|Posted on June 19, 2017 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
Looking for an update on the state of LCFF implementation? This meeting might be perfect for you then!
Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 1:00pm to 4:30pm
California Secretary of State Office Building Auditorium
1500 11th St, Sacramento, CA 95814
Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) is excited to invite you to The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Implementation and Impact Conference.
|Posted on May 26, 2017 at 4:05 PM||comments (0)|
Per Bill McGuire:
Great Job, with new Superintendent Ben Drati (I know from by Clovis Unified Days). Pay is 163,600 and closes on June 5th. Let me know if you have any questions.
Pass this along to a person with a great future if you are not interested!
|Posted on May 22, 2017 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
The Governor's decision to delay funding the one time discretionary funds has created quite a stir in education. Be sure to read this interesting article about it.
|Posted on May 7, 2017 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
It is amazing that CCSA is now viewed as a major player and rival to CTA. I wonder if we will ever arrive at a place where school districts and charters can live in a non-adversarial manner?
|Posted on May 2, 2017 at 11:15 AM||comments (0)|
Be sure to check out this new research study on the implementation of LCFF and the LCAP process. There is much to be learned here.
|Posted on April 28, 2017 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
Yes, it's that time of year again....interview season...
Here are the latest CASBO job openings. Remember, if you are looking for a CBO position, be sure to send a copy of your current resume to SSC and let them know you are interested in opportunties.
As always, if you need help preparing for interviews, just let me know.
|Posted on April 23, 2017 at 9:15 PM||comments (0)|
An excellent report on special education excellence in California Charter Schools.
Everyone can learn something from reading this report. Carve out a few minutes and add it to your "to do" list.
|Posted on April 20, 2017 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Check out this opinion piece from Ted Lempert, president of Children Now and Ryan J. Smith, executive director of The Education Trust–West.. They suggest that LCAP should be reported out at the site level rather than the entire district. Some very interesting food for thought about what the word "transparency" truly means.
Gov. Jerry Brown fundamentally changed how we fund our K-12 education system when he signed the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) into law in 2013. Since doing away with the archaic system that sustained inequitable school funding, California has been pushing dollars and decision-making to the district level, and providing more funding for the students that need it most.
Despite these improvements, the success of the funding formula is in jeopardy unless the alarming lack of transparency into how schools are spending this money and whether the investments are improving student outcomes is fixed.
Our organizations pushed for the funding formula and continue to believe in its benefits and potential to close opportunity and achievement gaps for our 6.2 million students. Since LCFF’s passage, we have seen promising changes around the state — a boost in community engagement, more equitable funding of districts and increased efforts to reduce chronic absenteeism and improve school climate, among others. However, since LCFF’s passage, we and many others have tried every possible way to build fiscal transparency into the system to no avail.
Currently, LCFF requires districts to report how the districts overall – not the schools specifically – are spending their dollars. Without school-level expenditures, we cannot tell if districts are spending these additional dollars to serve the schools and students that generated them — English learner, low-income, and foster youth students.
These dollars are intended to increase or improve services for those students, but the lack of transparency on actual expenditures makes it nearly impossible to gauge the impact of those investments, or even determine if they’re actually occurring.
Recent research — including a study conducted by The Education Trust-West (ETW) — underscores these concerns. ETW’s research found that while funding has become more equitable across California school districts, there is little evidence to prove this funding has translated into more opportunities or success for students in low-income schools.
That is why Assemblymember Shirley Weber has introduced AB1321. It will give us the ability to determine why this is happening and the information necessary to fix it.
Transparency and accessibility are core to LCFF. When the governor introduced the formula in his January 2013 budget proposal, he stated that it would “greatly increase transparency… empowering parents and local communities to access information in a more user friendly manner and enhance their ability to engage in local school financial matters.” AB 1321 brings such transparency to every district, ensuring LCFF in practice truly embraces the intended principles of the original LCFF legislation by creating a consistent and direct method for districts to report their actual spending, by type of funding at the school and district level.
Parents, local communities and others should not have to hire research teams and data analysts to get the information they need to understand how school funds are being used.
Waiting any longer to fix this transparency problem will be to the detriment of our students and will stifle the very districts we expect to be innovating and transforming communities by depriving them of sufficient information and direction from the state.
To be clear, districts face an enormous amount of often-competing pressures, ones that will only continue in the wake of pension reforms and economic changes. Ensuring LCFF works, given these pressures, will take a great deal of work — but it is work our students and our state deserve.
California took bold action once before in the name of equity, fairness, and the pursuit of closing achievement gaps when it shifted to LCFF, and policymakers must now approve AB 1321 for the same reasons.
Ted Lempert is president of Children Now and Ryan J. Smith is executive director of The Education Trust–West.
|Posted on April 10, 2017 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
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.”
The funding formula gives additional money to school districts based on their numbers of English learners, foster youth and low-income students. A district whose “high-needs” students make up about 90 percent of enrollment, such as Fresno Unified, will get about a third more funding in “supplemental” and “concentration” dollars under the formula than districts like Dublin Unified, with 15 percent high-needs students.
The formula is working as intended to close funding disparities, the report found. Funding for the quarter of districts with the highest concentrations of poverty got $334 per student more in 2015-16 than the quarter of districts with the lowest rates of poverty. That’s a reversal from the low point of the Great Recession, 2012-13, when the highest-poverty districts got $829 per student less than those with the lowest poverty levels. The comparison is all the more striking because it includes local sources of money, such as parcel taxes and money from local foundations. It also includes high-wealth “basic aid” districts, like Palo Alto, that are funded through local property taxes and receive more money than they would from the state.
A table in the report of the state’s largest districts shows that per-student funding for Elk Grove Unified, with 58 percent high-needs students – about the state average – increased 41 percent since 2010-11, compared with 59 percent for Santa Ana Unified, with 94 percent high-needs students.
But the report, using limited data, said the money hasn’t yet translated into visible improvements for high-needs students statewide. The percentage of students in high-poverty high schools with access to math and English language arts courses qualifying for admission to California State University and the University of California stagnated or declined since pre-recession levels, although access to calculus and physics courses did increase. Access to all of these courses was significantly lower than in wealthier high schools.
The state does not collect data on how districts use supplemental and concentration money. The latest data on course access and numbers of counselors and librarians in low- and high-poverty schools were from 2014-15, the second year of funding under the formula. There have been significant funding increases in the past two years that were not accounted for in the report.
But Ryan Smith, Education Trust–West’s executive director, said that the complaints he continues to hear from parent and community leaders across the state back the report’s early-year findings that “district leaders aren’t spending money in the best interest of kids who generate the funds.”
This week, the nonprofit law firm Public Advocates filed a complaint against Long Beach Unified, alleging the state’s third-largest district either failed to explain how it had spent more than $40 million in supplemental and concentration money for high-needs students or had misallocated the funding. Referring to that action, Smith said, “We believe (the funding formula) can be the lynchpin to close the opportunity and achievement gaps. But rather than go down the road where every district is sued for not spending money on the kids, we are raising a yellow flag now.”
Education Trust–West’s report coincides with a push to pass funding transparency legislation that it and Children Now, another student advocacy organization, are cosponsoring. Assembly Bill 1321, by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, would require districts to specify how they are spending their supplemental and concentration dollars at the district and the school levels. Some districts already are doing this on their own. The bill would require uniform state codes to track these expenditures across districts.
The current law requires that districts show they are improving or increasing services for high-needs students in proportion to the extra money they’re getting, but they’re not required to itemize supplemental and concentration spending. And Gov. Jerry Brown, the architect of the funding formula, opposes requiring more detailed accounting at the school level. He and his appointed State Board of Education maintain that improvement strategies must radiate from the district to be effective and that administrators and school boards should be held accountable for improvement under local control.
Smith said that approach may make sense for a small district but not an urban district with hundreds of schools and a disconnected central office. “Parents engage at their school site, not L.A. Unified’s district office, to get their information and become involved,” he said.
The report calls for protecting districts’ flexibility over funding decisions and guarding against revisions to the formula that would increase base funding for general operations, at the expense of supplemental and concentration dollars. Education Trust–West and critics of the current formula do agree districts’ rising pension costs – a state-mandated expense not foreseen when the formula was created – and rising special education costs could easily consume more than half of base revenues in coming years. Those districts with declining enrollments will see a reduction in state revenue.
In a sober assessment, the report acknowledged, “With these cost pressures, districts will have very few new, incremental dollars available to increase and improve services” for high-need groups.
“This means thinking beyond the supplemental and concentration grants,” the report said. Districts should use the entire budget, integrating disparate sources of funding, to expand their strategies for high-need students.
The report highlights San Jose Unified, which it said uses an exemplary approach to equitable funding. The district, whose schools vary greatly in demographics and wealth, has directed significant staff and resources to high-poverty schools and given principals flexibility over allocating money. Members of the state board and other observers point to other districts’ equity-focused strategies and say San Jose’s strategy is far from unique.
|Posted on March 2, 2017 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
As we all know, the new LCAP template has been released and we are required to use it starting with our 2017-18 LCAP. A series of trainings are available all over the state to assist us in making this transition.