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SteinbergAtHighSchool.jpgTop Democrats in the Legislature have poured cold water on proposed regulations to carry out the landmark overhaul of the state's school-funding formula.

Suggesting that the draft rules are "inconsistent with the intent and letter" of the Local Control Funding Formula law enacted in June, Monday's letter to Board of Education President Michael Kirst calls for changes that would provide "required state guidance to ensure that funds allocated for the neediest students are spent for their benefit."

"If statutory changes are needed to realize the promise of the of the LCFF, we are prepared to make them," concluded the letter from Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and the Democratic leaders of education and budget committees in both houses.

The Local Control Funding Formula, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, aims to target more state money at English learners, students receiving free meals and foster children. The formula was part of this year's budget package, but lawmakers left the regulatory details up to the state Board of Education. The state board took testimony earlier this month and is scheduled to adopt final regulations in January to carry out the formula.

Brown champions the concept of "subsidiarity" and has said that local school officials are in the best position to decide how to use the money to best help students.

Some civil-rights and school-reform groups, though, want tighter rules to ensure that the money is actually spent to help the neediest students.

PHOTO: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg talks with students at Health Professions High School in Sacramento on October 28, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Laurel Rosenhall


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