMP is deferred maintenance. Add All is the cumulative effect of adding K –3 CSR, HTS, and ASES to the flex item. Subtract All is the cumulative effect of removing ROCP, TCBG, Adult, CalSAFE, and DMP from the flex item . Add and Subtract All is the cumulative effect of adding the three programs and removing the six programs from the flex item. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 25 Several general trends emerge from Table 4. First, removing adult education and regional programs would result in a more equal dist ribution of funds by reducing the amount received by high school and unified districts that provide these programs. The same equalized distribution is less apparent when CalSAFE, CAHSEE supplemental instruction, and DMP are removed from the flex item—because the former are relatively small (less than $100 million statewide) and because DMP is already fairly equally distributed across districts. T he cumulative effect of removing these six p rograms is a more equal distribution of funds across districts o f different types ( as is the case where three programs are added to the flex item). The average difference between elementary and high school districts drops to $88 per pupil compared to the current average difference of $461 per pupil. Removing these prog rams would also result in less variation among districts of the same type , and less variation statewide, as demonstrated by the smaller interquartile ranges. Smaller differences across districts and smaller interquartile ranges would lower the cost of equalizing rates. Adding specified programs to the flex item and removing specified programs would each result in more equally distributed funding. However, if these actions are taken together the result is less clear . Such a distribution , shown in the final c olumn of Table 4, is almost the reverse of the distribution of the current flex item: elementary districts have much higher average funding levels than high school districts, and unified districts are somewhere in the middle. There is no clear pattern in t he variation within district type and size categories —in some cases the variation decreases, such as in small elementary districts, and in others it increases, such as in large elementary districts. Consistent with findings in the previous section, the mix of programs made flexible or made less so largely dictates the extent of variation across school districts. Reconfigurations in the C ontext of School Finance Reform As previous sections have demonstrated, categorical reform has been the subject of much debate. Over the last few years, several reform proposals have emerged from multiple sources. 31 Although the specifics differ, they share the idea of replacing the maze of categorical programs with three simpler, consolidated, and flexible programs: a base p rogram providing for the general needs of school districts, a special education program , and a targeted program providing additional funds for supplemental services to English learners, disadv antaged, and at -risk students. The LAO’s 2008 proposal includ es an additional program for instructional improvement. R eform proposals consolidate many of the current flex item programs into a base program. 32 Using clear criteria to categorize individual programs, the legislature could reconfigure the flex item to ali gn with these consolidation proposals. A majority of the current flex item programs would continue to support general purpose activities while the remain der would form a second flexible fund for supplemental programs and services for disadvantaged or at -ri sk students. For example, each of the categorical reform proposals consolidates the pupil retention block grant into a targeted program for disadvantaged and at -risk students. These proposals allow the state to continue to direct spending on disadvantaged students and English learners while providing districts with the flexibility to determine the best way to meet the ir needs . Under the flex item now, pupil retention block grant funds can be spent for any education al purpose. The LAO (2010b) found that tha t more than half of districts shifted funds away from this program in 2009 –10, and that 31 See Bersin, Kirst,, and Liu (2008), Governor’s Committee on Education Excellence (2007), and LAO (2008). 32 In the LAO proposal (2008), these programs are in the instructional improvement program. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 26 almost 70 percent of districts made prog rammatic changes to pupil retention efforts. The following year over 70 percent of districts shifted funds away from this program, and almost 20 percent of districts discontinued it altogether ( LAO 2011). The specific programmatic changes from 2009– 10 are unclear, but the LAO survey found that most districts shifted f unds from enrichment and student support programs , like the pupil retention block grant, to direct classroom instruction. If support for disadvantaged and struggling students is a priority, the state could consider restoring some restrictions on current fl ex item programs designed for these students while still providing flexibility by removing them from the flex item and consolidating the m into a larger targeted program . Table 5 presents the distribution of current flex item funds under such a proposed reconfiguration. Programs that support general education activities or professional development for teachers would remain in a general purpose flex item. Programs currently in the flex item that support specialized programs for disadvantaged or at -risk stu dents would be consolidated into a ta rgeted flex item. The remain ing programs would be grouped into the other flex item category. 33 TABLE 5 Distribution of flex item funds under categorical reform proposals , by district type District type General purpose flex item program funds ($/ADA) Targeted flex item program funds ($/ADA) Other flex item program funds ($/ADA) Mean Interquartile range Mean Interquartile range Mean Interquartile range Elementary 292 54 111 66 15 18 High school 301 91 236 94 343 310 Unified 295 56 299 157 187 288 All districts 295 62 256 141 168 284 SOURCES: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: General purpose includes all general support and teacher and professional development programs from Table 1, except the teacher credentialing block grant (TCBG), a regional program, and programs that do not support school districts or for which data was unavailab le. Targeted includes all specialized programs from Table 1, except regional occupation centers and programs (ROCP), a regional program, and programs that do not support school districts or for which data was unavailable. Other includes adult programs from Table 1, TCBG, and ROCP. Administration programs in Table 1 do not fund school districts. Means and interquartile ranges are student -weighted . The distribution of flex item funds is more equitable under such a system . There would be less variation in gene ral flex item funds per pupil statewide, as represented by the interquartile range of $62 per pupil (Table 5 ). The mean general and targeted flex item funds per student are much closer than the current flex item across and within the different types of dis tricts. For example, the average high school district’s general and targeted flex item funds per pupil are $301 and $236, respectively, compared to $292 and $111 in elementary districts. These differences are much smaller than the average $479 per pupil difference in current flex item funds per pupil between these two district types. The more equal distribution of funds is largely explained by removing funds for adult education and the two regional programs from the flex item, represented by the other flex item fund column. These programs are unevenly distributed now and generally flow to medium and large high school and unified districts. 33 The categorical reform proposals consolidate programs based on the purposes and students served by the categorical programs , a process that can be subjective and differ among the proposals. Flex item programs categories used throughout this paper appear i n Table 1. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 27 Such a configuration would also affect the distribution of funds by student disadvantage (Figure 6 ). Currently, there is a small positive relationship between flex item funds per pupil and the percent of Title I students, as demonstrated in Figure 5 . Many of the flex item programs classified as general purpose are allocated on a statewide per pupil rate to almost all districts, which explains why , in Figure 6a, the general purpose flex item funds per pupil value remains relatively flat as the percent of Title I students increases. On the other hand, targeted flex item funds per pupil appear to increase as the percen t of Title I students increases. There is no clear relationship for the other flex item programs , which may be attributed to the fact that relatively few districts receive these funds . FIGURE 6 Distribution of flex item funds under categorical reform proposal, by student disadvantage SOURCES: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: Includes all general support and teacher and professional development programs from Table 1 except the teacher credentialing block grant (TCBG), a regional program, and programs that do not support school districts or for which data are unavailable. Excludes 49 districts with more than $1,500 per ADA in general purpose flex item programs; these districts are predominantly small elementary districts with fewer than 251 ADA . 0 250 500 750 1,000 1,250 1,500 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvantaged (Title I) students General purpose flex item funds per student Elementary High school Unified http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 28 SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE ; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: Includes all specialized programs from Table 1, except regional occupation centers and programs (ROCP), a regional program, and programs that do not support school districts or for which data was unavailable. Excludes six districts with more than $1,500 per ADA in targeted flex item programs; these districts are predominantly small elementary districts with fewer than 2 51 ADA. SOURCE S: 2009 Principal Apportionment Summary and Funding Results (various programs), CDE; Deferred Maintenance Program funding, Office of Public School Construction . NOTES: Includes adult programs from Table 1, TCBG, and ROCP. Administration programs in Table 1 do not fund school districts. Recommendation Three: C onsider Some Restrictions on Flexible Funds Loosening restrictions for some programs is not advocating that there should be no restrictions. If the legislature set per pupil rates that could be equalized over time, one option would be to simply fold some or all flex ible funds into reve nue limit funding, a logical option if the funds support general purposes. However, the state has placed restriction s on flexible funding for many reasons. One has been to ensure that the funds do not sup port general salary increases. As noted earlier, salary increases or salary renegotiations 0 250 500 750 1,000 1,250 1,500 010 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA ) Percent disadvantaged (Title I) students Targeted flex item categorical funds per student Elementary High school Unified 0 250 500 750 1,000 1,250 1,500 0 10 203040506070 Funds per student ($/ADA) Percent disadvataged (Title I) students Other flex item categorical funds per student Elementary High school Unified http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 29 in many districts’ employment contracts are triggered when general purpose funding increases. This concern is not solely held at the state le vel. In their survey of 49 school district superintendents, Sonstelie, Rose, and Reinhard (2006) found that superintendents prefer some flexible restricted funds to unrestricted funding because they fear that unrestricted funds would go entirely to unjustified increases in employee compensation. P reventing local administrators from increasing salaries may not be a good state polic y, but funds in the flex item were restricted from such uses prior to the 2009 Budget Act. The legislature could consider turning the flex item into a block grant that would provide comparable flexibil ity while mitigating concerns over collective bargaining . Evaluate Flexibility Moreover, the flex item is not the first time the state has provided additional flexibility over categorical revenues. Five major efforts are described in more detail in Technical Appendix A, but, generally, these previous policies offered little additional flexibility and were deemed unsuccessful in evaluations by the L AO and the s tate auditor . One important takeaway wa s the lack of substantive evaluation in those earlier efforts. Evaluation, if any , consisted of district surveys or analysis of the program’s implementation rather than the effect of flexibility on desired outcomes . Evaluation of the flex item is similarly limited to district surveys because the flexibility legislation changed the procedures for reporting categorical revenues and expenditures. 34 School districts are required to report expenditures of funds using the Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS). Prior to the flexibility provisions, many categorical programs were assigned specific individual revenue and expenditure codes. Following the flexibility provisions, revenue codes for the flexed categorical programs were terminated. This mean t that the state and researchers can no longer track how districts spend specific categorical revenues in any systematic way. It is possible to track general changes in expenditures, but nearly impossible to determine how individ ual program expenditures change, other than by total dollars spent on the program . Reinstating SACS reporting procedures for the duration of the flex item would enable the state to better understand how districts have prioritized funding and individual programs. It would also enable better evaluation of specific programs. For example, if 70 percent of districts report shifting funds away from supplemental instruction programs designed to help students pass the high school exit exam ( LAO 2011), did the exam passage rate in fact change in those districts? 35 If the state extended flexibility to pupil transportation, would districts see a decline in student attendance rates? These types of evaluations — marking a shift from compliance -based to outcomes- based—would better inform state decisions over whether flexibility can be granted to particular categorical programs. Currently, there is little evidence that categorical programs achieve their intended purposes and outcomes. According to the LAO (2011) , “This is in part because programs are so rarely evaluated.” Until the state implements substantive evaluations, it will be difficult to determine whether districts , when given increased local control over revenues , will serve what the state believes are the best interest of students. 34 This is not to denigrate survey data or the surveys; they provide representative information about how districts choose to sp end flexible revenues and how the flexibility affects district decision making. To date, the LAO (2010b, 2011) has r eleased the results from two statewide district surveys on the flex item. A group of researchers affiliated with the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) network plan to release a case study of the flex item’s implementation in 10 districts and results from their own statewide survey. 35 There are two programs aimed at helping students pass the CAHSEE after having failed on the first attempt. A supplemental ins truction (summer school) program, and the CAHSEE intensive services program. The LAO fo und in their 2011 survey that 75 percent of districts shifted funds away from supplemental instruction and 63 percent of districts shifted funds from the CAHSEE supplemental instruction. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 30 Conclusion Under the California Constitution, the responsibility for K– 12 education rests with the state. For most of its history, K –12 education was financed and controlled at the local level, and the state provided limited supplemental aid. Serrano and other court decisions and Proposition 13 shifted the responsibility of funding local schools to the state. The state gradually assumed more control over funding decisions through categorical programs. But the state has long struggled with its categorical funding system. Following m any years of growth in the number of categorical programs reforms were instituted that were designed to incr ease local authority over funds or to reduce the number of categorical programs . 36 Although not explicitly designated as categorical reform, the 2009 flexibility provisions provide unprecedented flexibility over approximately 30 percent of categorical reven ues and 10 percent of all K –12 revenues . However, these provisions are set to expire on June 30, 201 5, giving the state an opportunity to evaluate the flex item and determine whether to continue some form of increased local authority over education revenues. Favorable reactions to categorical flexibility from school districts may make it less likely that t he state will return to the categorical system that existed prior to the flexibility provisions. Districts report positive experiences with the flex item and a majority desire even greater flexibility over programs currently excluded from the flex item ( LAO 2010b , 2011). Despite this, the flexibility provisions in their current form pose many challenges. T he flex item was hastily created as a response to severe education budget cuts. The legislature now has the opportunity to deliberat e and consider any extension of the flex item in the context of broad, structural school finance reform. We recommend three ways to produce categorical flexibility better aligned with reform principles: consolidate funding and set per -pupil funding rates ; create clear criteria to determine whether a program is flexible; and consider making programs flexible through block grants. As the L AO (2011) points out, “E ven if the current flexibility structure were made permanent, the K –12 finance system would still have inherent flaws .” This report and its recommendations attempt to address the current categorical flexibility provisions in light of these flaws and to a id a transition to a more rational, equitable, and transparent , but still flexible, school finance system. 36 Detailed descriptions of five major efforts are included in T echnical Appendix A . http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 31 References Bersin, Alan, Michael W. Kirst, and Goodwin Liu. 2008. Getting beyond the Facts: Reforming California School Finance . Issue Brief. Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity, University of California, Berkeley School of Law . Available at www. law.berkeley.edu/files/GBTFissuebriefFINAL.pdf . 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Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1982. “Analysis of the 1982 –83 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” A vailable at www.lao.ca.gov /analysis/1982/10_k -12_1982.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1983. “Analysis of the 1983 –84 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1983/10_K -12_1983. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1984. “Analysis of the 1984 –85 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.g ov/analysis/1984/10_K -12_1984. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1985. “Analysis of the 1985 –86 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1985/10_k -12_1985.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1986. “A nalysis of the 1986– 87 Budget Bill: K–12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1986/10_k -12_86.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1987. “Analysis o f the 1987–88 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1987/10_k -12_1987.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1988. “Analysis of the 1988 –89 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1988/10_k -12_1988.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1989. “Analysis of the 1989 –90 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1989/10_k -12_1989.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1990. “Analysis of the 1990 –91 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1990/10_k -12_1990.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1991. “Analys is of the 1991 –92 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/1991/10_education_1991. pdf. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 32 Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1992. “Analysis of the 1992 –93 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1992/08_education_1992. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1993. “Analysis of the 1993 –94 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1993/06_k -12_1993.pdf. L egislative Analyst’s Office. 1993b. “ Reform of Categorical Education Programs: Principles and Recommendations.” Legislative Analyst’s Office. Available at www.lao.ca.gov . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1993b. “A Special Session Guide to K –12 Reform.” Legislative Analyst’s Office. Availab le at www.lao.ca.gov . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1994. “Analysis of the 1994 –95 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysi s_1994/K-12_Education_anl94. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1995. “Analysis of the 1 995–96 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www. lao.ca.gov/analysis_1995/K -12_Education_anl95.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1996. “Analysis of the 1996 –97 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1996/a96e. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1997. “Analysis of the 1997 –98 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1997/k12_ed_anal97. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1998. “Anal ysis of the 1998 –99 Budget Bill: K –12 Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1998/pdfs_anl98/k12_ed_anl98. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 1999. “Analysis of the 1999 –20 00 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_1999/education/education_anl99. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2000. “Analysis of the 2000 –20 01 Budget Bill: Educat ion.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2000/education/ed_anl00. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2001. “Analysis of the 2001 –02 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2001/education/ed_anl01. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2002. “Analysis of the 2002 –03 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2002/education/ed_anl02. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2003. “Analysis of the 2003 –04 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analys is_2003/education/ed_anl03. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2004. “Analysis of the 2004 –05 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2004/education/education_anl04.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2004b . “ Reforming K –12 Categorical Programs .” Presented to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1. Available at www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/education/2004/Categorical_Programs_041204. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2005. “Analysis of the 2005 –06 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2005/education/ed_anl05. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2006. “Analysis of the 2006 –07 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www. lao.ca.gov/analysis_2006/education/ed_anl06. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2007. “Analysis of the 2007 –08 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2007/education/ed_anl07. pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2008. “Analysis of the 2008 –09 Budget Bill: Education.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2008/educati on/ed_anl08.pdf. Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2009. “2009 –10 Budget Analysis Series: Proposition 98 Education Programs.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2009/education/ed_anl09.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2010b . “Year -One Survey: Update on School District Finance and Flexibility.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2010/edu/educ_survey/ed uc_survey_050410.pdf. http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 33 Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2010c. “Overview of the Proposition 98 Budget.” Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Handout, May 27, 2010. Available at www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/education/2010/Overview_of_the_Prop_98_Budget_52710.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office 2010d. “Education Mandates: Overhauling a Bro ken System.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2010/edu/educ_mandates/ed_mandates_020210. pdf. Legislative An alyst’s Office. 2011. “The 2011– 12 Budget Year-Two Survey: Up date on School District Finance in California.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/2011/education/ed_survey_two_020711.pdf . Legislative Analyst’s Office. 2011b. “Overv iew of Education Mandates.” Available at www.lao.ca.gov/handouts/education/2011/Overview_of_Education_Mandates_020111. pdf. Lipscomb, Stephen. 2009. “Special Ed ucation Financing in California: A Decade After Reform.” Public Policy Institute of California. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=790 . Little Hoover Commission. 1997. “Dollars and Sense: A Simple Approach to School Finance.” Available at www.lhc.ca.gov/studies/143/report143.pdf . Mockler, John. 1987. Testimony to the Governor’s Commission on Educational Quality. Available at www.cde.ca.gov /nr/re/hd. O’Connell, Jack. 2009. “2009 Budget Act and Related Legislation.” Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and County Chief Business Officers (August 28). Available at www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/2009budgetact.asp . Picus, Lawrence O. 1991. “Incentive Funding Programs and School District Response: California and Senate Bill 813.” Educational E valuation and Policy Analysis 13 (3): 289 –308. Rose, Heather, Jon Sonstelie and Margaret Weston. 2010. “ Pathways for School Finance in California .” Public Policy Institute of California. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=923 . Timar, Thomas B. 1994. “Politics, Policy, and Categorical Aid: New Inequities in California School Finance.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis: 16 (2): 14 3–60. Getting Down to Facts project, Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice, Stanford University. Available at http://irepp.stanford.edu/projects/cafinance -studies.htm . Timar, Thomas B. 2002. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want: School Governance in California .” UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access. Available at www.escholarship.org/uc/item/050609xs . Timar, Thomas B. 2006. “Financing K –12 Education in California. A System Overview.” Weston, Margaret, Jon Sonstelie, and Heather Rose. 2009. “California School Finance Revenue Manual.” Public Policy Institute of California. Available at www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=893 . http://www. ppic.org /main/home.asp .asp California’s New School Funding Flexibility 34 About the Author Margaret Weston is a research associate at the Public Policy Institute of Californ ia’s Sacramento Center, where her work focuses on K –12 school finance . Before joining PPIC, she taught high school English and drama in Baltimore City Public Scho ols through Teach For America. She holds a master’s degree in teaching from Johns Hopkins University and a ma ster of public policy degree from the University of Michigan. Acknowledg ments I thank Brian Edwards, Richard Greene, Hans Johnson, Kim R ueben, Heather Rose, Tom Timar, and Lynette Ubois for their valuable comments while reviewing a previous draft. PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA Board of Directors John E. Bryson, Chair Retired Chairman and CEO Edison International Mark Baldassare President and CEO Public Policy Institute of California Ruben Barrales President and CEO San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce María Blanco Vice President, Civic Engagement California Community Foundation Gary K. Hart Former State Senator and Secretary of Education State of California Robert M. Hertzberg Partner Mayer Brown LLP Walter B. Hewlett Director Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities Donna Lucas Chief Executive Office r Lucas Public Affairs David Mas Masumoto Author and farmer Steven A. Merksamer Senior Partner Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni, LLP Constance L. Rice Co -Director The Advancement Project Thomas C. Sutton Retired Chairman and CEO Pacific Life Insurance Company The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute’s goal is to raise public awar eness and to give elected representatives and other decisionmakers a more informed basis for developing policies and programs. The institute’s research focuses on the underlying forces shaping California’s future, cutting across a wide range of public poli cy concerns, including economic development, education, environment and resources, governance, population, public finance, and social and health policy. PPIC is a private operating foundation. It does not take or support positions on any ballot measures or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office. PPIC was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. Mark Baldassare is President and Chief Executive Officer of PPIC. John E. Bryson is Chair of the Board of Directors. Short sections of text, not to exceed three paragraphs, may be quoted without written permission provided that full attribution is given to the source and the above copyright noti ce is included. Research publications reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Directors of the Public Policy Institute of California. © 2011 Public Policy Institute of California All r ights reserved. San Francisco, CA PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94111 phone: 415.291.4400 fax: 415.291.4401 www.ppic.org PPIC SACRAMENTO CENT ER Senator Office Building 1121 L Street, Suite 801 Sacramento, California 95814 phone: 916.440.1120 fax: 916.440.1121" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 09:40:36" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(8) "r_511mwr" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:40:36" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 09:40:36" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["guid"]=> string(50) "http://148.62.4.17/wp-content/uploads/R_511MWR.pdf" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_mime_type"]=> string(15) "application/pdf" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["attachment_authors"]=> bool(false) }