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Tony Smith Writes Op-Ed on School Finance Reform

January 2013

Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Tony Smith co-authored an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle arguing for state school finance reform to reduce current funding disparities among districts, increase local control over use of funds, and simplify the overly complex and burdensome state-mandated reporting obligations.  Smith explains that control over use of funds will help districts meet the unique needs of their students and keep up with increasing academic expectations, particularly in this time of scarce resources.  In addition to allocating a flat base rate per student, the authors support a formula which would provide additional resources to districts proportional to their numbers of low income and English learner students.  Such a system, Smith argues, would increase efficiency and transparency in the use of taxpayer dollars and increase accountability by giving district officials more authority over resource allocation decisions in order to better meet local needs.