One Size Doesn’t fit all when it comes to Rural School Funding
Assemblywoman Dahle introduces AB 2651 to provide much needed financial support andstability to California’s smallest school districts
SACRAMENTO – According to the California Department of Education, there are a total of 142 schools that elected to be funded as a Necessary Small School (NSS) in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Given their small size, these schools are funded differently than others and are located in areas were topographical conditions and distance impose unusual hardship in traveling to campus.
NSS funding is calculated based on average daily attendance (ADA), and current law allows for a NSS to base their ADA on the prior year or current year in order to provide a buffer of funding in the event that they experience an unexpected drop in their ADA from year to year. However, the current one year buffer has proven insufficient to protect funding necessary to ensure these schools stay open. Over the course of two years, a NSS may lose several students due to natural attrition, which can result in over a $50,000 cut to that school’s funding. This has detrimental consequences, as many of these schools’ costs are fixed regardless of ADA fluctuation.
“My two eldest sons graduated from a High School with 52 students and as a former member of the Big Valley Joint Unified School Board, I have an intimate understanding of the unique challenges facing a these schools.” Said Dahle. “There are 37 Necessary Small Schools located in my district and I constantly hear from local school administrators about the funding challenges they face. The current buffer allowed a Necessary Small School is insufficient, and AB 2651 provides the fix. It extends the buffer for a NSS, allowing them to use the current or prior fiscal year or select the best of the three prior fiscal years when calculating their ADA. This will provide more flexibility and security to ensure Necessary Small Schools receive the funding they need to continue serving our students.”
Assemblywoman Dahle serves on the Assembly Education Committee, which will consider AB 2651 this spring.
Assemblywoman Megan Dahle represents the 1st Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes portions of Butte and Placer counties, along with Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, and Siskiyou counties.