University of Redlands hosted Budget Symposium on School Finance
New local control funding formula is centered on accountability rather than revenue
REDLANDS, Oct. 18, 2013–The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is quickly approaching California school districts for the 2013-2014 school year. Regional school board members, administrators, teachers and community members gathered at University of Redlands on Oct. 17 for the 2013 Fall Symposium on School Finance, hosted by the University’s School of Education Center for Educational Justice, to discuss how the LCFF would impact California districts, students and communities.
The LCFF budget package will be replacing the current K-12 state finance system for public and charter schools throughout the state. In the program, there is a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) in which districts will be responsible for accountability by using a template adopted by the California State Board of Education.
“The LCFF is a new way of funding our school districts. It not only brings awareness of student subgroups, but it also recognizes them and allows the redistribution of school funding through local impact,” Jose Lalas, University of Redlands Center for Educational Justice director, said.
Ted Alejandre, who serves as assistant superintendent of Business Services, San Bernardino County Office of Education, stressed that the new financial system will meet the needs of the lowest disadvantaged students.
The Local Control Accountability Plan has several core components that include: district-wide goals, specific actions to achieve goals, and an input and review process at the local district level, as explained by Paul Jessup, deputy superintendent, Riverside County Office of Education.
“The old system was revenue focused, the new system differs in that it is centered on accountability,” Jessup said. “If we do a good job in creating accountability plans, we will see a difference in the life of our students.”
With the LCFF, there is more opportunity for review and input from the schools at a district-wide level, he added.
One of the major changes in the funding criteria is that under the current budget, subgroups require a minimum of 100 students at a school site in order to be eligible for additional funding. However, under the 2013-2014 system, schools only require a minimum of 30 students for eligibility as a subgroup. Subgroups include foster youth, English learners and low income students.
The LCFF also includes parent advisory boards. The advisory boards are to be comprised of parents and guardians of disadvantaged students. The advisory boards will be required to follow the guidelines illustrated in the plan.
“It’s going to be an interesting transition. Historically, the State has cared more about money than its kids,” Jessup stated. “This is the beginning of an attempt to switch this around. I am anxious to see a positive change in our schools.”