LBUSD-backed flexibility bill makes its way to Senate Appropriations Committee

The funding flexibility bill (SB 1396), which was sponsored by Long Beach Unified School District and introduced by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), cleared the Senate Education Committee last week on a 7—0 vote with bipartisan support.
The bill relaxes requirements on categorical funds, which are allocated via strict state funding formulas that earmark dollars for specific educational programs. School districts have long argued that because of the inflexibility regarding the use of these funds, public schools cannot efficiently manage their resources.
The bill will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Christine Kehoe (D—San Diego). That 11-member committee will likely take up the bill within the next two weeks.
“We thank senators Romero, Lowenthal and their fellow legislators who, by supporting our bill, recognize that we can no longer defend the status quo,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools for LBUSD. “It’s time to give our schools the flexibility we need to make the best use of our increasingly limited resources. This bill will create a pilot program with great accountability, and it will help us to accelerate the closing of achievement gaps.”
LBUSD partnered with Lowenthal to introduce the bill in February as a way to mitigate ongoing, multi-billion-dollar cuts in state funding for education. The school district also hopes to use the legislation to save jobs here, as hundreds of LBUSD teachers and other employees face layoffs for next school year.


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