The Center’s CA Insights – 2017-18:

In the Funding domain, we hear from district leaders about how they find and use the money needed to support California State Standards implementation at their sites. Based on their responses, we unpack key dimensions of implementation funding including funding sources and funding stability.

Finding 1

Sources: Districts rely on a creative mix of funding sources to cover standards implementation costs, some of which will soon be expiring.

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The Role of Temporary Funding Sources

Although most districts rely on fixed funding streams to support standards implementation, such as Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars, many are funding implementation needs from unsustainable sources. Over 40 percent of districts cited grants from external funders as a source of implementation support, and over a third of districts cited one-time state funding sources, such as the Educator Effectiveness Grant, which will be depleted by the end of the 2017-18 school year.

According to interviews with district leaders, districts use temporary funding to pay for a variety of implementation needs, including professional learning costs, teachers on special assignment (TOSAs), and instructional materials.

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What District Leaders Had to Say about Funding Sources

We’re using [one-time funding that is ending this year] to pay for the TOSA, along with other training for teachers… I’m going to [have to] desperately find funding because we need her. More than anything, she has the respect and the trust, which takes years to build… We cannot move forward without that position.”

“We actually planned in our LCAP when our grant runs out and we have one coach that is funded out of our math grant. She’s already slated to come out of LCAP next year, so we’re preserving the position.”

[the Teacher Effectiveness] grant is ending. [Another] grant [is] ending for us… We’re rolling things into our LCAP where they haven’t been in LCAP before. When you do that, then it’s like, ‘What’s going to have to be shored up so that we can use the LCAP money to help support teacher induction, CTE, Linked Learning Academies?’ I always worry, What does that mean then in terms of priority standards and curriculum work and assessment work? Is that going to fall short in terms of trying to support these other pieces?’”

Funding Sources Glossary

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) consists of base funds (depending on the students enrolled in the district), supplemental funds (based on the number of unduplicated students who are foster youth, English learners, or low-income), and concentration funds (if unduplicated students account for 55% or more of enrollment in the district).

Title I funds schools with high amounts of children from low-income families.

Title II funds teacher training on academic subjects and strategies.

Title III funding supports English learners (ELs) attainment of English language proficiency.

One-time funding is government funding to spend at any time over a defined period, such as the Effective Educator funding being available to districts for three years.

Grants are disbursed by a government department, corporation, or foundation, to local education agencies.

Fundraising or community support is the practice of raising money to support educational programs by schools or school groups.

Finding 2

Stability: Despite some reliance on funding sources that will soon disappear, nearly three quarters of districts believe their funding is moderately stable.

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A Tale of Three Districts

District A – High Confidence in Funding Stability

  • Size: Small Town
  • English learners: 49%
  • FRL-eligible: 83%

“I would say our normal funding sources would put us at sustainable, and then our grants push us up to surplus… We haven’t really had a hit with any of the changes, so far, to funding because of our population. We actually find that we’re pretty well funded. But then, to do extra things, we often go after grants to help support them.”

District B – Moderate Confidence in Funding Stability

  • Size: Large Suburb
  • English learners: 18%
  • FRL-eligible: 31%

We utilize some of the one-time money that we were able to park and save for curriculum adoptions. Not only have we used some of that to buy the actual materials but also to support the implementation of the curriculum… [however, it] hasn’t been enough to weather through these adoptions in an era where we’re not actually getting any money for them.

District C – Low Confidence in Funding Stability

  • Size: Small Suburb
  • English learners: 20%
  • FRL-eligible: 36%

“We are conservative in expenditure planning in order to ensure that we can deal with unforeseen shortfalls in allocations at state or federal level. We’re not depleted to the point that we’re below statutory reserve limit, but our trajectory will take us there within two years. [Preparing for that has] been a cornerstone of our PD for the last few years.”

Planning: When it comes to the Next Generation Science Standards, districts have a wide range of expectations regarding how much funding they plan to invest and receive.

What District Leaders Had to Say about NGSS Funding

Greater Cost Expected

“We’re mapping out our options”

“It’ll need to be more because it carries a bigger materials need. That’s of course based on some speculation of the cost of the actual programs themselves that’ll end up getting approved. We’ve looked at some of those in advance. There looks like there is going to be a range.”

Less Cost Expected

“We’re making a conscious decision not to prioritize NGSS”

“Our push and priority has been around English language arts and English language development. We are pouring a good amount of resources with our coaches, consultants, trainers, [and] staff development in general into that [as opposed to NGSS].”

Similar Cost Expected

“We’re making an investment, but details TBD”

“We spent a lot of time when NGSS came out using our funds to pool our teachers into specific professional days for NGSS standards. We have purchased curriculum to assist in the implementation of NGSS. I would say the only difference is having specific staff that are [dedicated to supporting NGSS]… We have math and ELA specialists at sites, but we do not have science specialists at site.”

Don’t Know Cost

“Wait and see”

“That’s something that just came up in an LCAP session I had last week is that we need to start making sure that we really start focusing on getting our teachers ready for NGSS and, of course, the curriculum that will be coming out soon.”

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