Valley school districts react to Brown's latest proposal

FRESNO, Calif.

Most are anticipating an increase in state money for local schools. But some districts may stand to benefit more than others.

Sanger Unified Superintendent Marc Johnson says it's about time. "We've been dealing with a dramatically flawed funding system in this state for over 30 years and my question in Sacramento has been why are my kids worth less to you than the children of my neighbors?"

For the first time in his career, he says the state is making a legitimate effort to meet the needs of one of it's most vulnerable populations. "In Sanger Unified three of every four children come to us from poverty, one in four is considered an English language learner."

If Governor Jerry Brown's latest budget proposal is approved, Sanger stands to gain around 16 million dollars over the next six years. That's because it not only calls for across-the-board education funding from proposition 30, but it shifts more funds to districts with high numbers of low-income students and English learners.

Clovis on the other hand, would be one of a few districts in the area not to benefit from the new funding formula. That's because Associate Superintendent Steve Ward says the district has fewer students who fall under the two categories. "Using the department of finance's data, we're going to be somewhere between $25 and $30 million dollars less as a district when all is fully implemented. Our surrounding districts, they're going to get anywhere from $500 to $1,000 dollars more per student. So the difference in funding between the districts is going to be huge."

He spent the day in Sacramento calling on the assembly to make changes to the funding-formula, keeping the current process in place for another year, while allowing more time to work out the details of the new plan.

Action News also checked in with Fresno Unified. Officials there told us 82% of it's student population is at or below the poverty level or are English learners. It would also gain millions of dollars under the governor's proposal.

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