80% of School Districts Able to Retain Arts & Music

Note: During the recent highly contested campaign for a school parcel tax in the Pasadena Unified School District no mention was made that the California legislature collapsed 40 previously categorical programs into a “flex item” that can be applied at the discretion of each school district to “core” classroom spending. This freed up 38% of the previous categorical or restricted funds for flexible use (see list below of permissible “flex items”). Local school districts, however, are required to hold a public hearing about where the “flex item” funding will be spent.

What we were apparently not told during PUSD’s Measure CC campaign was that the previous categorical block grants for “school and library improvement” and “music and arts” were collapsed into the new “flex item” fund. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) about 20% of school districts have eliminated arts and music programs but 80% found a way to retain them.

Funding for K-3 class size reduction, child nutrition, and English Language Acquisition remain protected. Read excerpt below from LAO:

February 2009 Budget Package Suspends Many Categorical Program Requirements. Prior to 2008–09, the state separately funded approximately 60 K–12 categorical programs. For each of these categorical programs, school districts were required to use program monies to meet associated program requirements. Chapter 2, Statutes of 2009 (ABX4 2, Evans), essentially combined approximately 40 of these categorical programs into a “flex item” (see Figure 1 below). That is, a single statutory code section referenced all 40 programs and allowed school districts to shift funds among the 40 categorical programs or redirect the funds and use for any other educational purpose. (Colloquially, these programs are sometimes referred to as Tier 3 programs.) Local governing boards are required to discuss and approve the proposed use of these flexed funds at a regularly scheduled open public hearing. From a fiscal perspective, the flex item effectively converted $4.5 billion, or 38 percent of all categorical funding, from restricted to unrestricted monies. School districts are granted this flexibility from 2008–09 through 2012–13. The state continues to separately fund the remaining approximately 20 categorical programs (see Figure 2 above)—reflecting $7.5 billion, or 62 percent, of all categorical funding. (Colloquially, these programs are sometimes referred to as Tier 1 programs, if they were not subject to funding reductions in recent years, or Tier 2 progams, if they were subject to reductions.) Funding for these excluded programs remains linked to all associated program requirements.

You can also find the full report here.

Program

2009–10

Funding

Targeted Instructional Improvement Block Grant

$855

Adult education

635

Regional Occupational Centers and Programs

385

School and Library Improvement Block Grant

370

Supplemental instruction

336

Instructional Materials Block Grant

334

Deferred maintenance

251

Professional Development Block Grant

218

Grade 7–12 counseling

167

Charter schools categorical block grant

136

Teacher Credentialing Block Grant

90

Arts and Music Block Grant

88

School Safety Block Grant

80

Ninth–Grade Class Size Reduction

79

Pupil Retention Block Grant

77

California High School Exit Exam supplemental instruction

58

California School Age Families Education

46

Professional Development Institutes for Math and English

45

Gifted and Talented Education

44

Community Day Schools

42

Community Based English Tutoring

40

Physical Education Block Grant

34

Alternative Credentialing/Internship programs

26

Peer Assistance and Review

24

School Safety Competitive Grants

14

California Technology Assistance Projects

14

Certificated Staff Mentoring

9

County offices of education Williams audits

8

Specialized Secondary Programs

5

Principal Training

4

American Indian Education Centers

4

Oral health assessments

4

Advanced Placement fee waivers

2

National Board certification incentive grants

2

Bilingual teacher training assistance program

2

American Indian Early Education Program

1

Reader services for blind teachers

a

Center for Civic Education

a

Teacher dismissal apportionments

a

California Association of Student Councils

a

Total

$4,529

a Statewide, less than $500,000 is spent on each of these programs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *