When Governor Brown signed the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) into law on July 1, it changed the rules on how state money is allocated to school districts and how districts can spend those funds. The State Board of Education is now working to create templates that will guide districts in using state resources. In addition, each school district must now prepare a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to describe how they will meet state goals for all students.
The State requires that all California school districts engage parents, educators, employees, and the community to establish these plans. In these plans, districts will describe their overall vision for students, outline their annual goals and enumerate the specific actions they will take to achieve their goals. Part of this includes a financial accounting for the use of the budget as well annual assessments that measure how well the strategies in the plan were able to improve student outcomes.
How will State funds be allocated to districts?
Funding will go to districts rather than individual schools. Most of the funds will consist of a base grant that districts will receive for every student in attendance. The base grants are higher for younger elementary school students and highest for high school students. The base grants will be adjusted upward each year to reflect cost-of-living increases. Districts will also receive a supplemental grant based on the number of high-needs students enrolled in the district with more than 55% high-needs students will get even more funds through what are called concentration grants.
The new law effectively eliminates over 40 “categorical” programs—dedicated funding for everything from summer school and school counselors to building maintenance and principal training—that for decades were intended to serve specific needs. Instead, the categorical funds will be folded into the grant districts will get. Districts will have the option to provide the services funded by categorical funds, but they won’t be required to do so.
What does the State require to be included in these plans?
School districts and schools are responsible for developing goals and actions in eight priority areas defined by the state, these are:
Williams Act – Providing credentialed teachers, instructional materials that align with state standards, and safe facilities for all students
Academic Content and Performance Standards – Implementing California’s Common Core State Standards
Parental Involvement – Involving parents in their student’s educational programs and in the decision-making process of the district
Pupil Achievement — Improving student outcomes and increasing college and career readiness
Pupil Engagement — Supporting students in consistent school attendance
School Climate – Nurturing students in a healthy school environment where they feel safe
Access and enrollment — Ensuring access for all students to classes that prepare them for the future
Pupil Outcomes – Measuring student progress and outcomes to guide the teaching process
A district may also identify goals related to its own local priorities, and incorporate them into the LCAP.
Community engagement includes community
conversations and focus group discussions, soliciting feedback from
parents, students, teachers, administrators and community members
to develop goals and outcomes regarding the District’s Strategic Plan.