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Wouldn't it be something if this would actually occur?

Susan Notes: (This is your Rent-a-Susan again) But wouldn't it be something if the Beverly Hills Public Schools actually were funded less than South Central in L.A.? At least the concept has begun. That's a piece of good news.

Los Angeles Unified officials are mulling plans to change the distribution of some $3 billion in funding -- nearly half its budget -- which could direct money away from affluent schools to those in lower-income neighborhoods.

Endorsed by state education officials for its simplicity, the plan would link funding to the type of students a school serves -- for example, campuses with bilingual or economically disadvantaged students would get more money.

Currently, funding decisions are based primarily on the number of students enrolled.

School officials said Tuesday it was far too early to predict how the plan would affect schools in the San Fernando Valley or any other areas in the district. They do not expect to make any changes for at least 18 months.

"There's really a lot of ground to be plowed," Superintendent Roy Romer said.

In one hypothetical scenario presented Tuesday, Glenwood Elementary School in Sun Valley would gain between $65,000 and $122,000 per year using what officials called a "weighted-student formula." Gardena High School, however, would lose as much as $600,000.

Supporters hope the formula would give schools more control over their spending and speed LAUSD's goal to create smaller schools, said former Seattle Superintendent Joseph Olchefske.

"This is a tool to accomplish our goals," said Olchefske, who is being paid $98,000 to advise the district on the changes, which are expected to be adopted by other districts statewide.

Some trustees worried that LAUSD has made progress by requiring certain programs on all campuses, especially in elementary education. They said they were concerned they might lose those gains if schools get more local control of spending.

Other school board members fear that the changes will hit the district's richest schools too hard. And some are even concerned it will hurt poor schools, too.

"There's a possibility it may have unintended consequences," said board member Jon Lauritzen, adding that he worries that inner city schools may be at risk of losing money.

LAUSD board President Jose Huizar said the more likely scenario would be that affluent, suburban schools may lose money.

"It's been the experience of other school districts that, yes, the wealthier schools lose more money, but that's because they don't have as much need," he said. "I think some people could understand and accept that if they can see the process."

San Francisco and Houston are among the school districts that already use this formula.

Jennifer Radcliffe, (818) 713-3722 jennifer.radcliffe@dailynews.com

— Jennifer Radcliffe
LAUSD: Take from rich, give to poor?



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