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More funds coming to local schools
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The Turlock Unified School District is going to be getting a budget boost for the upcoming school year thanks to a new state law, but just exactly how much will be coming to the school district and the restrictions attached remain an unknown.

At Tuesday’s TUSD Board meeting, trustees heard a presentation outlining some of the general principles of the Local Control Funding Formula, which is allowing for more education spending across the state.

The goal behind Local Control Funding Formula is to put more control in how funds are spent in the hands of the school districts and eliminate some of the state bureaucratic red tape.

The funding formula provides four base grants to bring down class sizes in kindergarten through third grade and provide career technical education at the high school level.

California’s 2013-14 budget allocates $55.3 billion for K-12 education and community colleges. The Local Control Funding Formula will add about $2.1 billion to that tally. School districts with higher percentages of English language learners, economically disadvantaged students and foster youth will receive the bulk of the additional funding through supplemental and concentration grants.

Under the funding formula, school districts will receive additional funding if the number of qualifying students is in excess of 50 percent of the total enrollment. TUSD’s qualifying students make up 67.7 percent of the total enrollment said Lori Decker, the district’s assistant superintendent of financial services.

For TUSD the new funding formula could generate an additional $4.3 million for the budget, some of which has already been incorporated into the current budget, leaving an estimated $3.5 million coming in over the adopted budget, Decker said.

“We will benefit from Local Control Funding Formula,” Decker said.

Exactly how that money will be spent is still being determined. The California Board of Education has until Jan. 31, 2014, to decide on what restrictions will be placed on the funds. It has already established the school districts have to spend the same amount this school year on adult education, transportation, and special education as they did the previous year.

“It’s still anyone’s best guess as to what guidelines they’ll set down,” Decker said.