Thursday, June 19, 2014

Local Control Funding and Sac City Unified Board

Sacramento City Unified Board meeting tonight.  6 PM. Serna Center.

At the June 5 meeting, the Community Priorities Coalition presented the board with alternatives.
Funding of California’s k-12 public education system is changing fundamentally.  Some schools will get much more money to educate kids. The centerpiece of the change is the Local Control Funding Formula, designed to send additional funds to districts where  “the need and the challenge is greatest.”  The law requires that  parents, students, teachers, and other community members be involved in the process of deciding how new funds are spent. Ed Source has an excellent guide to these changes.

    Sacramento City Unified’s plan for Local Control Funding is here.
   LCAP Timeline and Process- Within a PowerPoint presentation, which the district provides on its website, SCUSD outlines its LCAP development process, Community Planning Process, timeline, and lists potential community partners to engage with in LCFF implementation. A new budget will be submitted tonight and should be on the web site this PM. 
            The following was submitted to the Board on June 5. 
 We, the undersigned organizations, write to respectfully request your support for the consideration of these community needs into the district’s draft LCAP. These issue areas represent the concerns of our community members as found in our conversation with them through community town halls and our own surveys.
1)   Class size adjustments on select high-need schools – beginning with grades K-3 with gradual progress up the grade scale base on three years LCAP implementation
2)   Culturally competent professional training that would enhance school climate on diverse schools and create effective restorative justice and disciplinary policies for students
3)   Afterschool programs that are design to improve class performance and further classroom lessons

The passage of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) provides SCUSD with a unique opportunity to be innovative in the way it addresses the concerns of its high-need students and schools. We believe that this first year of the LCAP is critical and will set strong precedence for the designs of LCAP in the coming years.
Organizations:  Black Parallel School Board, Hmong Innovating Politics, Hmong Mein Lao Community Action Network, La Familia Counseling Center, Making Cents work, People Reaching Out, Area Congregations Together, Democracy and Education Institute, and more.

    SCUSD did not incorporate the suggestions of the Community Priority Coalition to focus on class size reduction, changes in discipline, and faculty in service.  Instead, they propose to use the extra funds to finance the programs they already support.  In this the SCUSD board relies on the district staff.  That is, they plan to continue what they have been doing and to call it community participation.
   There will be conflicts over this since doing things the same way is not the purpose of the LCFF.  The district is moving itself into problems of accountability under the LCAP laws.   Other districts, notably San Francisco and Fresno have developed plans in cooperation with the parents in their districts.

The new Local Control Funding Formula  of California frees school districts from many of the restrictions that limited how state money could be used in the past. Under the law, districts must craft an accountability plan that identifies strategies that improve services for “high-needs” students – low-income pupils, English learners and foster youth. Districts must adopt those three-year plans, which are instructional and financial guides, with input from parents, community residents and staff, by July 1.

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