The State Assembly bill seeks to preserve, increase school funding amid pandemic – Press Enterprise

A package of proposed legislation has been introduced by an assembly member in South Bay to help state school districts deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Assembly laws of 1607, 1609, and 1614 would provide the districts with the economic stability they need to keep schools running through the public health crisis.

“We have 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 kept fiscally harmless from short-term declines in attendance as more and more students become ill.”

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

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

AB 1609 would keep school districts fiscally harmless from short-term declines in participation during the pandemic, extending the state’s previously harmless rule of loss of participation.

And AB 1614 would add $ 4.2 billion to the state‚Äôs basic appropriation for schools for the fiscal year 2022-2023. The Legislative Analysts Office recently predicted that the state budget for 2022-23 will have an additional $ 9.5 billion available for ongoing school district costs, Muratsuchi’s press release said.

School districts across the state have for years called for an increase in basic funding to give them greater flexibility, Muratsuchi said. An increase in the basic grant will also trigger a jump in supplementary grants.

AB 1614, if approved, would also aim to place California among the top 10 states in K-12 spending per capita. pupil, it is stated in Muratsuchi’s publication.

The pandemic caused both enrollment and participation to fall in California’s school districts.

Enrollment in the Los Angeles Unified School District, for example, fell by more than 20,000 students from the academic year 2019-20 to 2020-21, according to state education data.

LAUSD officials support the proposed legislation, a spokesman for the district said.

Enrollment dropped by more than 1,000 from 2019-20 to 2020-21 for both Garden Grove Unified, Orange County and Riverside Unified; these districts are about 14 times smaller than LAUSD, so a drop of 1,000 students in enrollment for them is much more significant.

In contrast, enrollment in all three of these districts remained relatively stable from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

RUSD has also seen a small drop in attendance in the past year, district spokeswoman Diana Meza said.

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