In January 2012, Governor Brown’s budget proposed replacing most of California’s complex formulas with a weighted student formula. This concept was included in the 2013 budget as the Local Control Funding Formula or LCFF, which when fully implemented will allocate educational funds based on specific student needs and will allow maximum flexibility at the local level.
Priorities and Accountability
The details of funding accountability were not fleshed out when the budget went to the governor. Instead, the State Board of Education (SBE) was charged with developing a template and guidelines by March 2014 for the parameters of a three-year accountability plan for Districts. The plan, called the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), must be adopted by each district at a board meeting after consultation with teachers, principals, school personnel, pupils, bargaining units, parents and with the advice of district-level parent advisory committees. The LCAP must include a description of:
- The district’s annual goals, for all students and for each subgroup, for each of the state priority areas and any additional local priorities areas; and
- The specific actions and strategies the district will use to achieve those goals.
The state has identified the following eight priority areas:
- Student Achievement
- Student Engagement
- Other Student Outcomes
- School Climate
- Parent Involvement
- Implementation of Academic Standards, including a focus on English Learners
- Course Access
- Basic Services, including facilities, qualified teachers, and instructional materials
Examples of measures that could be included in the LCAP to assess progress in these areas are: graduation rates, drop-out rates, performance on state and local assessments, English learner reclassification rate, percentage of students passing AP and IB exams, SAT participation and scores, attendance rates, suspension and expulsion rates, levels of parent participation and satisfaction, reports on facilities and availability of instructional materials, rate of teacher mis-assignment, level of implementation of CCSS, and student access and enrollment in college prep classes.
Plan Development Process
One of the key components outlined in the Education Code is that districts must consult various stakeholders in the development of the LCAP, and allow them to review it and comment on it. The figure below outlines the process a district must follow in adopting its LCAP. One of the main procedural requirements is that the school consults with its school employees, parents, and students. As part of this consultation process, RCEA must present their proposed plans to a parent advisory committee and a separate EL parent advisory committee. The advisory committees can review and comment on the proposed plan. Ed. Code also requires districts to respond in writing to the comments of the advisory committees and to notify members of the public that they may submit written comments regarding the specific actions and expenditures proposed in the LCAP.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office has compiled some helpful information about what the new laws surrounding LCFF and Education Code require of school districts.