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
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
By Richard Bammer
California has the most diverse public school student population in the nation and it is increasingly “minority majority” in its enrollments.
Under components of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, the state’s 1,000 school districts must devise a plan of action to meet the educational needs for every student in California, where, according to data from the 2000 Census, 60 percent of state residents speak only English, while 40 percent speak another language (either instead of, or in addition to, English).
To that end, the Solano County Office of Education plans to launch a “cultural proficiency” program to better serve students in an increasingly diverse county, where, essentially, the world has arrived during the better part of the last half century.
Source: SCOE to sponsor ‘cultural proficiency’ program for educators – The Reporter
By Michael Kirst
The State Board of Education has been working for several years to develop a new accountability system based on the Local Control Funding Formula, which the Legislature and governor passed in 2013. In September, the state board will take an important step forward by establishing a new way to measure progress and identify problems in our schools and districts, giving parents, teachers and community members a better idea of what is happening at their schools.
Accountability systems serve multiple functions, including providing guidance to parents, highlighting schools’ strengths and diagnosing their weaknesses, and helping educators design and implement strategies to assist schools.
For 15 years, California evaluated schools and districts largely by looking at a single number that relied exclusively on test scores – the Academic Performance Index (API). This gave us a narrow view. A single number is not sufficient to evaluate an employee or buy a house. Similarly, we shouldn’t depend on just one indicator to understand school performance. Furthermore, the API said nothing about other essential components of a successful school such as high school graduation rates, attendance, suspension rates, career and college readiness, and English learner progress.
Source: California must move ahead on new approach to school accountability
By Louis Freedberg
California is on the verge of finalizing what leading educators believe is the most ambitious attempt in the nation to use multiple dimensions to measure how well – or poorly – a school or district is doing, rather than focusing primarily on test scores.
“All across the country people are paying attention to what California is doing,” Linda Darling-Hammond, the president of the Learning Policy Institute, said at a recent California School Boards Association conference.
The deadline for approving the plan is barely two months away, as required by a state law championed by Gov. Jerry Brown that implemented the Local Control Funding Formula, which reformed both the way schools are funded and how progress will be measured.
The state’s goal has been to come up with a system that will require schools and districts to measure how they are doing on eight “priority areas“ ranging from test scores to less definable measures such as school climate.
Source: As deadline looms, California struggles to finalize new school accountability system | EdSource
By Jennifer Peck and David Plank
When we think of school we too often picture rows of students sitting quietly at their desks, listening to the teacher or reading a textbook. This familiar image of a quiet classroom and docile students is and should be increasingly outdated. The state’s new Common Core and Next Generation science standards require teachers to teach and students to learn in more dynamic ways. They raise the bar for subject-matter knowledge in English, math and science.
These standards also aim to ensure that students engage in deeper learning by focusing on what are sometimes called “the four C’s:” communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. These are skills that are essential for success in today’s job market that cannot be nurtured if students are sitting quietly in rows in the classroom.
California’s new Common Core standards and a growing body of research are driving increased interest in social-emotional learning as an essential component of student success. Without skills like the ability to manage stress, to empathize with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and to engage successfully in the small-group work required for deeper learning, students cannot be successful. And, unless educators work actively to help students develop these skills, schools will not be able to deliver on the broader set of Local Control Funding Formula priorities that the state has adopted, promoting positive and productive school climates.
Source: Summer and after-school programs can promote social and emotional learning | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified leaders, when they gather tonight in Fairfield for a special governing board meeting and workshop, will hear from a district official about the importance of parental involvement in their children’s academic life.
Parental involvement will be a “major focus” of the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan through 2019, Sue Brothers, assistant superintendent for student learning and educational services in the 5,100-student district, wrote in an email to The Reporter late Monday.
Among the changes to the LCAP — basically, the document that typically guides all of a California school district’s spending under Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula — will be the addition of the Parent Project and Parent Project Jr. training next year.
Source: In TUSD, parental involvement is a major focus of the LCAP
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced a “Tech Challenge” to California”s technology industry to help improve access to Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs).
Torlakson made the announcement during a presentation to the prestigious South by Southwest® Education conference in Austin, Texas.
“Today, I challenge the tech community – by fall 2016 – to assemble a dream team with one goal. Develop a user-friendly portal and application for the Local Control Accountability Plans.”
The LCAPS are a critical part of California”s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) for schools. Each school district must engage parents, educators, employees, and the community to establish these plans, which describe the school district”s overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions.
Source: Torlakson Issues Tech Challenge – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)
By Andrea Ball
This is a year of unexpected opportunity to strengthen early childhood programs and policy in California. The new federal education law, Governor Jerry Brown’s surprising early education budget proposal and the continued commitment of the Legislature to early childhood programs together offer a unique chance for state policymakers and local educators to deepen support for early learning programs and address achievement gaps.
The Every Student Succeeds Act, the title of the federal law, contains new recognition of the importance of early childhood education. There is new language encouraging the use of federal education funds at the local level to help children successfully transition from pre-kindergarten programs into elementary school. School districts will also have to address these transitions in federally required local plans. State agencies will have to outline how they will support local efforts in early childhood education. And for the first time, federal professional development funds will include preschool administrators and teachers, including those who work with pre-kindergarten dual-language children.
via Bold action needed on early childhood education | EdSource.
By Richard Bammer
It was her parting shot, about 15 minutes long, but one filled with generally good fiscal news for Vacaville Unified School District leaders.
In her last official duty as interim chief business official, Sandra Lepley on Thursday told the governing board how the latest state budget numbers may affect the 12,300-student district with 16 campuses. The board must adopt its 2016-17 budget on or before June 30.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s new budget, at $122.6 billion and due for revision in May, sets aside $1.2 billion in discretionary, one-time use for California schools, equal to $214 per ADA. That translates to about $2.3 million for Vacaville schools, budgeted over three years, Lepley told trustees.
In her computer-aided slide presentation in the Educational Services Center, she noted that the one-time funds are reflected in multiyear projections, at $771,400 per year, to 2017-18.
via VUSD interim CBO: State’s one-time money ‘may grow’ with budget revision.
By John Fensterwald
Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to significant increases in K-12 spending over the past four years and the state’s leadership in returning schools to local control during his annual State of the State address Thursday in which he emphasized the need for frugality and a continued attention to “how we pay for the commitments we have already made.” (Go here for full text of the address.)
With education a relatively small theme in his 20-minute speech, Brown called on legislators to direct their attention to repairing “our deteriorating infrastructure,” taking further action to confront the state’s water shortage and paying for escalating costs and increased health-care coverage under the state’s Medi-Cal program. He has submitted proposals for all three issues.
In a section on education, Brown credited a strong economy and the passage of temporary taxes under Proposition 30 for a 51 percent overall increase in spending on public schools and community colleges over the last four years. Spending would rise from post-recession low point of $47 billion to $72 billion in the proposed 2016-17 budget. Brown has directed most of the money to the Local Control Funding Formula, which channels extra money to English learners and low-income children “to enable educators to overcome the barriers” that these children face,%
via Brown praises return to local control in State of the State | EdSource.
By John Fensterwald
A team of researchers found that, two years into the state’s new school financing law, “nagging concerns” are tempering the enthusiasm that school districts and county offices of education have for the Local Control Funding Formula.
In their final report, due out in several weeks, they will urge Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Board of Education to “reaffirm the vision” of the new funding law – shifting decisions to the local level, closer to the classroom – or risk losing the opportunity “if we don’t get it right.”
via Brown urged to ‘reaffirm the vision’ of funding law | EdSource.
By Dan Walters
The epic war between California’s education establishment and a loose coalition of school reform and civil rights groups rages on many fronts.
Combatants clash in the Legislature, in the state Board of Education, in local school board meetings, in school district, legislative and statewide elections, and, ultimately, in the courts.
One of their many specific issues is whether charter schools, despised by school unions and their political allies, should play a larger role in attacking the state’s persistent “achievement gap.”
via Cultures clash as court weighs in on school funding, accountability.
By John Fensterwald
A projected big infusion of state revenue next year will inject much more money into the new K-12 education finance system than school districts and state officials expected at this point.
For the budget year starting July 1, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing an additional $6.1 billion for the Local Control Funding Formula, the funding system that shifts more authority over operating budgets to local school boards. It also steers more dollars to “high-needs” students – English learners, low-income children and foster youth. The new dollars will take districts much closer, after only three years, to what the Legislature set as full funding when it passed the funding law in 2013.
via New school funding formula to get huge increase | EdSource#.VXmucGfbLGg#.VXmucGfbLGg.
By Richard Bammer
For people of a certain age, having a school nurse on campus during class hours was a given.
But in Vacaville Unified and other California school districts — and in many other states — the assignment of a school nurse at each campus is downright rare in 2015. School nurses today are often assigned to two or more school sites, visiting each campus on alternating days or, in many cases, every three or four days.
As the nation’s 73,000 school nurses celebrate a special day today, National School Nurse Day, California ranks 40th out of 50 states in terms of nurse-student ratios.
According to 2013 data from the California School Nurses Organization, there is one nurse for every 2,850 of the state’s roughly 6.2 million public school students. The recommended ratio is one to 750 and one to 100 for special needs students.
via State, Vacaville Unified school nurses, advocate for students, handle array of health needs in 2015.
By Keri Luiz
Chief Business Official Tim Rahill will present the second interim financial report Thursday to school board trustees, showing that Benicia Unified School District will operate at a loss of more than $600,000 in Fiscal Year 2014-15.
The district provides the 2014-15 second interim financial report using information from the state budget, with the new state Local Control Funding Formula (LCCF) for schools and certain budget assumptions, Rahill wrote in a report to the board.
The LCCF is the new way the state funds school districts, including BUSD.
via Schools CBO: $600,000-plus shortfall this fiscal year.
By Dan Walters |
California’s long-running conflict over how its public schools should be held accountable for educational outcomes entered a new phase this week.
A broad coalition of civil rights and education reform groups fired a broadside at a draft proposal for evaluating how K-12 schools implement the new Local Control Funding Formula, which supposedly targets poor and “English-learner” students for more money and attention.
Representatives of 19 groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and Ed-Voice, issued the critique to WestEd, a San Francisco think tank that’s writing “evaluation rubrics” for the state Board of Education.
via New school funding plan remains on bumpy path Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
A special study session will occur Tuesday to review the governor’s proposals for the 2015-16 school year and what it all means for the Fairfield-Suisun School District.
District reports tout the budget as a “good state budget for public education” and “a positive year for education,” which for Fairfield-Suisun means projected Local Control Funding Formula revenue of nearly $162.9 million for 2015-16.
The improved economy has boosted the Proposition 98 minimum funding guarantee.
Proposition 98 passed in 1988 and established minimum funding for kindergarten through community college districts based on a set percentage of state revenue. As the state revenue increases, money into school coffers increases. This increase shows in the governor’s proposed state budget for 2015-16 as a $65.7 billion guarantee to California schools, an increase of $2.5 billion or 4.1 percent.
via School district schedules special meet for budget priorities Daily Republic.
By Karla Scoon Reid
California’s new school funding system is driving districts in diverse regions of the state to shift their resources to achieve one of the key goals laid out in the sweeping financial reform effort – graduating students so they are ready for college or careers.
That’s what EdSource found as it tracked seven public school districts over the last six months as part of its “Following the School Funding Formula” project. Every California district had to adopt a plan outlining how it will spend state funds under the new Local Control Funding Formula, which also requires school systems to show how they will improve the educational outcomes of “high-needs” students – low-income pupils, English learners and foster children.
via School funding reforms spur decisions at local level | EdSource.
SACRAMENTO—Local educational agencies can now see the highly anticipated first official calculations of $42 billion in school funding they will receive under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today. The calculations for school districts and charter schools are displayed in the traditional funding exhibits, plus a new “LCFF Funding Snapshot.”
“California’s new funding formula puts more decisions about education funding where they belong—in the hands of schools, parents, and teachers—and dedicates more resources to students most in need,” Torlakson said. “The information we are providing today will help administrators, teachers, and parents as they work together to help all students succeed.”
The LCFF was enacted as part of the 2013 Budget Act and provides a new method of funding local educational agencies (LEAs). LEAs now receive base funding for all students and additional funding if they serve students who are learning English, in foster care, or are low income.
via LCFF Funding Snapshot Available – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).