In response to hundreds of public comments, the state board will consider explicitly requiring districts to consult with students as they write their Local Control and Accountability Plans, which lay out budget and student achievement priorities.
While responsive to many of the public’s suggestions, the state board’s proposals fall short of satisfying a coalition of civil rights and children’s advocacy groups.
Brooks Allen, the state board’s deputy policy director and assistant legal counsel, said that board staff  incorporated at least partially  the “vast majority” of suggestions.
David Sapp, the education director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, agreed that staff did include some key recommendations, though he and others will push for more at the July 10 board meeting.
Out of misunderstanding or haste, some districts didn’t incorporate basic information or lay out all required levels of spending, sometimes on the bad advice of county offices of education, he said. The new Local Control Funding Formula governs most district funding and allocates supplemental dollars to districts for their high-needs students. In writing their LCAPs, districts must document how they involved the public – including parents and teachers – in creating goals and action plans for students, and high-needs students in particular.
Districts are supposed to explain how spending will help achieve all eight priorities, but some districts have skipped priorities or included only the new money under the formula they received this year, not the base funding they’ve also been getting. The new format should make the process easier and the requirements more logical, Allen said.
The new template combines them in one place (Section 2), to make it clear which goal applies to which priority. More student participation: State law requires districts to consult with several school groups, including students, on developing the LCAP, but student groups have complained to the state board that they’ve been ignored. The proposed regulations elaborate on the consultation process with examples of what it might entail: surveys, forums, meetings with student governments or other groups representing pupils.
Taryn Ishida, executive director of the nonprofit student advocacy group Californians for Justice, said she’s appreciative that the staff recognized the need for a formal role for students, but the proposal doesn’t go far enough. Spending supplemental dollars: Proposed regulations state that supplemental dollars for high-needs students must be spent in ways that not only are “effective in meeting the district’s goals” for those students but also “principally directed” toward them. Civil rights groups want the state board to require county superintendents to hold a hearing on each district’s LCAP. Because regulations don’t require that each expenditure be broken out by funding source in the LCAP, Sapp said it has not been possible to determine in most districts’ LCAPs how much money generated by high-needs students was actually spent on them.
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It seems impossible to measure the impact of this without understanding how funds are distributed under the new method, and how that compares to the old method. Manuel 2 years ago2 years agoThe problem in waiting two years is that the watchful citizen is always playing catch-up. From what I saw of LAUSD's LCAP process, the end product did not take into consideration parental concerns and input. Were parents given enough information to compare last year's budget to the one being proposed so as to be able to give an informed opinion?


From what I saw of LAUSD’s LCAP process, the end product did not take into consideration parental concerns and input.
Were parents given enough information to compare last year’s budget to the one being proposed so as to be able to give an informed opinion? Were parents in control of the process whereby they gave their criticisms to the Superintendent?
Krono 2 years ago2 years agoIt makes sense that LCAP focuses substantially on those students for whom the district receives supplemental funding, but I find it troubling that LCAP focuses *only* on those students. John Fensterwald 2 years ago2 years agoKrono: Districts are required under the LCAP to be specific on how they will meet the 8 state priorities, through goals, actions and spending plans, for ALL students, not only those that receive supplemental money.
The plans should include all money under the Local Control Funding Formula that will be spent to meet the 8 priorities, so that should include base funding plus additional money for the 3-year period covered. At a hearing in Sacramento on Thursday, critics will argue that the proposed changes don’t go far enough.
The plans are a critical component of the community and parent participation that the state’s new school funding system mandates. They had sought more specific language in the LCAP to track how money is spent on high-needs students – low-income pupils, English learners and foster youth. What the revisions don’t respond to, he said, is “experience” – what he and others have observed over the past few months. He said a coalition of civil rights and parents’ groups will propose changes during a 15-day comment period after the meeting. The Legislature mandated that each district’s funding plan address eight academic and school priorities and document progress through the use of common metrics. The funding regulations permit using additional dollars targeted for high-needs students for schoolwide and districtwide purposes benefiting all students. Under the current template, the goals and objectives are in one section of the plan, and the corresponding list of expenditures and actions are in another. It elaborates on which metrics, like suspension and graduation rates, must be used as a baseline measure, and ties spending and programs to goals for each of the three years covered by the LCAP. Some superintendents had already decided how to spend money and then worked backward to come up with a rationale instead of starting with an assessment of needs.
Some districts have ignored this requirement, relying on district-level committees made up of teachers, administrators and parents. Advocates for low-income children, such as Children Now, the Education Trust-West and EdVoice, and civil rights groups, including the ACLU and Public Advocates, pushed hard for what Sapp called a “modest” change in wording. Allen said that the state board’s position is that services must be expanded or improved for high-needs students in proportion to the extra dollars that the districts receive for them – but every dollar doesn’t have to be distinguished. But if the board agrees to further changes – Allen said it’s fair to predict it would – then there will be another hearing in September, with approval in November. The state knows that and if they decide not to make them then they don’t care how the money is used.


If parents are not listened to, do you think that students will be given the respect due to an equal partner?
IE, is an LCAP expected or allowed to contain goals for subgroups that don’t receive this funding but may be extra-needs, like kids who are gifted, special ed, low-performing, or reclassified former ELL?
The LCAP is supposed to specify goals and actions for those three groups plus all subgroups measured by the API (Ed Code 52052), which additionally include ethnic subgroups, disabled students and reclassified English learners but not gifted students. The board will also review a redesign of the LCAP template and may add a requirement that makes it clear that extra money for “high-needs” students must be used “principally” to benefit them. They also want to be able to compare expenditures across districts through uniform accounting codes. The period for public comments ended in March, when only a few districts had begun to write their first LCAPs, which school boards were required to approve by the end of June. The priorities fall into three categories: student achievement (standardized test scores and college readiness measures), engagement (student suspension rates and parent involvement) and conditions of learning (access to materials, courses and qualified teachers, adequate facilities, and implementation of Common Core state standards). However, the programs must be the most effective choice for improving or expanding services for high-needs students. That requires flipping pages back and forth in a complex document often dozens of pages long, with no clear connections. Groups in the Student Voice Coalition asked that regulations require a student advisory committee, just as they mandate a parent advisory committee, though Allen said that would require a change in state law. He said it would force districts to further explain the rationale for school-wide or district-wide uses of money for targeted students.
The groups also asked that the regulations list basic elements of an LCAP that must be satisfied before a county superintendent can sign off on it, such as including metrics required by state law and setting goals for all academic priorities.
The changes would apply to 2015-16, the second year of the LCAP that districts have adopted.
The county office of education, however, should point this out when reviewing the plans that districts have approved. And they asked the board to give explicit directions to county offices of education, which are charged with monitoring the plans, so they know what constitutes an unsatisfactory LCAP. And Ishida would like the board to require districts to solicit views of low-income students. Under the proposed wording, districts might not be able to justify, say, money spent on laptops for all students, even though high-needs students also would benefit.



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