AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmatesThe money for local K-12 schools is part of $350 million in equalization funding provided for in the state budget adopted for this fiscal year, which began on July 1. Runner was one of the authors of the bill that called for the equalization funding, and he also co-authored another bill that provided $160 million in equalization funding to community colleges. The equalization funding is, in part, a remedy for inequalities that got worked into the state funding system about eight years ago, when the state changed the funding formula for schools with high levels of excused absences, said Marry Perry, deputy director for the not-for-profit organization EdSource. “On one level, the presumption of equalization might be that somehow districts are going to be equal,” Perry said. “What it does for me is highlight how complicated our school finance system is.” In fact, Sue Guthrie, director of fiscal services at the William S. Hart Union High School District in Santa Clarita, said that rather than being due to changes made to funding for excused absences, unequal funding arrangements were a result of funding formulas established way back in the 1970s. North County schools and colleges are getting a budget boost – millions in cash to make up for being shortchanged in past years. The money, called equalization funding, was included in this year’s state budget for underfunded schools in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. State Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, who pushed for the equalization funding, has released estimates showing that community colleges in the two valleys will get a total of $4.7 million in equalization funding. Local K-12 school districts will get $9.6 million. “I think most people are surprised to know that schools are not equally funded across the state of California,” Runner said. “And it’s because of some old rules, formulas that are in place that create the funding mechanism.” The Hart School District plans to use its roughly $2 million in equalization funding to pay for rising medical plan costs for employees, so there will not be much money left over. “It’s going to be pretty much a wash there,” she said. Winning the political fight to get equalization funding for local schools was easier this year because the governor’s budget provided plenty of money for education, Runner said. “If everyone’s getting substantial increases,” he said, “then it’s harder to complain that these underfunded schools are getting more.” [email protected] (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!