Description: We surveyed public school districts in California to see how they are responding to various state and federal developments. In particular, the survey asked districts to report how they were responding to the newly granted flexibility to shift funds among, as well as away from, approximately 40 state-funded categorical programs. The survey also asked districts to report how they were using federal stimulus funding. We found that categorical flexibility is having a positive impact on local decision making and that the majority of districts generally appear to be using freed-up categorical funds to support core classroom instruction. Also, roughly two-thirds of the federal stimulus funds were used to minimize teacher layoffs and the remainder used to backfill reductions to categorical programs and make various one-time purchases. Finally, we lay out a package of recommendations that the Legislature could adopt in 2010-11 to provide school districts with additional flexibility.

(Short video introducing this report)