Under California’s new local control funding formula, schools get additional money for low-income, non-English speaking and foster youth. In a letter State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has told districts they can spend that money for across-the-board teacher raises if they can link the increases to better student services. Torlakson was not available for an interview.
But Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber says using that money for pay increases was never the intent of the Legislature.
"Those dollars that are targeted for schools that have those areas that we’ve identified should never be used for across-the-board raises," she says. "That dilutes the resources and does not get to the maximum support we want for students."
Weber says allowing districts to use that money for raises also gives them at an advantage over districts that don’t have access to the additional grants.
The California Teachers Association says it "believes the law is clear: The money can be used to attract and retain quality teachers in the classroom."