Let me bottom-line it for you like this: Over the next 5-10 years, more money will be flowing into schools in LAUSD.
And trust me, that is the only simple thing you’ll ever hear about LCFF, LCAP or LAUSD, for that matter. Because it’s all very complicated and confusing about how and why and where the money will be spent. But let me assure you: the money is coming.
Why is there money coming, you ask? Because in California’s last budget, Governor Jerry Brown proposed a new plan, called the Local Control Funding Formula, for school districts that are charged with educating the students in our society who are the most disadvantaged. Brown felt that those districts should get more resources to be able to do that.
“Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice,” said Brown, famously, as LCFF came into being.
This will be money in addition to the money coming to schools from Proposition 30, passed by voters in 2012, and then, finally, one need only look at the surplus in January’s CA State revenue that beat the projections made by leading economists, to see that even the General Fund will be increasing as well.
I realize I’m going a bit out on a limb here, but in California, the gravy train is coming.
In my estimation, while this may not benefit those of us with students currently in High School, for those parents of Kindergarteners I say: the experience your children will have in LAUSD will barely resemble the past 10 years, with budget deficits, class-size increases, and crumbling infrastructure.
My prediction is that by the time the class of 2025 gets ready to walk down the aisle in cap & gown, no one will remember needing to have bake sales to pay for paper towels in the bathrooms at school.
Feel free to call me on it either way. I’ll be checking back.
OK, Back to LCFF – What Does It Really Mean?
The idea behind LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) is that in addition to the base amount of money every student in CA receives from the State, each district that meets the criteria of serving high-needs students gets an additional grant, called the supplemental grant, and then finally, any district whose population of high risk student is more than 55% of total enrollment will receive the concentration grant as well.
LAUSD fits all the criteria for serving these high-risk students, so our district is set to receive the maximum rates of increases under this new program.
However, the giant piles of money will not be rolling in by armored truck transport tomorrow. Look for these changes to be implemented over the next 5-7 years, with final implementation due in 2020-2021.
I bet you have questions – I know I still do, even after attending an information session put on by LAUSD the other night. Let’s do some FAQ’s, shall we?
• What do they mean by “High-Needs Students”, you may want to know?
High-Needs Students fall into one of three categories, according to LAUSD officials: English learners, foster youth and students participating in free or reduced price lunch programs. Now, according to other reports, students with special needs are also to be served by this program, but LAUSD officials flatly denied that, and at the meeting I attended, parents of special needs students were told their children were NOT included in the “set of three sub-groups”, as they are called. Stay tuned for clarification.
• Wait, what’s that word “Local” doing in there, you may ask?
Well, it means that the State is giving School districts like LAUSD more control over how the extra money can be spent to serve those high risk students. There will be monitoring, of course, to make sure the money is being spent well and is producing results in the targeted kids, of course, but the State is saying local districts get to make the initial decisions. However, this does not mean that each school site will have much more control over their budget than they already do.
• What’s that going to look like and be called, you ask?
The plan has not yet been written by LAUSD, but you know it’s going to have a catchy acronym, right? Yes. LCAP, which stands for Local Control Accountability Plan. This is the plan each district will write up telling how they will use the extra dollars to increase student achievement in the targeted groups.
• How can my Voice be heard as a Parent, you might wonder?
Stand up and get going! Now is the time to weigh in on how that money could be and should be spent to improve student outcomes. LAUSD is soliciting parental and community input on their website lcff.lausd.net and at other public meetings they are holding throughout the Spring.
There is so much more to learn and discuss about this issue, and we can only scratch the surface here. Please check out K12 News Network. Our pal Cynthia Liu, the founder over there, is posting information on these and many other issues every day. And ask around at your LAUSD school. Principals are supposed to be holding meetings and getting the word out to parents as they learn it, too.