Sacramento gave California school districts a writing assignment to get big funding increases.
As part of Gov. Jerry Brown's new school funding scheme, districts will get at least a 7 percent increase - but they had to submit a plan to county education officials on how they'll spend it to help disadvanged kids.
“Districts are really focused on the whole child,” said Wendy Benkert. Associate Superintendent for Business Services at the Orange County Department of Education.
The recession forced many districts to layoff counselors and do away with after school programs.
“Now districts are really looking to add counseling services and add tutoring and other things that would help the students that are identified as low income, English learners, and foster youth,” she said.
The plans were due in July and districts had to consult educators and community groups. County offices of education have until August 15 to review and approve them. Orange County approved its 28 districts' plans already.
Benkert's office organized workshops to make sure school district officials included everything the state wanted in their plans.
“This first year was really important,” Benkert said.
California is also requiring district plans to be posted online for public scrutiny. You can find Orange County districts' plans here.