State Assembly bills seek to preserve, boost school funding amid pandemic

A package of proposed legislation has been introduced by a South Bay assemblyman to help state school districts deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Assembly Bills 1607, 1609 and 1614 would give districts the financial stability they need to keep operating schools through the public health crisis.

“We need to do everything we can to support our schools, our families and our children during this ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, said in a statement when his office announced the three bills earlier this month. “School districts should be held fiscally harmless from short-term attendance declines as more and more students are getting sick.”

AB 1607 would require average daily attendance to be calculated based on the current and previous two fiscal years, beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

Under the current law, the state uses only average daily attendance for the most-recent academic year to calculate how much funding districts get. The more students who are out of school, the less money a district gets.

AB 1609 would hold school districts fiscally harmless from short-term attendance declines during the pandemic, extending the state’s previous harmless rule for attendance loss.

And AB 1614 would add $4.2 billion into the state’s base grant funding for schools for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The Legislative Analyst’s Office recently projected that the 2022-23 state budget will have an additional $9.5 billion available for ongoing school district costs, Muratsuchi’s press release said.

School districts throughout the state have for years been calling for an increase in base grant funding to give them greater flexibility, Muratsuchi said. An increase in the base grant would also trigger a jump in supplemental grants.

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AB 1614, if enavted, would also aim to place California among the top 10 states in K-12 per-pupil spending, Muratsuchi’s release said.

The pandemic caused both enrollment and attendance to decline across California …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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