By Ashly McGlone
SAN LEANDRO -- San Leandro schools should get $2.9 million more from the state this school year thanks to the governor's new local control funding formula.
The formula, which changes the way school districts are funded statewide, isn't all good news though, board members were told Tuesday.
Song Chin-Bendib, assistant superintendent of business and operations, said the money was already accounted for in this year's budget and district funding could be volatile year to year with changing student demographics and changes in the state's economy.
The formula funding system aims to give local districts more spending flexibility and allocates extra money to districts with large populations of English language learners, foster youth and students eligible for free and reduced lunches.
About 70 percent of San Leandro's 8,700 students meet at least one of those categories, but the district will not know how it can spend those funds, totaling $513,408, until the state Board of Education releases rules for spending them sometime before Jan. 31, officials said.
Board member Lance James lamented the state delay and restrictions, saying, "Give us the money that was originally promised without all the handcuffs."
Board member Corina Lopez called the funding system "ironic," since school districts, like San Leandro, that receive extra money for English language learners will lose the money if they reclassify students once they are proficient.
As it is, the influx will not prevent the district from deficit spending to the tune of $800,000 in the unrestricted general fund, Chin-Bendib said.
Districts must use some of the new formula funds to begin decreasing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to 24 students per teacher, a requirement that needs to be met at every campus by the 2020-21 school year.
In addition, board members were told the district will get an estimated $1.7 million in one-time funds to implement the Common Core State Standards over the next two years. The funds can be spent on professional development, instructional materials and technology to provide computer-based assessments; the state will begin testing common core standards on computers in 2014-15.
Ashly McGlone covers San Leandro, San Lorenzo, San Ramon and the Washington Township Health Care District. Contact her at 510-293-2463. Follow her at Twitter.com/AshlyReports.