ANTIOCH -- After urging parents to stay involved in the process of deciding where money should go and assuring that changes can be made as needed, Antioch school district trustees last week adopted a $157.2 million spending plan for the upcoming year.
This marks the first year school districts have implemented the state's new local control funding formula plan, which is aimed at giving extra help to districts with a large number of high-needs students. Under the formula, districts where more than 55 percent of students are low-income, English learners or foster youths receive grants for extra services.
Roughly 67 percent of Antioch Unified students fall under that category, and the district will receive $126.7 million in funds.
But putting together a plan has not been easy.
In recent weeks, a coalition of Antioch parents has asked the district to be more transparent about where that money will be doled out. Concerns remain about whether students may be shortchanged.
Antioch is receiving nearly $9.4 million beyond its base local control funding in supplemental and concentration grants to serve high-need students next year. Tim Forrester, associate superintendent of business services, said that all but $650,000 of that is already factored into its expenditures for trainings, counselors and other programs.
Patrice Guillory, an Antioch resident and representative of the advocacy organization Education Trust-West, asked for a recalculation of what qualifies as supplemental funds. Items such as textbooks and materials, computer lab hours and instructional materials should come out of the base funds, she said.
Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray said the current spending model needs to be revisited and that changes are still allowed, as it is a "living, breathing document."
"That $9 million ... may or may not be better spent in other places," she said. The district's budget includes about $5.4 million in deficit spending.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164.
Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.