School board to vote on LCAP Wednesday – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Following a public hearing at the May 31 school board meeting, a discussion on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) is up for the trustees’ approval for the last meeting of the 2017-18 school year Wednesday— a day earlier than when school board meetings are usually held.

The LCAP is a tool for all school districts in California to receive funds through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). According to a report by Dr. Leslie Beatson, the assistant superintendent of educational services, the LCAP has three main goals: supporting academic and social-emotional success for all students, modernizing and improving infrastructure to promote 21st-century learning, and increasing parental and community partnerships so that all students graduate college and career ready. Beatson highlighted a number of programs that contributed to academic and social-emotional success, including Odyssey of the Mind, Visual and Performing Arts programs and Outdoor Education.

Source: School board to vote on LCAP Wednesday

BUSD budget among items on packed school board agenda – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Thursday’s school board meeting will be the last of the 2017-18 year while school is in session— and if the agenda is any indication, it will be the busiest of the entire year by far.

One of the biggest items is a public hearing on Benicia Unified School District’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year. Chief Business Official Tim Rahill predicts that the district will operate at a one-time surplus of $88,000— including costs of employee negotiations from the employees’ tentative agreements from 2017-18 and 2018-19— and provide for the state’s 3 percent Reserve for Economic Uncertainties and the Local Board Policy Reserve— which would provide an additional 4 percent reserve.

Additionally, Rahill wrote in a PowerPoint that BUSD continues to receive most of its fundings from the state, namely its Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) system. According to Rahill, the LCFF is fully funded in the budget and includes a funding reduction for 71 fewer students, annual increases in operating costs and program costs from the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The district is also anticipating a decline in 24 students for the 2018-19 school year.

Source: BUSD budget among items on packed school board agenda

SBE Adopts Revised Every Student Succeeds Act Plan – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

The State Board of Education today unanimously approved revisions to California’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan, a document that outlines the use and management of $2.4 billion in federal assistance to the state’s neediest students. California’s revised plan now moves on to the U.S. Department of Education for approval.

Every state that receives funding under ESSA is required to submit a plan to the federal government that meets federal statutory requirements.

California’s ESSA plan has been in development for more than two years with input from thousands of Californians. The revised plan affirms California’s commitment to the state’s broad overhaul of school funding and accountability ushered in by the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which provides an extra $10.1 billion annually to districts that serve low-income students, English learners, and foster youth. LCFF also gives local communities the authority to decide for themselves how best to allocate funding to address local needs.

“Because California is on the right track, it was important to work with the federal government to develop an ESSA plan that complements our state system but doesn’t drive it,” said State Board President Michael W. Kirst, a Stanford professor emeritus. “I am pleased that we have achieved that balance.”

Source: SBE Adopts Revised Every Student Succeeds Act Plan – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

What Reaching LCFF Full Implementation Means and Why It Matters – California Budget & Policy Center

By Jonathan KaplanThe proposed state budget that Governor Brown released in January calls for a significant increase in support ($2.9 billion) to fully implement California’s main system for funding K-12 education, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), in 2018-19. Reaching this milestone would be a notable accomplishment, especially as it would come two years earlier than initially estimated when the Legislature enacted the LCFF in 2013. Achieving this LCFF funding goal was never intended to mean that an adequate level of financial support needed to deliver a quality education for California’s K-12 students had been provided. However, reaching LCFF full implementation does reflect nearly $20 billion of increased funding for the state’s K-12 schools over the past six years.

Moreover, because the LCFF allocates additional funds to school districts based on their number of disadvantaged students — English learners, foster youth, and students from low-income families — increasing funding for the LCFF means more dollars are being provided to improve educational equity. Advancing equity may also be the goal of recent calls — from some state policymakers and others — to boost LCFF funding further, but exactly how such a boost is provided could unintentionally undermine this goal. To understand why, it is necessary to take a closer look at how the LCFF works and what full implementation really means.

Source: What Reaching LCFF Full Implementation Means and Why It Matters – California Budget & Policy Center

Dixon Unified School District to discuss using contraband dogs – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 2017-18 second interim budget, a Measure Q update, and the use of contraband dogs on district school grounds are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

By law, California school districts must submit two interim budget reports for the current fiscal year, usually by mid-December and mid-March, to let state Department of Education officials know that they can pay their bills.

The chief business officer, Melissa Mercado will tell the five-member governing board that the district can meet its financial obligations during the current academic year.

At the same time, the report essentially will be a snapshot of the rural eastern Solano County district as of Jan. 31.

Source: Dixon Unified School District to discuss using contraband dogs

California Ranks 5th in Advanced Placement® Exam – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that for the third year in a row, California students placed fifth in the nation in the percentage of high school graduates who earned a score of three or more on an end-of-course Advanced Placement ® (AP) exam, which earns them college credit.

In 2017, 30.3 percent of California graduates scored at least a 3 out of 5 on an AP exam during high school, compared to 28.5 percent in 2016. Nationally, the average in 2017 was 22.8 percent. In the last five years, the percentage of California students demonstrating success on AP exams has increased by more than 7.5 percentage points.

“Our students have once again made California a national leader in passing rigorous Advanced Placement exams, reflecting progress our state has made in our mission of preparing students for college and careers,” Torlakson said. “These results show how hard our educators, parents, and students are working on key elements of academic success—providing access to rigorous courses, challenging students to take these courses, and providing students the help they need to succeed.”

Success in AP courses is one measure of pupil achievement, which is one of eight state priorities contained in the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a policy that guides development of each district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

Source: California Ranks 5th in Advanced Placement® Exam – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

School Reforms Are Narrowing Achievement Gaps – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

New research shows that California’s overhaul of public education finance and accountability is narrowing achievement gaps between groups of students and helping parents learn about school progress.

The Learning Policy Institute on Friday released “Money and Freedom: The Impact of California’s School Finance Reform External link opens in new window or tab.,” a study by researcher Sean Tanner and U.C. Berkeley professor Rucker Johnson.

The authors examined the impact of the landmark Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which gave school districts greater control over the use of state funds in exchange for greater accountability and parent engagement at the local level. LCFF, which was approved in 2013, also increased funding to districts that serve students needing extra support.The authors found that LCFF “led to significant increases in high school graduation rates and academic achievement, particularly among children from low-income families.” Students in the highest poverty districts showed greater academic gain, the authors reported. The study also found that LCFF funding was used to improve classroom learning by lowering student-to-teacher ratios and helping districts recruit and train new teachers.

“Money targeted to students’ needs can make a significant difference in outcomes and narrow achievement gaps,” the study concludes. “Money matters.”

Source: School Reforms Are Narrowing Achievement Gaps – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

24 ideas for improving the Local Control Funding Formula | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

With Gov. Jerry Brown retiring a year from now, EdSource asked two dozen school leaders, student advocates, legislators and other astute observers to suggest the most important improvements needed to make his landmark education law, the Local Control Funding Formula, more effective, equitable and truer to its promise. Their insightful recommendations touched on the key aspects of the law — its need-based funding formula, school accountability requirements and a focus on school improvement through local control. There was some common ground, plenty of disagreement and one response in verse. Their recommendations are summarized below and my own observations are in a separate column.

Source: 24 ideas for improving the Local Control Funding Formula | EdSource

Latest academic tests underscore California’s education crisis – The Reporter

By Dan Walters

California has spent tens of billions of extra dollars on its K-12 school system in recent years on promises that its abysmal levels of academic achievement – especially those of disadvantaged children – would be improved.

And what have those massive expenditures – a 50 percent increase in per-pupil spending – and a massive reworking of school curriculums accomplished?

Not much, the latest results from annual testing indicate.

Mathematics and English tests based on “Common Core” standards were administered last spring to half of the state’s 6-plus million K-12 students, those in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11.

Source: CALmatters Commentary: Latest academic tests underscore California’s education crisis

Charter Schools and the Local Control Funding Formula – Public Policy Institute of California

By Iwunze Ugo and Laura Hill

School funding for both traditional public schools and charter schools underwent a major change in 2013, with the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Seeking to focus on high-need students—those who are economically disadvantaged, English Learners (EL), or foster youth1—and expand local authority and accountability over education spending, the new funding formula shifted away from the system of revenue limits and categorical programs, which had long been criticized as outdated and overly restrictive.2 The LCFF provides funding to school districts and charter schools through uniform base grants that are augmented by two levels of additional funding for high-need students: the supplemental grant, which provides added funding based on a district’s share of high-need students, and the concentration grant, which provides even more funding for districts in which more than 55 percent of students are identified as high need.

Before the LCFF, charter schools received less per pupil funding than traditional public school districts because some categorical funding was not available to them (Estrada 2012).3 Charter schools are now incorporated into a unified structure where they are treated much like school districts in terms of funding and accountability. There is, however, a provision in the LCFF that limits the amount of funding that some charters receive. While districts receive concentration grant funding if their share of high-need students is above 55 percent, the grant for a charter school is calculated based not on that school’s share of high-need students but on the share in the local district—if it is lower. This provision—which aims to discourage districts from trying to relieve pressure on their budgets by converting schools with many high-need students into charters, thus isolating them from less-disadvantaged students and communities (Fensterwald 2013, Cabral and Chu 2013)—lowers the amount of funding allocated to some charter schools. Charter schools serve more than 565,000 students4—many of whom are high need—and these somewhat arbitrary disparities have the potential to impact a substantial number of them.

Source: Charter Schools and the Local Control Funding Formula – Public Policy Institute of California

Assistant supe provides update on LCAP goals to school board – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The Governing Board of the Benicia Unified School District heard an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) at Thursday’s school board meeting.

The LCAP is a plan that is required by all public schools in California to receive funding provided through the Local Control Funding Formula, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013. BUSD’s LCAP has outlined three goals for the district:To create a collaborative team of highly engaged staff that supports the academic, emotional and social success of all students for college and career readiness.To modernize and improve infrastructure to provide a learning environment that offers opportunities for 21st-century teaching and learning.

To increase community and parental involvement through awareness and engagement.Assistant Superintendent Dr. Leslie Beatson and Educational Services Coordinator Stephanie Rice presented an update on the LCAP, which Beatson described as “a wrap-up from last year’s (strategic) plan.”

Source: Assistant supe provides update on LCAP goals to school board

State Board of Education Approves ESSA Plan – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

The State Board of Education today approved a plan for using federal assistance that upholds California’s commitment to the ground-breaking educational reforms of the Local Control Funding Formula.

Every state that receives federal funding to support low-income students and English language learners is required to submit an Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan to the U.S. Department of Education. Several states submitted their plans earlier this year, while California and more than 30 other states will be submitting their plans on September 18.

The plan—essentially a grant application—allows each state to make a case for how it will utilize and manage federal dollars.California’s ESSA plan meets federal requirements while ensuring the state retains maximum flexibility to continue its shift away from top-down decision-making and toward local control that allows local school districts to better meet local needs. The plan was developed over 18 months with input from thousands of Californians.

“With the ESSA plan, we believe we have achieved the right balance between meeting federal requirements and focusing on our state priorities that will help prepare all students for college and careers,” said State Board President Michael W. Kirst, a Stanford University professor emeritus. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Department of Education as our application moves through their process.”

Source: State Board of Education Approves ESSA Plan – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

California’s education plan affirms commitment to local control | EdSource

By Michael Kirst

California is fast approaching the September 18 deadline to submit its draft Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan to the federal government. This plan – essentially a grant application – allows California to makes its case for utilizing federal funds to assist low-income students across the state.

Our plan meets the federal government’s requirements while affirming California’s commitment to local control that allows teachers, principals and superintendents to meet the needs of our diverse students.

However, it is shortsighted to judge California’s efforts to improve outcomes for all students by the draft plan alone. California has a much bigger plan: the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, which has been developed over years with input from thousands of Californians and youth advocates. The Local Control Funding Formula empowers parents, students, teachers and community members to recognize inequities and develop and implement programs that meet the needs of all students.

Source: California’s education plan affirms commitment to local control | EdSource

Travis school board ok’s 45-day budget revision – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Travis Unified leaders approved the 45-day revision to the district’s 2017-18 budget of $56.7 million, with $1.2 million in deficit spending and a $4.8 million ending fund balance.

In accord with the Budget Act, California school districts are required to make public any revisions to their annual budgets with 45 days after the initial adoption on or before July 1 every year.

During a meeting Tuesday night in the Travis Education Center, Sonia Lasyone, the district’s new chief business officer, told the five-member governing board that revenues, because of “one-time” mandated state dollars, will increase nearly $800,000 this coming year, welcome news.

But, she noted, there was some bad news, too: Local Control Funding Formula sources will drop by $19,000 this fiscal year, and by $131,000 and $199,000, respectively, in the next two.

Via: Travis school board ok’s 45-day budget revision

Expanding their taxing power would be one way to provide school districts more money | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Rick Simpson didn’t write Proposition 98, the complex formula that determines how much money in the state budget goes to K-12 schools and community colleges each year. But for three decades after its inception in 1988, Simpson was an expert in its implementation as a senior adviser on education for eight Assembly Speakers.

Now recently retired, he’s pitching a tax proposal that would liberate schools from Prop. 98’s constraints. He says the only realistic way for schools to raise significantly more revenue is to give districts more authority to tax themselves. It will take a constitutional amendment, which he hopes that either the Legislature or voters, through an initiative, will place on the 2020 ballot. At this point, though, it’s just talk. No leaders or groups have stepped forward to embrace it.

Source: Expanding their taxing power would be one way to provide school districts more money | EdSource

Governor signs 2017-18 budget allocating more money to schools | EdSource

By Theresa Harrington

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the $183 billion state budget on Tuesday, after announcing he had reached an agreement on the details with legislative leaders earlier this month.

“California is taking decisive action by enacting a balanced state budget,” Brown said. “This budget provides money to repair our roads and bridges, pay down debt, invest in schools, fund the earned income tax credit and provide Medi-Cal health care for millions of Californians.”

The 2017-18 budget allocates more money to K-12 schools and community colleges, expected to increase by $3.1 billion over the 2016-17 level to $74.5 billion. School districts’ share of the increase will include $1.4 million more for the Local Control Funding Formula, bringing its full implementation to 97 percent complete.

Source: Governor signs 2017-18 budget allocating more money to schools | EdSource

How the 2017-18 funding increase for California education will be spent | EdSource

By Justin Allen, Daniel J. Willis and John Fensterwald

The Legislature passed a $183 billion state budget for 2017-18 last week that includes a $3.2 billion increase in funding under Proposition 98, the formula that determines how much of the General Fund will go to K-12 school, community colleges and state-funded preschool programs. The additional $3.2 billion represents an increase of 4.4 percent over last year’s allocation, bringing Prop. 98 next year to $74.5 billion.

Source: How the 2017-18 funding increase for California education will be spent | EdSource

Gov. Brown agrees not to hold back money from California schools next year | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

California school districts won’t have to wait an extra year to get nearly $1 billion in one-time funding, as Gov. Jerry Brown proposed last month. And after-school and summer program providers will see their first funding increase in more than a decade, under the terms of the 2017-18 state budget that legislative leaders and the Brown administration negotiated last week.

The Legislature must pass the proposed $126 billion state budget by Thursday to meet a constitutional deadline. Schools and community colleges will get a sizable share of the funding increase. Funding under Proposition 98, the formula that determines K-12 and community colleges’ share of state revenue, will rise $3.1 billion – 4.4 percent – to $74.5 billion. School districts’ share of the increase will be $2.8 billion.

Source: Gov. Brown agrees not to hold back money from California schools next year | EdSource

Local control formula closing funding gap but not equity gap, report says | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Four years after its passage, the Local Control Funding Formula has narrowed and, by some measures, reversed the funding gap between the lowest- and highest-poverty districts in California.

But an infusion of funding hasn’t translated yet into improved opportunities for low-income students and English learners ­– and may not achieve that goal without tighter disclosure rules and more innovative approaches to distributing districts’ resources, a student advocacy organization said in a report published Thursday.

“We need more clarity on where money is going. Without transparency, community stakeholders, policymakers and the broader public are left to wonder whether this massive public experiment and investment is paying off,” said the Education Trust–West in “The Steep Road to Resource Equity in California Education.”

Source: Local control formula closing funding gap but not equity gap, report says | EdSource

State’s new school “report card” system debuts Wednesday – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After some field testing, the state’s new school “report card” system, giving parents another way to evaluate their child’s learning environment, will finally debut Wednesday, state officials have announced.

The California School Dashboard, as it’s called, will go live to the general public at www.cde.ca.gov/dashboard.

The public rollout will come nearly nine weeks after the State Board of Education formally approved it, with several changes to be made to strengthen and improve it for the 2017-18 academic year, when it will go into full effect.

Source: State’s new school “report card” system debuts Wednesday – The Reporter