LCFF: State hears questions, concerns, desires about new funding formula

By Legislative Advocate Andrea Ball and Teri Burns, Sr. Director for Policy and Programs

Capacity crowds at the first of three public input sessions on implementation of the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula revealed a thirst for more information and details about the law, as well as concern about its accountability requirements.

The State Board of Education and California Department of Education held the Aug. 8 session in two locations that were connected by video: Los Angeles County Office of Education and San Diego County Office of Education.

The biggest takeaways?

1.    Local community, district and county education leaders, teachers and classified staff have lots of enthusiasm and interest for successfully implementation of LCFF.

2.    There is a strong desire for clarity around the requirements on use of supplemental and concentration funds; for more information and data on the state priorities to be included in the Local Accountability Plan Templates and for authentic engagement of parents and especially parents of English learners and African-American students.

At the Los Angeles venue, Jesús Holguín, CSBA Vice President and board member of the Moreno Valley Unified School District, addressed the session on behalf of CSBA.  He emphasized that governance teams are well aware of the added responsibility that comes with increased local flexibility of LCFF. Boards are educating themselves and starting the work of engaging stakeholders to develop plans and budgets to meet the needs of students.

At the Los Angeles session the main room was filled to capacity with more than 150 people; Los Angeles County Superintendent Arturo Delgado opened the meeting and advised the audience that three overflow rooms with video connections were being opened to accommodate the audience.

San Diego’s remote site was also full to capacity with about 100 people, although many fewer actually signed up to speak.  Many submitted comments on cards rather than sign up for one of three topic areas: Budgeting and Funding Use; Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs); and Transparency and Community Involvement.

From San Diego, CSBA Director-at-Large Emma Turner spoke to the need for flexibility on the LCAP, limited county office control and the desire to not create new data elements on top of those already in use.  Carlsbad USD Board Member Kelli Moors also encouraged maximum flexibility in the regulations and LCAPs, as well as an accountability focus on outcomes rather than inputs.

Parent organizations spoke during the last topic on transparency and community input, with several noting that even at these meetings parent issues were put last when many of the administrator types had already left. West Ed organizers are considering the idea of switching the order at different sites for a better cross section of comments. Kudos go out to Janelle Kubinec and her crew for bringing in the meeting right at the promised noon closing time, with everyone registered having had a chance to speak.

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