LAO 2003-04 Budget Analysis: Education

Legislative Analyst's Office

Analysis of the 2003-04 Budget Bill

Instructional Materials

We recommend that the Legislature enact legislation to allow materials adopted in the interim adoptions required under Chapter 481, Statutes of 1998 (AB 2519, Poochigian), to be recognized as standards-aligned materials for the purposes of eligibility for categorical programs. In adopting this recommendation, the Legislature would: (1) recognize the $1 billion investment in Schiff-Bustamante Standards-Based Instructional Materials funding, much of which districts spent on these materials, and (2) relieve districts from the costs of new materials.

The Governor's budget proposes to create a $5.1 billion categorical block grant composed of 58 individual K-12 programs. The block grant includes $204.5 million that was previously budgeted for the Instructional Materials Funding Realignment Program (IMFRP). The Governor's block grant keeps the instructional materials program's laws and regulations in place, requiring school districts to provide each student with new standards-aligned materials within 24 months of a statewide adoption. Funding for instructional materials to school districts is based on an equal amount per pupil enrolled in elementary and high schools

Background. California began moving to a standards-based educational system in 1995 when Chapter 975, Statutes of 1995 (AB 265, Alpert), required the creation of the Commission for the Establishment of Academic Content and Performance Standards. The commission was required to develop academically rigorous content and performance standards in the core curriculum subject areas for grades K-12. In 1998, academic content standards were developed for English language arts, mathematics, history-social science, and science. Recognizing the necessity of providing pupils with standards-aligned materials, the Legislature passed legislation (Chapter 481, Statutes of 1998 [AB 2519, Poochigian]) directing the State Board of Education (SBE) to conduct a special interim adoption of basic and partial programs in English language arts and mathematics prior to 2001. These materials were required to cover a course of study, or a substantial portion of a course of study, essential to meeting adopted academic content standards. These materials were adopted in 1999 and remain in effect until June 30, 2005 for English language arts, and June 30, 2003 for mathematics. In addition, the Legislature created the Schiff-Bustamante Standards-Based Instructional Materials program—Chapter 312, Statutes of 1998 (AB 2041, Bustamante)—which appropriated $1 billion over a four-year period for school districts to purchase instructional materials that were aligned with state content standards. Between 1999 and 2001, many school districts purchased materials adopted during the interim adoption with their share of the $1 billion in Schiff-Bustamante funds.

Creation of IMFRP. Chapter 802, Statutes of 2002 (AB 1781, Hertzberg), created IMFRP, which consolidated three existing categorical programs—K-8 Instructional Materials Fund, 9-12 Instructional Materials Fund, and the K-4 Classroom Library Materials Program—into a new block grant that took effect January 1, 2003. The main purpose of the IMFRP is to provide a source of funding for the purchase of standards-aligned materials in the core subject areas of English language arts, mathematics, history-social science, and science. Districts are to use funding in the following manner:

SBE Excludes Chapter 481 Materials. In developing the IMFRP regulations, the SBE concluded that the English language arts and mathematics materials adopted in the interim adoption under Chapter 481, did not qualify as being standards-aligned because they were not adopted using the existing standards-aligned "framework." Essentially, the English language arts content standards designate what to teach at specific grade levels. The framework provides guidelines and selected approaches for implementing instruction to help pupils in meeting the standards.

For districts that purchased interim adopted materials and who wished to access the IMFRP funding, this decision in effect required them to reinvest in new English language arts and mathematics instructional materials even though they are not significantly different from the interim materials. The SBE also requires school districts to purchase the new materials if they want to participate in and receive state funding for the following set of programs:

Benefits of Recognizing Chapter 481 Materials

The Legislature has historically been committed to ensuring that pupils are provided with standards-aligned instructional materials and providing school districts with funding to make the investment in these materials. Consistent with this commitment, we recommend the Legislature pass legislation to allow materials adopted in the interim adoptions required under Chapter 481 to be recognized as standards-aligned materials. In adopting this recommendation, the Legislature would be: (1) recognizing the $1 billion investment in Schiff-Bustamante Standards-Based Instructional Materials funding that districts have made, (2) providing districts with greater flexibility in which to utilize IMFRP funding to purchase other instructional materials that will best meet their district needs, and (3) allowing districts using interim adopted materials to participate in new school reform programs.

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