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ACSA Analysis of Budget Proposal

DOF’s Funding Formula Assumptions Raise Questions

March 14, 2013

With the release of data by the Department of Finance on the implementation of the governor’s proposed Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the Association of California School Administrators’ Legislative Advocate Adonai Mack has issued an analysis that addresses several items and assumptions.

The data provided at www.dof.ca.gov in a PDF document includes all school districts and charter schools. However, county offices of education are excluded. Basic Aid districts and state designated “Necessary Small Schools” are included.

The data includes the Average Daily Attendance from 2011-12; percentages of students receiving free and reduced-price lunch and English learners; total ADA from all revenue sources for 2011-12; per ADA amounts as implemented by the LCFF for 2013-14 and 2014-15; and the per ADA amount at full implementation – also known as the district target amount – in 2020-21.

Mack notes the DOF made several assumptions in the creation of these estimates. These assumptions will assist in explaining why the data may look considerably different from any calculation an individual district may complete independently. These include:

• English learner and free and reduced-price lunch calculation is assumed using a percentage split of 76/24 of unduplicated students. This means the DOF assumed that 76 percent of English learners also receive free and reduced-price lunch and 24 percent are English learners only. This impacts the calculation of the final implementation target.

• The grade-span numbers for the base grant is an average ADA amount across all grade spans calculated. For example, the K-3 grade span is not a calculation based on each grade level ADA, but instead the average ADA for the students in the entire K-3 grade span.

• The target or “full implementation” amount includes the supplemental grant and concentration grant.

• The allocation of $1.6 billion for this proposal appears to increase funding for most districts by 3 percent. Again, this is an average adjustment given their data and assumptions.

• Flat ADA throughout the implementation period.

“Given these assumptions, there are still missing items in the estimates that ACSA believes are necessary to truly gauge the impact of this reform,” Mack said. “First, the document fails to provide information that shows the supplemental and concentration grant amounts. While the amounts are included in the final implementation number, it would be more useful to see the calculation and amounts provided in order to determine the final targeted number.

“Also, this document is in PDF format and not in a spreadsheet format; therefore, it is challenging to review the calculations for accuracy and transparency purposes.”

Mack’s entire analysis is available at www.acsa.org/a dvocacy in the “State Budget” section. As the budget conversations intensify, ACSA will keep members apprised of any changes. If you have any questions regarding the estimates, proposal or assumptions, please contact Adonai Mack at amack@acsa.org.

Source:  Association of California School Administrators.