HomePublicationGlendalePortantino Bill Links Extra School Funding to Enrollment

Portantino Bill Links Extra School Funding to Enrollment

First published in the Jan. 8 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino announced a bill this week that would provide supplemental funding to K-12 schools based on student enrollment numbers.
California is one of only six states that does not consider student enrollment figures for determining state aid to school districts.
Districts plan their budgets and expend funds based on the number of students enrolled but only receive funds based on their average daily attendance. For example, if a school district enrolls 100 students but its attendance rate is 95%, the district will only receive funding for 95 students.
Senate Bill 830, which Portantino — whose district includes South Pasadena — announced on Monday, would effectively base schools’ funding on their average daily student enrollment. The bill would define that average as the amount of the aggregate enrollment days for all students in a school district, from transitional kindergarten to grade 12, divided by the total number of instructional days for the district in an academic year.
SB 830 would allow an educational agency to receive the difference between what they would have received under a funding formula based on average daily enrollment and what they received under the current funding formula based on average daily attendance for that fiscal year. A portion of the bill would prevent schools from receiving less money than the current system provides.
Half of any additional funding schools receive would have to go toward addressing chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy.
“With the state anticipating a $31 billion surplus, it is critical that increasing K-12 education funding be front and center in those discussions,” Portantino said in a news release. “We are currently using an outdated system that only considers student attendance. Now is the perfect time to implement structural reforms that will benefit every school district in California.
“The pandemic will have long-lasting impacts on student achievement and mental health. It is important more than ever that we ensure students are in school and are receiving the support they need to learn and thrive. SB 830 aims to achieve this goal.”
Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education President Kelly Gonez and California School Employees Association President Matthew “Shane” Dishman, whose organizations are sponsoring the bill, joined the senator in support of SB 830.
“When students are facing trauma, economic uncertainty or dangerous routes to school, the simple act of showing up to class isn’t so simple,” Gonez said. “The proposed legislation would provide more equitable funding so school districts like L.A. Unified can meet students’ needs and address the root causes of absenteeism. We need these critical resources to ensure all students receive support to be in class and learning every day.”
In order for a local educational agency to be eligible for supplemental educational funding, SB 830 would require it to report its average daily enrollment for the prior academic year to the state superintendent on July 1 and to demonstrate a “maintenance of effort” to address chronic absenteeism and habitual truancy. Schools could apply for the extra funding starting in the 2023-24 fiscal year.
“Our current attendance-based funding system takes resources away from schools in lower-income communities because they experience higher rates of absenteeism,” Dishman said. “Our members, including instructional assistants and attendance clerks, know that student absences actually cost money and demand additional resources to track down absent students and prepare make-up assignments. The truth is attendance-based funding punishes students in schools that most need the state’s financial support. That is why CSEA is co-sponsoring this bill to move to enrollment-based funding so that California schools will be funded equitably and have greater financial stability and predictability.”

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