School funding law forum scheduled for Thursday

Building Healthy Communities Merced is scheduled to hold a community forum Thursday to discuss how California’s new Fair School Funding law – formally known as the Local Control Funding Formula – can help improve schools.

The forum is scheduled to run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Merced Senior Center, located at 755 W. Main St.

BHC Merced is holding one of the 12 community forums being held across the state as part of the School Success Express bus tour, sponsored by The California Endowment, according to a news release.

The purpose of the School Success Express tour is to raise awareness about the importance of the Fair School Funding law and begin a discussion about the best ways to implement it. About 50 local residents and school leaders are expected to attend.

The Fair School Funding Law was signed into law on July 1. It was approved quickly and many details are still to be defined by the California Board of Education, according to the release.

This fall, the board is considering two important decisions: regulations that will define how new dollars can be spent; and a template for an achievement plan that every school district will complete to show goals and progress under the new law.

The board has asked for public input in advance of their final decisions in early 2014. After the board makes its decisions, school districts will craft three-year student achievement plans and supporting budgets that will take effect starting July 1. However, given the scope of the changes and new requirements for community input, the state encourages school districts to not wait until the spring to engage parents and students in this new process, according to the release.

For more information, call (209) 777-9898.