A bill in the California legislature would increase funding for education in juvenile halls and alternative high schools to prepare at-risk youth for college and future employment, reported The Sacramento Bee.
Assembly Bill 906 would change the funding structure for these programs, which is currently determined by average daily attendance. The new bill would instead set baseline funding, giving more predictability and stability for the finances of these programs. The funding model that uses daily attendance negatively affects funding of schools whose students stay for short periods, according to the article.
Baseline funding, which works by creating a set minimum — a base — of funds allocated for each recipient, would add predictability and stability for such schools, removing the ups and downs of funding for schools with temporarily placed students.
Many educators believe that the current model does not support at–risk students who need to continue their learning while in juvenile detention or in continuation high schools, the article said.
“Students in our juvenile halls deserve quality education, that’s how we turn their lives around,” said Gina Cuclis, the president of the California County Boards of Education and a member of the Sonoma County Board of Education. “If you create a base, you won’t have to worry about declining enrollment,” she added. Cuclis called the bill a game changer for youth.
Kindra Britt, of the California County Superintendent’s office, said that the funding would enhance existing programs. “The additional base funding will go toward highly specialized teachers, para-educators, counselors, mental health professionals, and others who serve students,” the Bee reports.
The California School Board Association co-sponsored the bill, authored by Mike Gipson (D-Carson). About 400 school board members lobbied March 9-10 for this bill and for other bills.