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As the school year begins, districts in cities such as Oakland, Fresno and Los Angeles have not gone on a hiring spree.

But they might soon.

California has revamped its school funding formula in ways that will send billions more dollars to districts that educate large numbers of children who are poor, disabled in some way or still learning to speak English.

It's an approach that numerous other states, from New York to Hawaii, have looked into lately. But none has matched the scale of the change now underway in the nation's largest state.

It is perhaps the worst-kept secret in public education: Too many students leave school with a diploma in their hands, but without the knowledge in their heads they need to start college or pursue a meaningful career.

State board of education president Michael Kirst explains California's landmark new Local Control Funding Formula - the first overhaul in decades of the state's system for funneling money to schools.

“This changes almost everything,” said Michael Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education and professor emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, in opening his testimony on March 13 before the California State Senate Education Committee.

Governor Jerry Brown wants to dramatically restructure the way California allocates funding to schools by providing extra funds to districts with large numbers of needy students. But critics say the formula benefits mostly urban areas to the detriment of more affluent suburban districts. We'll discuss the plan and check in with some Bay Area school districts to get their response.

In proposing to give school districts money with fewer strings attached, Gov. Jerry Brown is confident that local school boards and superintendents are best able to make the right decisions so that all students can graduate ready for college and work. A report released today by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) questions that assumption. PACE is a joint research group based at UC Berkeley, Stanford and the University of Southern California.

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal aims to transform the way the state distributes money to schools.
Driving along Pacific Coast Highway, you can see the successive layers of earth and rock that have piled up over millions of years to create California's coastal landscape. You can see a similar but less attractive phenomenon if you look at the way California funds its public K-12 schools.
Over the last several decades, Sacramento has piled up layer upon layer of funding requirements in education, adding new regulations to the pile while leaving old ones in place.

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