By John Fensterwald
Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed his solution to a long-running, contentious dispute over the Local Control Funding Formula, the equity-based formula for distributing the bulk of money that school districts get from the state.
At issue is whether school districts can use leftover, year-end funding intended for “high-needs students” however they want. Newsom’s answer is, no, they can’t; the money must be committed to those students — who generally are the farthest behind academically and face the challenges of poverty — and districts must document that.
Some of those who have been calling for reform for years say the governor’s approach is a big step forward but not fully right.
Source: Gov. Newsom calls for closing big ‘loophole’ in funding for high-needs students – The Reporter
By John Fensterwald/EdSource
The first significant change to the state’s 7-year-old K-12 funding system, the Local Control Funding Formula, is a signature away from becoming law.
But if Gov. Gavin Newsom accepts the recommendation of his advisers at the California Department of Finance and ignores the Legislature’s near-unanimous vote favoring the significant reform, he’ll veto the legislation within the next few weeks. Hundreds of nonprofits and civil rights groups signed a letter last week urging him not to do that; signing it instead would ensure that funding for “our highest-need, most vulnerable students is actually directed to support them,” the letter said.
Assembly Bill 1835 would end what advocates for years have called a glaring loophole that undermines the funding law’s cardinal purpose, which is to provide additional funding for four groups of underserved students: English learners, low-income students, homeless and foster children.
Source: First big reform of California’s education funding law awaits governor’s signature – Times-Herald
By Ricardo Cano
California’s new budget provides enough funding for schools to pivot to hybrid learning when they reopen this fall. But school officials fear Sacramento’s decision to delay cuts could throw districts into the fiscal abyss later.
The $202 billion budget Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Monday largely keeps intact funding for California’s public schools, capping a turbulent couple months of budget negotiations.
Initially, schools were in line to receive a steady increase in funding when the governor introduced his January proposal, with money going to long-term efforts to expand early childhood programs and other targeted efforts, including grants to incentivize educators to teach in low-income schools.
Source: What state’s budget means for K-12 schools – Daily Democrat
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that he has convened a group of educational partners to discuss ways in which the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) accountability system is providing districts with flexibility to lend support to focus areas that need extra support in order to improve student outcomes. This system was implemented to replace 40 years of categorical programs, which failed to close achievement gaps. The recently released 2019 California School Dashboard shows that LCFF, which recognizes that many factors contribute to improving student outcomes, is working: test scores are up, graduation rate is at an all-time high, and the suspension rate is at a historic low.
The workgroup, which met once in late 2019 and will meet again next week, consists of educational partners from organizations such as the California Association of School Business Officials, Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, School Services of California, California State Parent Teacher Association, Association of California School Administrators, Public Policy Institute of California, Education Trust West, California School Boards Association, members of the California State Legislature, and school district and county office superintendents. The purpose of the workgroup is to gain insight from key stakeholders on ways to improve the process and to ensure that it is truly serving the students it was intended to provide additional support to by showing improvements in student outcomes in those specific student groups.
Source: LCFF Workgroup to Increase Transparency in Process – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
This letter is to notify you of the timeline for the release of preview data on the state indicators for the 2019 California School Dashboard (Dashboard) and invite you to participate in the Dashboard webinar series. During the month of November, the California Department of Education (CDE) will release the state indicator data on a rolling basis. The Dashboard public release is scheduled for the week of December 9, 2019.
To support local education agencies (LEAs) with the rollout of the state indicators, the CDE will host a webinar series. Following each webinar, the PowerPoints will be made available on the California School Dashboard and System of Support web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/cm/. Information on accessing the webinars is provided in Attachment 1 along with the dates and times.
The Dashboard preview, along with downloadable data files, will be available on password-protected web sites. The link and single password to access these sites will be sent in a separate email to Dashboard and Secure Accountability Coordinators on November 5, 2019.
Source: Rollout and Webinar Series – California School Dashboard and System of Support (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today the release of 2018–2019 enrollment data for California’s K–12 public schools. The data breaks down enrollment by ethnicity and grade, along with English Language Acquisition Status, and can be sorted by county, district, or school.
“This data provides a critical snapshot of all students in California, highlighting trends that show areas where students are improving, where they’re struggling and where additional resources are needed,” Thurmond said.
One important category updated for 2018–2019 is school-level data for Free or Reduced Price Meals, which is an effective indicator of student poverty. All data is utilized for state and federal reporting purposes, including determinations for supplemental grant funding through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
Source: 2018-2019 Enrollment Data for California Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Dan Walters
The biggest issue facing the nation’s biggest public school system – California’s, with six million students – is a stubborn “achievement gap.”
That’s the term educators use to describe persistent differences between what white and Asian students learn, as revealed by academic testing, and what Latino, black and poor students are getting from the public schools.
The differentials eventually result in much higher rates of high school graduation and college attendance by the former, thus preparing them for success in an increasingly complex and technology-driven economy.
Source: CALmatters Commentary: Can California close ‘achievement gap’?
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
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
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)
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
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
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)
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)
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
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
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
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
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)
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