Sacramento Requires Parents Input for School Funding

The new rules out of Sacramento for school funding were discussed at Tuesday’s Fillmore Unified School Board Meeting. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) replaces the previous K-12 finance system and uses a base grant to start, and added supplemental and concentration grants to those schools that qualify. The base grant varies depending on grade span but the average is $7,643 and provides and adjustment of 10.4% (of the base) additional funds for grades K-3rd (if the class enrollment is 24 pupils or less). There is also a 2.6% added funds for grades 9-12th and 20% additional funds for targeted disadvantaged students which includes English learners (EL), students eligible to receive a free or reduced-price meal and foster youth. A concentration grant equal to 50% of the adjusted base grant is given to schools/districts where the targeted students exceed 55% enrollment.

According to the California Department of Education website; "Until full implementation local education agencies will receive roughly the same amount of funding they received in 2012-2013 plus an additional amount each year to bridge the gap between current funding levels and the new LCFF target levels. The budget projects the time frame for full implementation of the LCFF to be eight years."

K-3rd grants are projected to range from $6,845 to $10,769; 4-6th $6,947 to $9,899; 7-8th $7,154 to $10,194; and 9-12th $8,289 to $12,119. California spent $57,923,591,137 on education during the 2011-2012 school year and in 2013, $50,584,391,000 went to k-12 and higher education, which is over 53% of the state's general fund.
All schools receiving state funding are required to develop and adopt a three-year Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) beginning on July 1, 2014. The process starts next month and administrators must determine where the students’ needs are greatest using guidelines adopted by the California State Board of Education. The plan must be drafted by March 31, 2014. From May thru June 30th public input will be solicited and a proposed plan presented to a parents advisory committee for review and comment. Because English learners make up more than 15% of FUSD enrollment there will also be a District English Learner Advisory Committee which must include parents. The process requires administrators consult with school employees, parents and students for advice, and also have an open discussion at a public meeting, solicit written comments from the public, respond to comments from the parent advisory committee and adopt the plan during a public hearing.

LCAP requires established annual goals for all students, requires a description of what actions will be taken to achieve the goals and requires details on how funds will be spent to increase or improve services. The LCAP requirements include implementation of Common Core State Standards, qualified and properly assigned teachers, parent involvement, sufficient instructional material, and facilities in good repair along with a number of other requirements.

The State Board of Education is required to adopt an evaluation rubrics (rules and regulations) on evaluating strengths, weaknesses and areas that require improvement, technical assistance needs and where interventions are warranted on or before October 1, 2015.

All these changes are taking place at the same time the Common Core State Standards are being implemented. During the meeting a presentation overview was given of the Shifts in Common Core State Standards by Educational Service Staff. One of the main shifts is that teachers are not expected to stand in front of the classroom and teach, directing the students and explaining the subject. The teacher does not explain the text, the student is expected to decipher the text for them self. It was described as "Teaching less and learning more."

Another change is reducing non-fiction to simple sentences or paragraphs such as what one might find in a pamphlet. There is also a word now being used by educators "scaffolding." What this new word means in the teaching world is that teachers will shore up those students who are behind in a subject such as reading, while not holding back the whole class waiting for them to catch up.