New State accountability plan is only one of many Education Week, June 30, 2014
Districts must produce plans and reports for multiple agencies and that time and effort will leave less time and resources for the development of the LCAP. This blog details how Charter Oak Unified School District's superintendent balanced his district's many accountability requirements with producing an LCAP that was accessible and responsive to his community's priorities.
Gov. Brown: Growth of Latino power paving way for policy changes Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2014
Speaking at a recent conference of Latino elected and appointed officials, Governor Brown told attendees that their power is creating opportunities for policy change across the State. He also drew applause when he spoke of the Local Control Funding Formula and the fact that it provides additional resources to English Learner students. Of those additional resources, Governor Brown said, "You have to do more to be able to create that opportunity and that pathway for those families that are not having the same skill of speaking English as others."
State schools chief Tom Torlakson unveils first Local Control Funding Formula calculations California Department of Education June 25, 2014
The California Department of Education (CDE) has released its LCFF Funding Snapshot tool, which provides a summary of each Local Educational Agency's (LEA), LCFF transitional funding components. The report includes information and graphs on each LEA's attendance, LCFF entitlements, and funding sources. The CDE's LCFF Funding Snapshot tool is available, here.
Three districts rewrite rules for campus police EdSource, June 24, 2014
The Oakland Unified, San Francisco Unified, and Pasadena Unified school districts have worked with civil rights and local groups to revamp their policies around police on school campuses. Each district has signed a memorandum of understanding with local police to ensure that police are called to school for discipline as a last resort, that students' rights are upheld, and that districts keep data on metrics related to discipline and law enforcement referrals.
LAUSD OKs budget; spending on teachers, needy students to grow Los Angeles Times, June 24, 2014
The Los Angeles Board of Education approved that district's $6.6 billion budget, which will more than double the number of new teachers, increase nurses, counselors, and other support staff, reduce class sizes, and expand parent education efforts, among other investments. The budget has drawn criticism from some because it does not include a pay raise for teachers and because it includes over $13 million in supplemental and concentration funds for school police. You can view the Superintendent's final 2014-2015 budget proposal, here, and 2014-2015 school budgets by site, here.
Group: CVUSD must reduce its suspension rate The Desert Sun, June 20, 2014
Students, community groups, and legal advocates have all expressed their desire to the Coachella Valley Unified School District that it use some of its LCFF funds toward expanding restorative justice approaches in its schools. CVUSD has piloted a restorative justice program at one high school and one middle school over the past school year and plans to launch a pilot at a few elementary schools in the next school year. State data shows that Coachella Valley Unified has a similar overall suspension rate to the state average, but that individual schools have suspension rates that are nearly three times the state average.
Reactions to LCAP: less police, more student services & programs Voicewaves, June 19, 2014
Long Beach Unified School District approved its LCAP, which immediately drew criticism from the Long Beach Every Student Matters group. Throughout the LCAP development process, the group advocated for investments in positive school discipline programs, like restorative justice. The district-approved draft, which will now be reviewed by the County office of Education, allocated $100,000 district-wide for positive discipline and $2.4 million for police and campus security. You can read Long Beach Unified's adopted budget, here, and its approved LCAP in English, Spanish, and Khmer.
Gov. Jerry Brown appoints Sandra Thorstenson to state education board Whittier Daily News, June 18, 2014
Governor Jerry Brown has appointed the first of five members to the California Collaborative for Educational Equity (CCEE). Sandra Thorstenson is the superintendent of the Whittier Union High School District and was independently recommended for the position by the president of the State Board of Education as well as three other board members. The CCEE's purpose is to support school districts whose LCAPs have not been approved by their local county offices of education.
Rates of foster care entry in California fluctuate; Gaps between racial/ethnic groups remain Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, June 18, 2014
Newly released data the rate of children entering into the California foster care system for the first time has fluctuated since 2000, African American and American Indian/Alaska Native children continue to enter that system at more than three times the rate of Latino and white children. This gap between racial/ethnic groups has clear implications for LCFF as, under that law, school districts will receive additional funding for foster youth.
LAUSD school by school budgets KPCC/Southern California Public Radio, June 18, 2014
KPCC has used data from the Los Angeles Unified School District to develop an online tool where one can look up how much each LAUSD school is slated to spend in the 2014-15 school year on a variety of items including school nurses, libraries, and teachers. You can access the tool and download the district's data, here.
SF Schools part of new study highlighting challenges facing California immigrant students The San Francisco Examiner, June 18, 2014
A recent report from the Migration Policy Institute finds that California educates more than one-third of all US students designated as English Language Learners (ELLs) and focuses on the unique educational needs of students who are immigrants or the children of immigrants. The report looks at specific approaches of school districts around the state, including in Oakland and San Francisco, around their ELLs and provides recommendations within the context of the many ongoing changes in the state, including LCFF. You can read the executive summary, recommendations, and full report, here.
Fixing school funding for vulnerable students in Stockton American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, June 17, 2014
This blog post outlines the requirements for school districts in terms of using LCFF funds and highlights the concerns of Stockton Unified community stakeholders that there is insufficient transparency around that district's intended uses for those funds. One specific concern is one that has been seen in many districts around the state: investing LCFF supplemental and concentration funds in increasing its budget for school police. You can read a letter that a coalition including the ACLU of Northern California, California Rural Legal Assistance, and others sent Stockton Unified School District Superintendent Lowder around their concerns with the district's draft LCAP, here.
Reserve cap blemishes otherwise good news budget Cabinet Report, June 16, 2014
The final state budget was approved Sunday night and included mostly positive developments for schools, including an additional $250 million for LCFF and $400 million toward the implementation of Common Core State Standards (which is one of the State's Eight Priority Areas for LCFF). Many school management groups were opposed to a provision that restricts the size of reserves that districts can accumulate; districts are required to keep reserves that do not exceed six percent of their revenues. There is a process for districts to obtain waivers that would allow them to exceed the reserve cap.
L.A. judge objects to school police getting millions reserved for struggling students The Center for Public Integrity, June 16, 2014
This week, US Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-San Fernando Valley) voiced his opposition to Los Angeles Unified School District's proposed plan to spend $13.02 million in LCFF funds reserved for high-needs students on school police. In recent weeks, many community organizations and LA County's top juvenile court Judge, Michael Nash, have also objected to this plan. You can read Judge Nash's letter to LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, here.
Emeryville, Oakland students to get formal say in district accountability process San Jose Mercury News, June 15, 2014
The Emery and Oakland unified school districts have become the first to formalize the role that students will have in overseeing LCFF implementation. Last week, both school districts said that LCAP Student Advisory Committees would be set up so that students could be part of decision-making. Neither the structure nor the processes of such advisory groups have yet been determined.
School board again faces calls for discipline changes Voice of OC, June 11, 2014
Santa Ana parents, students, and community advocates asked their district's school board to prioritize positive school discipline approaches and a healthy school climate in its Local Control Accountability Plan. Specific suggestions included creating a supportive school climate committee, making student handbooks more accessible to students and parents, and having the district regularly publish data on school discipline.
L.A. judge objects to school police getting millions reserved for struggling students Center for Public Integrity, June 9, 2014
In a letter to Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. John Deasy, Los Angeles County Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Michael Nash objected to the district's plan to use $13.02 million in LCFF funds for school police. The money would come from supplemental and concentration grants, which are slated for programs and services that directly benefit low-income, English Learner, and foster youth students. You can read Judge Nash's letter here.
Long Beach student group rallies for alternative discipline methods Long Beach Press Telegram, June 9, 2014
Students held a mock school board meeting and rally outside of Long Beach Unified's headquarters as the district's board held a budget-related meeting. Led by the student advocacy group Every Student Matters, students pushed for Long Beach Unified to dedicate more LCFF funds to positive school discipline approaches, like restorative justice. In its latest draft Local Control Accountability Plan, Long Beach Unified has allocated $2.4 million for police and campus security. (To learn more about restorative justice and other approaches to improving school climate, click here.)
Sal Güereña: Latino parents "Stand and Deliver" at Santa Barbara school board meetings Noozhawk, June 9, 2014
The development of Santa Barbara Unified School District's Local Control Accountability Plan has resulted in increased and steady participation from Latino parents. Among the parents' most-often expressed requests are additional attention and services for English Learners, increased parent engagement services, and a greater focus on the needs of low-income students.
LAUSD must use funding to support foster youth: guest commentary Los Angeles Daily News, June 5, 2014
As the California school district with the largest number of foster youth, more than 8,000, the Los Angeles Unified School District has taken important steps to support these students and plans to bolster that support with LCFF funds. This op-ed suggests additional steps the district should take to ensure that foster youth students are supported and graduate from high school ready for college and career. Among specific recommendations are mental health services, mentoring, tutoring and prevention programs, and the continuous monitoring of individual student's progress.
Special Report: More districts, including Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified, release their LCAPs
As the July 1st deadline for adoption and approval of Local Control Accountability Plans nears, school districts continue to release their draft plans. Despite the fact that each districts must use the State Board of Education template in developing its LCAP, there is variability among the structure and content of different districts' plans. Below is a partial list of school districts that have released their draft LCAPs.
* Bakersfield City Unified District- This district's draft LCAP is available in Spanish and English on its website. Bakersfield City Unified plans to approve the LCAP on June 24, according to its revised LCAP timeline, available here.
* Berkeley Unified School District- On its website, Berkeley Unified features its second draft LCAP in English along with an LCAP needs and goals chart in Spanish. Members of the district's Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) and English Learner Parent Advisory Committee (DELAC) are also listed on its website.
* Coachella Valley Unified School District- Coachella Valley Unified's draft LCAP is available in Spanish and English and will be revised ahead of the May 29 board meeting. According to the district's bilingual timeline, it plans to approve the LCAP at a special board meeting on June 12. Community members may submit comments and suggestions around the draft LCAP here.
* East Side Union High School District- East Side Union High School District has released the second draft of its LCAP, which integrates the feedback the district received from community stakeholders on its first draft. The district plans to approve the draft LCAP at its June 19 Board of Trustees meeting. Prior to releasing a draft LCAP, the district conducted a budget priorities survey in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese to students, parents, and staff. Analysis of that survey's results is available here.
* Long Beach Unified School District- On its website, Long Beach Unified makes available videos of its past LCAP Committee meetings, its first draft LCAP, and its revised draft LCAP. The most current version of its draft LCAP, from June 9, is available in English, Spanish, and Khmer and has changes from the previous version highlighted in yellow. There does not seem to be any information around providing input on the LCAP on the district's LCFF page.
* Los Angeles Unified School District- Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest in the state, has released its latest version of its draft LCAP along with a list of the district's Superintendent, John Deasy's, proposed investments. The revised draft LCAP is available in Spanish (6/3) and English(6/12). Changes to this version of the draft LCAP are noted in blue. (The superintendent's written responses to the Parent Advisory Committee and District English Learner Advisory Committee's comments are within the English LCAP document, from pages 45 to 66.) The superintendent's June 10 PowerPoint presentation is also available, here. Community members can provide input on the proposed LCAP and/or proposed list of investments via the district's online survey.
Read on for local media coverage around LAUSD releasing its draft LCAP and accompanying budget:
* La Opinion (Spanish)
* Moorpark Unified School District- Moorpark Unified's draft LCAP was presented in mid-May and is available in English and Spanish. The district plans to approve the LCAP at its June 17 Board of Education meeting, as outlined in its LCAP timeline.
* Pasadena Unified School District- The district's first draft LCAP is available here. Updated versions of the LCAP's third section, around priorities, are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the district's website features resources including background information on LCFF and the LCAP development process and all relevant district information to date, including input surveys, a roster of the district's LCAP work group, and a timeline for adoption of the LCAP.
* Paso Robles Joint Unified School District- Its draft LCAP is available here and public comment on the plan was colelcted through April 30. To submit comment, stakeholders were asked to download, print, fill out and either mail or deliver forms to the district or to any school site. The input forms were available in Spanish and English.
* Redlands Unified School District- Redlands Unified has the latest version of its draft LCAP available on its website, here. Community stakeholders are invited to provide input on the plan by sending an email to email@example.com.
* Sacramento City Unified School District- This district provides both a
School districts must seize opportunity of local control The San Francisco Chronicle, June 4, 2014
LCFF implementation, including the collaborative development of the LCAP and the requirement that budgets and LCAPs be compatible and approved together, presents school districts with an unprecedented opportunity to improve student achievement-- especially for high-needs students.
Viewpoints: Parents need to see how money is being spent The Sacramento Bee, June 3, 2014
This op-ed urges state lawmakers to require transparency from school districts, specifically around reporting the amount of LCFF funds they receive to support high-needs students, how they spent those dollars, and how those investments will directly benefit high-needs students. Without such transparency, the piece argues, it may be difficult for local communities to answer important questions and refine their LCFF implementation strategies.
CSG Justice Center releases roadmap for reforming school discipline Council of State Governments, June 3, 2014
This week, the Council of State Governments' Justice Center released its much-anticipated comprehensive report around school discipline. The report uses real examples of approaches that are being implemented in schools around the country and are improving school climate and student achievement. The release of the report is especially important in light of LCFF implementation and LCAP development; School Climate is one of the State's Eight Priority Areas and LCFF also requires that districts include data around school discipline in their LCAPs. The full report and additional resources, are available via the Justice Center's website.
Resources help decipher the new education funding formula EdSource, June 1, 2014
EdSource reporters have compiled a list of LCFF resources including basic information around LCFF to LCAP guides and checklists, resources for meaningful parent engagement, and materials to help school districts draft their Local Control Accountability Plans.
Students want more say in district accountability plan process EdSource, June 1, 2014
LCFF lays out specific requirements around parent input but not around either gathering or incorporating student feedback around LCAPs. This situation sparked the creation of the Student Voice and Coalition's "My Future, My Voice" campaign. School districts' level of engagement with students varies greatly across the state; some districts' Parent Advisory Committees include student members while other districts did not hold any meetings specifically with students throughout their LCAP development process.
Potentially game-changing month ahead for California Education Week, May 29, 2014
There are many changes afoot for California's educational landscape. Among these are the implementation of LCFF, with all school districts approving their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) by July 1, the primary election for Superintendent of Public Instruction, the deadline for districts' administration of pilot versions of Common Core State Standards tests, and a ruling in the Vergara lawsuit, around teacher tenure and job protection laws and students' right to access equal education.
ACLU sues California for "Equal Learning Time" NPR, May 29, 2014
Public Counsel and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state, claiming that high poverty schools are not giving students the learning time necessary for them to graduate and be successful. In a joint statement, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael Kirst said that they believe that continuing to implement LCFF "is the best way to improve student achievement and meet the needs of our schools."
SBCUSD invites public to review spending and accountability plan Highland Community News, May 27, 2014
San Bernardino City Unified School District is working to collect community input around its draft LCAP. Input may be provided at any of four upcoming community meetings as well as via the district's website, here. You may view the draft LCAP, in English and Spanish, here.
Some hope California's new funding formula could ease school segregation EdSource, May 27, 2014
A new UCLA Civil Rights Project report focuses on "triple segregation," or the experience of students who are in schools that are overwhelmingly poor, African American or Latino, and have large numbers of English Learner students. The report suggests that school districts use LCFF funds to address the inequalities that students in high-need schools face. You can read the report, entitled Segregating California's Future: Inequality and Its Alternative 60 Years after Brown v. Board of Education," here.
Students stage "silent protest" over funding concerns Voicewaves, May 23, 2014
Long Beach Unified School District students and members of Californians for Justice delivered testimonials and staged a "silent protest" during a recent school board meeting. Students held small signs with numbers on them in front of their faces to represent that they are individuals, not a percentage or number. Currently, there are a total of nine students on LBUSD's 60-person LCFF committee; two of those students are high-needs students.
Nearly 1.4 million English Learners in CA public schools; percent declining Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, May 21, 2014
New data shows that California's percentage of English Learners (ELs) has continued its generally downward trend, which began in 2007. In 2013, 21.6% of California students were ELs, down from about 25% in 2007. The percentages of ELs vary greatly by county, with a low of 2% in Tuolumne County and a high of 42% in Imperial County.
California, 60 years after Brown v. Board Huffington Post Blog, May 20, 2014
The 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision around public school desegregation provides an opportunity to reflect on equity among students, especially in light of LCFF. If LCFF is implemented in a manner that prioritizes investments in addressing the needs of low income, English Learner, and foster youth students, it could help to fulfill Brown's promise of equal educational opportunities for all.
Local leaders seek more specifics in Santa Ana Unified's accountability plan EdSource, May 20, 2014
Santa Ana Unified shared its preliminary draft LCAP at its school board meeting last week. Although it is still being finalized, the preliminary plan was seen by some community leaders as being too general. The final draft LCAP will be presented at the May 27 school board meeting. You can view Santa Ana Unified's preliminary draft LCAP here.
School nurses save money: study Business Insider, May 19, 2014
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded that each dollar invested in a Massachusetts school nurse program saved $2.20 in averted medical costs and lost productivity and wages for parents and teachers. The finding could have implications for districts across the country, and especially for those in California, who are currently in the process of developing their LCAPs and budgets.
To combat truancy, California should follow Compton's lead Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2014
Compton Unified School District improved its daily attendance rate by employing new strategies including improving communication between school and home and monitoring truancy and attendance in real-time. A package of five truancy bills in the state Senate and Assembly would use similar approaches and help schools meet LCFF requirements to track attendance and chronic absence.
East Side Union listens, rethinks, revises draft accountability plan EdSource, May 18, 2014
East Side Union High School district has integrated the feedback it received from parents, teachers, and other community members to revise its draft LCAP. The revised plan reflects a shift to invest in more academic counselors and librarians at the lowest-performing schools and addresses the needs of African-American students. You can view the revised LCAP here.
Advocates kick up lobbying efforts for new education dollars KPCC, May 15, 2014
A long list of advocacy groups are lobbying for expanded or new programs in light of the additional educational dollars that California school districts will soon receive. Among the many proposed investments are expanding early education, arts instruction, improving access to and sophistication of technology, and addressing issues related to classroom teachers and custodial staff.
Gov. Brown proposes another $242 million in funding for California schools KPCC, May 13, 2014
Governor Brown's revised budget proposal recommends an additional $242 million go towards public schools and community colleges, including LCFF. The "May revise" also includes a change in Governor Brown's position around how low income students will be tallied. Districts will verify their number of low-income students once every our years, which aligns with the requirements or federal free and reduced lunch qualification. You can read the revised budget here.
Dozens of parents, students, advocates, and other community members signed up to give comment around Los Angeles Unified School District's proposed budget at the its school board meeting this week. Public comments included concerns around a bigger investment in school police than in behavior intervention programs, foster students' unique needs, and the level of funding for English Learners will remain the same as last year.
Intervention agency inches closer to starting work with school districts EdSource, May 12, 2014
Last week, the State Board of Education selected the Riverside County Office of Education as the fiscal agent for the California Collaborative for Education Excellence (CCEE). The agency will be comprised of five appointed members and will be responsible for advising and assisting school districts around meeting their LCAP goals. The agency is expected to be fully operational in the 2015-16 school year, once the State Board of Education has created criteria around when CCEE should step in to assist districts.
School district releases draft of $2.4 million expenditure plan for disadvantaged students The Daily Californian, May 12, 2014
Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) has released the second draft of its LCAP, which details how it will spend approximately $2.4 million to improve outcomes for high need students. This is the district's second public draft although committees including administrators, parents, teachers, and students have created 18 versions to date. You can see BUSD's second draft LCAP here.
With Local Control funding, students seek greater voice New America Media, May 9, 2014
Student leaders from around the state attended the State Board of Education hearing last week to express their demand that students' input as stakeholder be valued in the LCAP development and LCFF implementation processes. They also made the point that despite the tallying and data required as part of LCFF, students should not be seen as statistics, but as individuals with valuable experiential knowledge and great ideas.
New school funding could transform California schools, say Stanford scholars Stanford Report, May 8, 2014
A new report published by Stanford's Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) makes the case for investing LCFF resources on research-based approaches in order to see long-term improvements. The report identifies four areas where investment of LCFF funds could make the biggest difference for students, including community outreach and engagement, and additional support staff in schools. A video summary of the report is available here and the full report can be accessed by clicking here.
LA schools' new parent advisory group grapples with $6.8 billion budget KPCC, May 8, 2014
The 100 parents appointed to serve on Los Angeles Unified School District's advisory committees are often overwhelmed and confused by the LCAP and budget they are responsible for weighing in on. Common concerns include the length and technical nature of the LCAP and a lack of clarity and context around budget figures.
Sensitivity training for educators on foster youth issues needed, advocates say EdSource, May 7, 2014
Because foster youth are one of LCFF"s three target student groups, school districts will need to ensure that LCFF funds translate into increased or improved services for foster youth. Former foster youth and foster youth advocates are concerned about how these students' personal information will be protected.
Draft accountability plans raise concerns about usefulness to parents EdSource, May 6, 2014
As more school districts release their draft LCAPs, there is increased concern about how much the often long and technical plans actually tell parents about how LCFF will be implemented in their district. One idea that has been suggested to make LCAPs more accessible is for more districts to provide a shorter executive summary of their LCAP, as West Contra Costa Unified has. (You can read West Contra Costa Unified School District's full LCAP here and its LCAP executive summary here.)
English Learners reclassified as proficient in elementary school are top academic performers Public Policy Institute of California, May 6, 2014
A study of two of California's largest school districts, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified, found that English Learner students who were determined to be proficient in English (reclassified) by the fifth grade did as well or better than native English speakers on state standardized tests. The study followed students form the second grade through the twelfth grade and makes policy recommendations around reclassification. (You can read the full report here and a short summary of the report here.)
In response to questions from parents, students, and other community members around its draft LCAP, West Contra Costa Unified school officials shared a translated (Spanish) and amended version of the plan. Among specific suggestions made by parents and students were that a district organizational chart with contact information be shared, so community members could direct their questions to the appropriate district staff, and that more student-friendly material be provided.
Wolk bill to address school nurse shortage passes two committees Woodland Daily Democrat, May 1, 2014
A proposed Assembly bill, AB 1239, would use LCFF to identify the state's most underserved students and require these students' schools to provide a credentialed school nurse. The Department of Health and Human Services' federal guidelines recommend a ratio of one school nurse for every 750 students. California's school nurse to student ratio is one to 2,700 students.