Garcia introduces bill to outlaw attendance-based school funding

Politics and government
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News release 

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, has introduced the Cash to Classrooms Act to the U.S. House of Representatives, legislation that would prohibit states like California from using an “Average Daily Attendance” formula for allocating funding for schools.  

Studies have shown that ADA formulas are more susceptible to absenteeism issues and can result in significantly decreased funding for schools. Statewide data in California for the 2021-2022 school year show an ADA-to-enrollment ratio of 91.4%. That equates to roughly 8.6% of school funding being withheld from the average school by Sacramento because of this formula. 

This often results in a “death spiral” for schools that service disadvantaged groups of students by stripping away funds for schools to address absenteeism problems, said a statement released by Garcia’s office. 

“Our school funding system already takes so much away from our schools as funding funnels from the federal or state level down, that our students and teachers only see a fraction of the real dollar amount by the time it reaches the classroom,” Garcia said in the release. “’Average Daily Attendance’ formulas make life even more difficult for these schools by reducing funding based off absenteeism. The 8.6% that is withheld from the average California school by Sacramento, for example, leaves missed opportunities for students to grow and thrive.” 

Garcia added: “This bill will help ensure that our schools do not lose funding due to absenteeism, and help ensure our schools have the resources to provide a quality education. Whether a classroom is half empty or completely full on any given day, teachers still put in the work and schools deserve adequate funding. After speaking with numerous local schools and school system officials in my district, it was apparent that this inefficient formula used by Sacramento was failing our students and making life harder for teachers.”  

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