California has been at the forefront of school choice and local control for the past few years. There has been a statewide movement to create more localized control of school budgets. Determined to move away from a one-size fits all school budgeting process, the state has adopted a Local Control Funding Formula ( LCFF). Though it has the obvious benefit of people closest to students making decisions about spending, the implementation can sometimes be less than ideal. Read more about LCFF here.
LCFF has prioritized spending on the following populations: foster children, English Language Learners, and Title I (low socioeconomic status) students. Other vulnerable communities such as special education students are not currently included in this plan. The governor’s budget for education is significantly below the funding allocations of ten years ago. LAUSD would like to return to 2007-2008 funding levels, but are currently more than $34 million short of that goal. This necessitates hard choices about spending cuts in the district.
A requirement of the LCFF is that each district is required to develop, adopt, and annually update a three-year Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Read more about LCAP here. In order to align the needs of community members with the LCAP, the Los Angeles Unified School District conducted a series of outreach sessions, one sponsored by the Center for Powerful Public Schools, in order to understand the needs of students, teachers, families, and community organizations.
The results of these meetings were tabulated and a priority list was developed. Overall, the community is requesting greater school safety, more support for English Learners, more parent and family engagement, better college and career preparation for students, and higher overall academic achievement. With this in mind, the district will create its annual budget.
If you want to be engaged in the LCAP/ LCFF process in Los Angeles Unified, click here.