An overview of the California Department of Education’s systems to create more equity in the way education is funded in an effort to develop a system of funding that is simpler and fairer for students. In 2013, California made a big change to their existing complicated funding system by implementing the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), proposed by Governor Jerry Brown. The idea behind the LCFF is that it is intended to provide more funding to districts with the most high-need students and give them increased flexibility on how to spend the funds they get. The LCFF has been built into the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) which is the district plan for achieving outcomes in line with the priorities dictated by the state. Let’s take a closer look at each of these to see how they impact education in California.
Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)
The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) is required by districts to create new goals for improving student outcomes as related to the state priorities. There are eight priorities that align spending to meeting the goals. It is defined by the CDE as a three-year plan that describes the goals, actions, services, and expenditures to support student outcomes that address the state and local priorities. It provides an opportunity for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to share how, what, and why programs and services are selected to meet their needs.
Each district is required to put together their LCAP in order to identify the goals they need to achieve in order to meet the needs of their students. Involving all stakeholders in the determination of the LCAP before it is adopted is important. Parents, students, and community members are surveyed and encouraged to participate in a public hearing to ensure that the needs of students and families are being addressed.
Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)
The Local Control Funding Formula provides a new formula for schools to focus on student success. It requires districts to involve parents in the planning and implementation of the LCAP. The LCFF is based on the meeting of the eight whole child priorities dictated by the state for monitoring and measuring student success. LEAs are required to address these state priorities as well as any local priorities identified by the LEA.
The eight priorities dictated by the state are:
- Providing basic services such as credentialed teachers, access to instructional materials, and school facilities
- Implementation of State Standards through quality instructional materials that are fully aligned
- Parental involvement and Family Engagement
- Student Achievement: statewide assessment results, course completion, ELL reclassification, AP exams, etc.
- Student Engagement: attendance, absenteeism, dropout, and graduation rates
- School Climate: Suspension and expulsion rates, feedback from parents and students on school safety and connectedness
- Course Access: access to a broad range of courses of study, programs and services
- Pupil Outcomes: Student Outcomes in courses of study
While the LCFF was adopted in 2013, it was set to be fully implemented by the 2020-21 school year. This new system removed the revenue limits that were in place under the old system and created funding targets based on student characteristics, with more flexibility to use the funds to improve student outcomes.
The LCAP and LCFF are in place to ensure that California is providing equitable educational experiences for all students. The priorities outlined by the state recognize the importance of parental and family involvement, engagement, climate, accessibility, and implementation of state standards in the determination of student success. With current teacher shortages, it has become increasingly difficult to meet priority number one in providing credentialed educators for students. This makes providing staff, new teachers and students with fully aligned standards based instruction even more important, especially given that schools are evaluated on the basis of student scores on state-standardized testing. Our goal is to support educators with the tools they need to meet these priorities and achieve success with their students.
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