STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION ACHIEVES MAJOR MILESTONE FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN SCHOOLS

The California State Board of Education has approved final spending regulations for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and a revised template for Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP), strengthening parent and community involvement in budget decisions and expanding local accountability measures to improve student achievement. The file vote marks a major milestone in the formal rulemaking process required of the State Board of Education and finalizes numerous revisions and improvements suggested by educators, parents, students, lawmakers, education groups and advocacy organizations since the LCFF became law in 2013. Thousands of public comments about the regulations and hours of public testimony before the Board led to the development of these final regulations and revised template.

“These LCFF regulations address a number of issues raised by education stakeholders in California. By listening to stakeholders and learning about LCFF and LCAP implementation in local districts, we were able to make adjustments that clarify the intent of the law and bolster transparency at the local level,” said Mike Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education.

“The board action today is another significant step on this historic path to use our resources more effectively to serve all California students,” said Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The revised regulations and template retain the flexibility of districts to make spending decisions, while making sure that everyone – parents, teachers, students and community leaders – has a voice in how these important decisions are made.”

LCFF links transparency and accountability directly to the local goal setting and budgeting process by requiring each school district, county office of education and charter school to adopt LCAPs. The Board approved a revised LCAP template that includes requested changes from county offices of education, local districts and education stakeholders.

“The LCFF regulations and LCAP template are major transformations intended to ensure the state’s 6.2 million students receive the education they need and deserve by strengthening capacity and providing support throughout our public school system. The State Board of Education remains committed to listening and learning from the experiences of practitioners and stakeholders at the local level,” concluded Kirst.

Some of the groups and organizations actively involved in the development of the regulations and the revised template offered the following comments about the Board’s actions:

California County Superintendents Educational Services Association Executive Director Peter Birdsall said, “County superintendents have been at the front line of review and approval of school district LCAPs. The Board’s action today reflects the lessons learned from this first year experience—the new regulations and template are clearer, easier to use, and keep the focus on community engagement and services to students.”

The Education-Trust Executive Director Ryan J. Smith said, “The Education Trust–West would like to thank the State Board of Education, and its staff, for listening to the concerns of parents, community-based organizations, students, and other civil rights advocates when developing the final implementing regulations for the Local Control Funding Formula. We appreciated the opportunity to work together to ensure our neediest students will benefit from supplemental funding. We look forward to continuing our cooperative relationship in the coming year.”

Association of California School Administrators Executive Director Wesley Smith said, “The LCFF regulations and template strengthen the tie between goals and actions ensuring stronger student achievement outcomes. The final regulations increase transparency and guarantee a stronger student voice.”

National Center for Youth Law California Director of FosterEd Jackie Thu-Huong Wong said, “The Local Control Funding Formula is a groundbreaking effort to meet the educational needs of all foster youth and should serve as a guidepost for other initiatives such as the Foster Youth Services program. The LCFF permanent regulations will enable foster youth, and their advocates, to articulate their needs up front as schools and districts develop spending plans for funds targeted to closing the foster youth achievement gap. The accompanying accountability plans must ensure local entities use these funds to provide programs and services tailored to foster youth.”

California School Boards Association CEO and Executive Director Vernon M. Billy said, “Approving the Local Control Funding Formula regulations and template now provides the necessary certainty to allow governing boards to continue updating and developing their next Local Control Accountability Plans. As governance teams and stakeholders gain experience with the LCAP process, CSBA looks forward to future refinements in the template, including the online template and greater alignment between other required documents, such as the School Accountability Report Cards and LEA Plans, that will reduce redundancy and improve the accessibility of the information.”

California State PTA President Colleen A.R. You said, California State PTA appreciates the efforts of the State Board of Education to help achieve greater transparency and accountability in improving services for all students. We thank the State Board of Education members and staff for the ongoing communication and requests for input from parents and the education community on the LCFF and LCAP process, including how it is working and how it can be more effective. There is much work to do across the state to raise awareness about LCFF and increase participation. We are committed to the goal of ongoing, meaningful parent engagement and look forward to continued cooperation with the SBE in these efforts.”

Families In Schools President and CEO Oscar E. Cruz said, “On behalf of the hundreds of parents who shared their recommendations for improving the LCFF regulations and the LCAP template in person and by letter, we extend our appreciation for your hard work and leadership role. You have our relentless support in promoting the life chances of low-income students and students of color.”

ACLU of California Director of Education Advocacy David Sapp said, “The ACLU of California appreciates the significant progress madesince November 2013to strengthen the regulations and LCAPtemplate, although we believe experience from this past year underscores several areas where additional improvements areneeded.We also commend the State Board and staff for their commitment to seek input from stakeholders and foster authentic engagement and transparency throughout this process and believe it should serve as an example for districts oninvolving students, parents, and community groups in the LCAP process each year.”

Public Advocates Managing Attorney John Affeldt said, “The Boardhas crafted an approach here that marries equity for high need studentswith flexibility for districts. We continue to worry equity will take a back seat in implementation but trust all our policymakers in Sacramento will be open to mid-course corrections if that occurs.”

California Association of School Business Officials President Vince Christakos President said, “Our organization greatly appreciates the efforts of the State Board of Education and its staff to ensure that the LCFF regulations and LCAP template were crafted in a way to ensure they will result in the positive student outcomes we all desire. We commend the board and staff for being open and willing to address the concerns of stakeholders, including chief business officials and other CASBO members.”

Children Now President Ted Lempert said, “The adoption of these LCFF regulations is an important win for kids. They maintain the flexibility and control to help school districts meet their students’ unique needs, while providing greater clarity in how resources must support English learners, low-income and foster youth. This positive outcome is a product of great collaboration,which will be essential as we continue to work on LCFF implementation moving forward.”

PICO Californiaparent leader Elizabeth Devora of Oakland concluded, “We appreciate the efforts of the State Board of Education to incorporate the priorities and concerns of parents and students into the drafting of the Local Control Funding Formula regulations and LCAP template, and the thoughtful and respectful way we were welcomed and included in the process. As we continue to work on LCFF, we hope that districts around the state embrace this commitment to partner in the same way to ensure that students with the greatest need who have been denied opportunity have the resources they need to be successful and to graduate high school with real choices about college and work.”