Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan for Education
Affordability of A High-Quality Education System
California invests significant sums of money in public education. Determining whether this investment is adequate is difficult, due to the complex manner in which funds are allocated to schools. The State must make the financing of the public schools simpler, so that parents and policymakers alike can understand the extent to which the schools are receiving the resources needed, and more equitable, so that all schools receive the resources needed to provide high-quality education to all their students. In addition, ways must be identified to reduce the disparities in how funds are allocated to school districts for purposes of constructing and maintaining needed instructional facilities. The recommendations in this section of the Master Plan identify ways to systematically address those needs:
- Development of a California Quality Education Model to identify the key components of quality and assign an average cost to each component, for elementary, middle, and high schools;
- Dramatic reduction of the use of categorical funding as a means of providing adequate resources to schools, while providing an option for supplemental funding to schools serving higher proportions of high-need students; and
- Examination of the feasibility of modifying current capital outlay funding processes to distribute such funding to school districts on a per-ADA basis, and of creating a state facilities inventory to improve short- and long-term capital facilities planning.
The State must also strive to find ways to keep access to postsecondary education affordable to students and taxpayers over time. Stable and predictable financing of public colleges and universities is essential to those institutional efforts to effectively plan for and accommodate qualified students who apply, and to provide them a high-quality educational experience. It is equally important for students and their families to have some predictability in the costs of college attendance that they will beexpected to bear. This Master plan provides clear direction on how these goals should be pursued. Further, the Plan strongly encourages collaboration among the various public, independent, and private postsecondary sectors as a means of achieving greater efficiency in the use of educational resources.
This Master Plan represents the Joint Committee's best recommendations for enhancing California's educational system to better meet students' current and future needs. The report is based on our current understanding of contemporary and anticipated circumstances in our state, the nation, and the world. Much change will occur in the years ahead, so this document should be regarded as dynamic, and revisited as appropriate to accommodate future circumstances and needs as they arise. Therefore, a systematic structure for review and revision of the Master Plan for Education should regularly be undertaken by the Legislature. We recommend that such a review occur on a decennial basis. While this Master Plan should undergo a comprehensive review every ten years, the Joint Committee further believes that interim reviews, more limited in scope should occur every three-to-five years following the Plan's adoption. Those interim reviews should focus on monitoring the implementation of key recommendations contained in this Plan, reviewing and acting on the studies called for in this Plan, and determining whether emerging trends in the state warrant revisions to the Plan prior to its comprehensive review. We therefore recommend the following: