LAFAYETTE -- Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to reshape school funding is just an idea at this point, but Lafayette schools Superintendent Fred Brill is already considering the possible impacts.
At a joint city council-school board meeting this week, the Lafayette school district's top official briefly shared his views about a plan that would increase state funding for some students (but not others) at public and charter schools.
And while officials and residents spent more time discussing traffic congestion near schools and additional ball fields in Lafayette, it's clear that funding remains a critical issue.
Brill leapt into the topic Monday evening.
Under the governor's "local control funding formula," state revenues would be redirected to schools with a higher population of English language learners and students living in poverty. "What that means ... is less resources would be flowing into our district than under the current funding formula," Brill explained.
If approved, the district's current budget -- which Brill said has been cut by roughly 22 percent over the past five years -- would become the "new normal."
"We're hoping to be made whole," Brill told school and city leaders.
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his proposal last month to address differences in school funding resulting from years of court rulings and legislation that has left some schools receiving more revenue than others.
According to the plan, districts would receive an additional 35 percent in funding each year for every English learner, foster youth and economically disadvantaged student. The increase would be on top of a base per-pupil amount
With their low concentration of such students, the Lafayette school district and others in Lamorinda would not receive as much additional state funding. The number of district students who qualify for free and reduced lunches in Lafayette is 2.8 percent; English learners account for a little more than 3 percent, Brill estimated. In neighboring Orinda and Moraga, those numbers are even lower.
"When you look at how much more of the additional revenues flow into our respective districts, some districts would be getting twice as much," the superintendent said in an interview. "I would have way less concern if we were not operating with a 22 percent deficit factor."
Despite the lack of additional funds, Lafayette and other wealthy districts in California would not lose funds. In fact, they could receive additional funding through property tax revenue growth. But Brill -- who said he's philosophically "in complete agreement" with the governor -- remains concerned.
"I admire the governor for taking a very bold, socially responsible stance," he said. "It's in the how and when that's really important."