Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Here's the latest:
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a church school in Missouri has a religious-freedom right to receive a tax-funded grant to improve its playground.
- A new study found that Oakland's charter schools have received less public funding than Oakland’s traditional public schools, but that traditional schools have had a more challenging student population.
State Auditor Elaine Howle's assurances to University of California regents this week that she found nothing "nefarious" in UC's central budget practices may go a long way to defuse the political furor over the critical audit she released last month — especially after regents told Howle at their meeting in San Francisco that they would strengthen their oversight of the Office of the President.
UC President Janet Napolitano told regents that her staff already was "hard at work" on adopting the state audit's 33 recommended reforms, which are aimed at making her office's budget practices more transparent and effective.
One change was immediately evident: UC officials presented 30 pages of detailed information about the budget for the president's office, compared with seven last year. New details in the $813.5-million spending plan for 2017-18 included comparisons of the proposed budget to last year's projected actual spending. It also lists line-by-line details of Napolitano's systemwide initiatives, which the audit said had not been sufficiently disclosed to regents for their approval.
Howle said the changes helped but there was "still work to be done." She suggested, for instance, that the documents include three years of spending rather than two.
UC's website on the university's progress in adopting the reforms is here.