Poll: Most Parents Ill-Informed About Big Changes in School Funding

By Alex Gronke 

As state education officials launch an overhaul of public school funding that explicitly calls on school districts to include parents in spending decisions, a majority of parents are unfamiliar with key aspects of the new law, according to a telephone survey of more than 1,000 parents.

Conducted by EdSource, the survey also found that a majority of parents in California give their children’s schools an A or a B, three out of four parents claim to be involved in their children’s schools and 76 percent support the Local Control Funding Formula once the details of the new law are summarized for them.

While involvement and satisfaction increased with household income, 61 percent of all parents said they would be prepared to commit one to three hours a week participating in spending decisions at their children’s schools.

“Because of what we know about the strong link between parent involvement and academic outcomes, it is reassuring that parents from all income levels want to be involved,'' said EdSource executive director Louis Freedberg said in a press release. "The challenge facing California’s education leaders is how to ensure that all of them have the opportunity to do so."

In addition to affording school districts more freedom in how they spend money, the Local Control Funding Formula awards more money to school districts with higher numbers of poor students and students learning English. It also restores to all school districts the funding levels they had before the Great Recession.

According to estimates made in February by the California Department of Finance, Pacifica School District will receive $8,535 per student in 2020 compared to the $6,102 the district was scheduled to receive from the state this school year. Jefferson Union High will receive $10,153 per student in 2020 compared to the $7,591 the district was scheduled to receive for the 2013-2014 school year.

Want to know more about the Local Control Funding Formula? Here’s a guide from EdSource.


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