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California could change how schools are funded

The full story is on the LA Times article below, but there could be a paywall for some people.

Currently, public schools are funded by attendance in school. That is why it is so important for kids to show up. If kids miss school, then the schools get less money.

A new bill proposed by State Sen. Anthony Portantino would change that. Funding for schools would be based on enrollment, not attendance.

California has long funded its 1,000-plus school districts based on how often students show up to class instead of a total head count of those enrolled. The policy has been promoted as a way to hold schools accountable for student absences. But supporters of the new bill, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, say that an enrollment-based policy is less volatile and will allow schools to tap into more money and better plan for spending.

The question is will this reduce accountability to ensure that students still attend school? From the story: Twelve percent of California’s 6 million-plus K-12 students were marked “chronically absent” in 2018-19, meaning they missed at least 10% of the school year. The chronic absenteeism rate for Black students was more than double that of white students.

To address absentee concerns, Portantino’s proposal requires that at least half of any new funds schools receive under the new policy be put toward combating chronic absenteeism and truancy.
No schools would lose money under the proposal. They can only receive the same or more money.

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