California’s new school-funding formula requires significant community involvement through “Local Control Accountability Plans.” Each local community is supposed to be involved in the local decision on how to spend state funds. At this forum, school administrators and education advocates, including Michael Kirst, Preisdent, California State Board of Education, discussed their roles and the positive implications of local control for the community. The event — Building Great Schools through Community Partnership: the Opportunity of LCFF — was held the afternoon of March 4, 2014 at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation offices in Mountain View.
Image Source: http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/california-at-risk-of-losing-3-52b-fed-money-by-dumping-star-tests/
As part of the Local Control Funding rules, School Districts are to prepare “Local Control Accountability Plans” which describe how the District funding will be used to meet state requirements. The district is to obtain inputs from all “stakeholders” such as parents, students, unions, community, staff in the formulation of its Accountability Plan. The Accountability Plan is to identify goals and measure progress for student subgroups across multiple performance indicators. The single score API is no more. Districts will submit the Accountability Plans to the County Offices of Education who review the Plans to ensure that district funds are allocated to service the needs of the student subgroups and reflect stakeholder inputs. See the California Department of Education website for a LCCF overview.
Presenters & Stakeholder Panel
The program included 3 public sector staff and a variety of professionals at non-profits.
- Introduction, Context setting: Gina Dalma: Program Officer, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
- LCFF Background and Update: Michael Kirst, President, California State Board of Education
- Call to Action: Matt Hammer, Executive Director, Innovate Public Schools
http://vimeo.com/77618086 of Kirst speaking on Common Core is 33 minutes long.
- Ted Lempert, President, Children Now
- Jan Christensen, Superintendent, Redwood City School District
- Sandy Mendoza, Advocacy Manager, Families in Schools
- Tony Bui, Student Leader, Californians for Justice, and a Sophomore at James Lick High School in San Jose
- Anne Campbell, Superintendent, San Mateo County Office of Education
- Moderator: Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director, the Education Trust-West
A Call for Patience during Change
Much is changing for California’s Education system: New instructional standards (Common Core), new assessment methodology (Smarter Balanced on-line, adaptive assessment), new funding formula (Local Control FF) in addition to a new accountability process (Local Control Accountability Plans LCAP).
Parents and community members need to be patient in letting the districts and school leaders work out the new instructional methods and strategies. We all need to be supportive in making the transitions across all these fronts smooth and moving forward. They are all in place to help our current local students be better prepared for college and career. And to help California build a better future workforce and economy. Everyone should take personal responsibility to reach out to stakeholders and districts leaders to support and improve the strategies for helping our students succeed.
Selected Speaker and Panelist Comments
Mike Kirst stated that the single score “API” is no more. Now schools and districts will be scored across the 8 priorities. Kirst views that the new school performance indicator will be a dashboard showing how the school is performing across multiple measures.
Ted Lempert mentioned that under LCFF, districts may allocate some of the funding toward early education, eg transitional kindergarten and even preschool.
Jan Christensen. Redwood City School District is K-8, serves 9000 students of which 70% are low income and 60% are English Learners. Jan described the multiple stakeholder input meetings that have been held this year to gather inputs as to prioritization of programs. The various stakeholders have very different requests. Teacher Unions want raises for teachers, as there have been no salary increases in five years. Parents want smaller class sizes, more enriched instructional environment. Teachers want more days for professional development and collaboration time. Students want better maintained facilities and greater access to instructional materials such as text books. All are valid requests, and it will be a challenge for the Superintendent to reconcile all the inputs to the funding and program plan. Redwood City SD hired PIVOT Learning to help facilitate the input meetings and synthesize the information gathered. A RCSD Board member was present at each input meeting. Meetings were held with parents of English Learners, parents of Special Ed students, financial advisors and so on.
Sandy Mendoza spoke about the work that she and Families in Schools have done ton increase community engagement and advocacy with LAUSD. Families in Schools is a non-profit based in Los Angeles whose mission is to involve parents and communities in their children’s education to achieve lifelong student success. Families In Schools was created in 2000 deeply rooted in a history of school reform for increasing student outcomes, especially for students from low-income and communities of color. Sandy discussed the active role she and her colleagues have taken to form parent groups representing students and subgroup student populations.
Tony Bui provided the student viewpoint. Tony had attended a private school, but in the last year or so had moved to James Lick High School that is in a low income area of East Side San Jose. Tony commented that he was surprised at the differences between the private and public school environment. The private school grounds were always clean and there were ample instructional materials in the classroom. At James Lick HS, the custodial staff does only weekly cleanups. Also instructional materials are lacking and often in poor condition; teachers may not even have pencils/paper to provide to students.
Anne Campbell said that the San Mateo COE is identifying the staff that will review the district Accountability Plans this summer. She stated she is looking forward to reading about all the strategies that the districts are implementing to improve student outcomes.
Comments from the Q&A Session
Basic Aid districts such as Palo Alto and MVLAUHSD: while they will not receive State funding (their funding comes from local revenue/property tax sources), they still are required to follow the LCAP process and submit plans to the COEs for review.
Charter schools, just like school districts, are to develop LCAP plans for their chartering agent to review/approve before submitting to the COEs.
The new “Accountability Progress Report” is being developed now and will be available for review next year.
The LCAP plan development process including explicit stakeholder input sessions is to be repeated each year.
The role of the County Office of Education is to review district accountability plans. They may ask districts to provide clarification or note where there is not alignment as to how funds are used and how student subgroups are served. But it is not clear if a COE may reject a plan or to cause funding to the district to be impacted.
While the “API” of the past decade is now gone, the CA Education leaders will not have a new annual school progress report measurement index available until next year.
Background on LCFF
The goal of the LCFF is to significantly simplify how state funding is provided to local educational agencies (LEAs). Under the new funding system, revenue limits and most state categorical programs are eliminated. LEAs will receive funding based on the demographic profile of the students they serve and gain greater flexibility to use these funds to improve outcomes of students. The LCFF creates funding targets based on these student characteristics.
Source: Legislative Analyst’s Office.
For school districts and charter schools, the LCFF funding targets consist of grade span-specific base grants plus supplemental and concentration grants that reflect student demographic factors. For county offices of education (COEs), the LCFF funding targets consist of an amount for COE operations plus grants for instructional programs.
Grants for demographic factors include “Supplemental” grants (up to 20% base grants) times the % of English Learners, FRPL low income students and foster youth students and also “Concentration“ grants (incremental 50% of base grants) times the number of English Learners, FRPL low income students and foster youth students over 55% of student population. There are also grants to help reduce K-3 class sizes and for grade 9-12 career technical education
More information on LCFF is at http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/lc/lcffoverview.asp
Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)
As California districts prepare to spend the new money they are receiving through the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, they must create Local Control Accountability Plans that address eight priorities. The plans must outline annual goals for all students and for those in significant subgroups, along with action plans for achieving the goals.
California’s eight priorities for school and district performance and accountability planning and measurement:
1. Basic services such as appropriately assigned teachers and instructional materials, adequate school facilities
2. Implementation of Common Core Curriculum Standards, especially for English language learners
3. Parental involvement, including outreach to parents of disadvantaged students
4. Student achievement, including test scores, college readiness and language proficiency
5. Student engagement, including attendance, dropout and graduation rates
6. School climate including suspensions and expulsions, safety and campus connections
7. Course access, including core classes and special programs for needy students
8. Other student outcomes demonstrating a broad course of study.
What’s next – the Timeline
The CA Department of Education posted “templates” for the accountability plans. School Boards are to select their plan template this month. School Boards are to adopt an LCAP by July 1st and submit their plan to the County Office of Education for review. The COE reviews the LCAPs to see that the district uses the LCFF funds according to the strategies to serve the needs of its student population. The LCAP is required to identify goals and measure progress for student subgroups across multiple performance indicators. School Districts must obtain parent and public input in developing, revising, and updating LCAPs.
View and Download Julie Cates original notes in this link.