Pleasanton schools can anticipate some extra cash through a new state funding plan that restructures how districts are funded.
At a school board work session on Tuesday, Deputy Superintendent Luz Cazares outlined what's known about the plan, known as the Local Control Funding Formula.
Details, Cazares said, are "still evolving," and state officials are being cooperative as districts across the state move to the new model.
"It's understood it's hard to follow a rule when you don't know what the rule is," Cazares told board members.
Money that had been designated to be spent in specific ways will now be paid in a lump sum, and local districts will allocate the money to where they think it's needed.
"There are more than 40 categorical programs that are essentially going to be eliminated. For us, it is 26," Cazares said.
The new model will send about $2.4 million in additional cash here for the current year, she said. State figures predict the district will get $34 million for the 2014-15 school year and $39 million for 2015-16, although that could change depending on the economy.
While there are no official strings for much of the state funding, the new model does come with some expectations, including reducing class sizes for students in transitional kindergarten through fifth grade.
LCFF was designed to help poorer districts, but a last minute addition by state legislators offered help to those districts that might lose, rather than gain from it. Pleasanton is one of those districts, and it will receive $750,000 to offset the loss this year, and an additional $750,000 on top of the original for the next eight years, for a total of $6 million the final year.
One big change is the local control, and the school board will be putting together an advisory committee to help decide where to spend LCFF money. The makeup of the group is still under discussion, but district officials hope to have an application ready soon.
Board Member Chris Grant said he'd like to see a charter for the committee, and said the board could take another look at the charter after the first year, to see if the group and the charter are accomplishing what they're meant to do.
"This is really a community advisory group," Board President Jeff Bowser said. "This is brand new so I get that this is something we're going to grow into."
Board members Valerie Arkin and Jamie Hintzke worried that the members of the group drawn from the public might find themselves pressured by others, which would include teachers and representatives from the district's two unions.
Bonnie Kassan of the California School Employees Association summed up LCFF in four short sentences.
"We're giving you the money. It's your responsibility to spend it. Don't be stupid. Spend it wisely," Kassan said.