In June of 2013 a new era of school finance in California was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The new funding model is known as the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). It reshapes school funding, with the promise of additional funding (trying to recapture the level of 2007-08), and squarely aimed to improve achievement for all students.
LCFF, and its local accountability counterpart, the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), are anchored by the notion that California must do better for its underperforming students, who in fact make up a sizable portion of the state’s school-age population. The LCFF significantly changes the funding formula for school districts — more money is attached to meet the needs of a school districts most at-risk students. The LCFF identifies three categories of students requiring greater resources: 1) students who qualify for free or reduced priced meals, 2) students who are English Learners, and 3) foster youth. Together, roughly 40% of Berkeley students are among the population that fall into these categories, and for which the state will now provide additional need-based revenue to the district.
School districts must create a Local Control and Accountability Plan to spend the increased money. The first LCAP must be passed by the School Board by the end of June of each school year. According to the projections used by Governor Brown to create the plan, school district funding will rise in increments over the next seven years (2014-2021).
Priorities and Accountability
The plan, called the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), must be adopted by each district at a board meeting after consultation with teachers, principals, school personnel, pupils, bargaining units, parents and with the advice of a district-level parent and district advisory committee. The LCAP must include a description of:
- The district’s annual goals, for all students and for each subgroup, for each of the state priority areas and any additional local priorities areas; and
- The specific actions and strategies the district will use to achieve those goals.
The state has identified the following eight priority areas:
- Student Achievement
- Student Engagement
- Other Student Outcomes
- School Climate
- Parent Involvement
- Implementation of Academic Standards, including a focus on English Learners
- Course Access
- Basic Services, including facilities, qualified teachers, and instructional materials
Examples of measures that could be included in the LCAP to assess progress in these areas are: graduation rates, drop-out rates, performance on state and local assessments, English learner reclassification rate, percentage of students passing AP and IB exams, SAT participation and scores, attendance rates, suspension and expulsion rates, levels of parent participation and satisfaction, reports on facilities and availability of instructional materials, rate of teacher mis-assignment, level of implementation of CCSS, and student access and enrollment in college prep classes.
Local Control Accountability Plan