Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond co-authored an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee arguing for greater efficiency and equity in California’s school funding system through transition to a weighted pupil formula. Last month, Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser of Long Beach Unified School District wrote a similar op-ed published in the Long Beach Press Telegram and the Los Angeles Daily News.
Raymond and Steinhauser explain that the state’s highly rigid, compliance-oriented categorical funds restrict districts’ creative or entrepreneurial approaches to meet the needs of their students in a time of increasingly scarce resources. Furthermore, despite the intention of providing additional resources to high-needs students, the state’s current system of categorical funding is failing to ensure equity in opportunities or outcomes. Lastly, Raymond and Steinhauser outline key qualities that should be incorporated into a weighted pupil formula to ensure equity, transparency, accountability, and efficiency in school funding that translates to improved learning opportunities and improved achievement for all students.
The op-eds voice similar sentiments to the California Collaborative on District Reform’s May 2012 letter to the Governor, which draws on ten member districts’ direct experience with navigating the allocation of funding to meet student needs. Additionally, Raymond, Steinhauser, and the Collaborative as a whole emphasize the need for a continued focus on an adequate amount of funding for all districts regardless of the funding formula.