By Ted Lempert
California is about to embark on the most comprehensive reform to its school finance system in 40 years, putting local communities in the driver’s seat and making a historic investment of more than $10 billion in high-needs students. The compromise Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to be voted on by the state Legislature by the June 15 deadline also fairly addresses the earlier “winners-losers” concern by increasing the base grant and ensuring that all districts receive additional funding.
The new funding formula also benefits all districts by increasing local flexibility. Communities will be able to craft locally determined approaches to how they will educate all students, and develop their own specific services and support for high-needs students. In addition, if a student begins to show poor academic outcomes, educators can now respond quickly to address the situation and get that student the services needed to get back on track. Districts can also look to neighboring regions that are yielding quality results for new ideas and solutions, and tailor them to meet their local needs.