School Finance

Resource Needs for California’s English Learners

This paper focuses on linguistic minority (LM) students who come from households where a language other than English is spoken. In particular, it examines the amount and type of resources English learners (ELs)—those LM students who are not yet proficient in English—need in order to have the opportunity to meet the same achievement standards as other students. This report addresses the following specific questions:

Considering Special Education Adequacy in California

Expenditures continue to rise for students with disabilities, making special education an increasingly important component of education funding. This study explores the issue of
special education adequacy through two questions:

  1. What analytical techniques exist for estimating the cost of an adequate education for special education students?
  2. How might these techniques be applied to estimate costs for special education students in California, and how do those estimates compare to current expenditures?

Aligning School Finance with Academic Standards: A Weighted-Student Formula Based on a Survey of Practitioners

This study uses budget simulations completed by teachers, principals, and district superintendents to answer a central question: What resources do California schools need to ensure that more students meet the academic standards set by the state? Answering this question requires addressing several intermediate questions:

Efficiency and Adequacy in California School Finance: A Professional Judgment Approach

This report presents the results of a “professional judgment” panel study focused on answering a central question: What is the cost of providing all California public school students
with access to the California content standards and the opportunity to achieve proficiency levels established by the California State Board of Education? The study addresses several intermediate questions:

Assessing the Costs of K-12 Education in California Public Schools

The objective of this study is to estimate the costs for California districts to meet the achievement goals set for them by the state and examine how these costs vary across districts with different student characteristics. The author asks:

  1. What do the data show about the current relationship in California school districts between spending and both costs and student outcomes?
  2. What would it cost for California districts to meet the achievement goals set for them by the state, and how do these costs vary across districts with different student characteristics?

Successful California Schools in the Context of Educational Adequacy

This study explores the extent to which student outcomes in successful schools can be attributed to the amount or type of resources received or to the use and allocation of resources in those schools. The study focuses on several questions:

  1. How can particularly successful and particularly unsuccessful schools be identified in California, and how common are these schools?
  2. What resource differences can be observed between successful schools and other schools?
  3. What factors appear related to success?

Bringing the State and Locals Together: Developing Effective Data Systems in California School Districts

Public education in the U.S. is placing higher and higher value on the collection, presentation, and use of data as an important component of an effort to improve the nation’s schools. Policy makers are actively using data to evaluate programs and using research to design programs and interventions. This is in sharp contrast with past practice in which leaders often cited data to support pre-formulated positions. With the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act, states are also collecting and disaggregating data in order to track the achievement of different groups of students.