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Local Control Funding Formula Talking Points

LCFF offers a great opportunity for local communities to develop programs that serve the unique needs of the students in their communities.  But it also creates the possibility for abuse and failure if there is not true stakeholder involvement and measures to ensure transparency and accountability.  This is why it is critical that communities demand this transparency and accountability - so they can understand where the money is going and how that is serving its students.

Students are the true—and largest—stakeholders in K-12 education and need representation.

  • Students are the true stakeholders in California’s K-12 public education system and -- at 6.2 million in number -- students are by far the largest stakeholders in California’s K-12 public education system.   

  • Students currently have little to no representation in the decisions that impact them.

  • Regulations and guidelines written for the LCFF should address this grievous situation.

Ensure true stakeholder involvement through defined committee structures, roles, responsibilities, and timelines.  

  • “Parental Involvement” under the Local Control and Accountability Plan should include reporting of actual numbers/percentages of parents actively engaged at school sites--and school site and district advisory and regulatory committees--not just the district’s “efforts” and “promotion” of parental input and participation.

  • Parents and students—the true stakeholders in education—need to have defined structures and roles stipulated in the regulations to ensure that they have a voice to exert true “Local Control” of LCFF.

  • Parents should have defined roles on a regulatory and/or development committee at the school district level, not just secondary, advisory roles.  This is critical because district decisions—particularly those involving the LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan), collective bargaining, and budget—will have massive, direct and indirect, impacts on student programs and services as well as school site funding. And the true stakeholders, students, currently have no voice in these decisions.

  • Require true parent/student stakeholder involvement in early brainstorming and decision-making, such as producing the LCAP.  Rather than require the district merely to solicit and reply to parent feedback on the LCAP--and then proceed as the district sees fit--it is critical to require districts to concretely redress the issues under contention.    

  • Committees should be inclusionary, allowing maximum numbers of interested parents to participate or at least the opportunity to become involved, not just “executive” committees, allowing merely a select few to participate.  Consider guidelines or regulations making committee stakeholder representation proportional to the relative representations of the stakeholders in the district and schools.

Extend “local control” to school sites.

  • Recognizing that different schools within a district have different “local” needs, expand the role of School Site Committees (SSCs) at schools to retain a site Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA).  

  • Ideally incorporate any new responsibilities under the LCFF into the SSC rather than establishing yet another school site committee that taxes actively-involved parents’ abilities to participate.  

  • In the event SSCs are phased out, parents/students should be considered true stakeholders and have formal representation in school site committees.  

Provide training for effective stakeholder involvement.  To have effective stakeholder involvement and committee function, the state should offer online training for all stakeholders—especially parents and students—on the roles, responsibilities, and rights of members on these committees as well as the roles and legal responsibilities of these committees.

Ensure transparency and accountability through collecting and reporting of best practices and a reporting structure for violations.  

  • The California Collaborative for Education Excellence should collect and report best practices to all districts, not just those clearly struggling.

  • To have effective transparency and accountability, state regulations should stipulate a reporting structure, preferably anonymous, for alleged egregious violations of rules and consequences for repeat violations.  To be effective, this reporting structure would need to extend beyond the school sites and school districts to an agency with authority over these entities.

Require transparency of all decision-making and spending.  Require transparency of school site and district budgets and decision-making processes.  This would include—but not be limited to—timely online access to all relevant committee meeting dates, agendas and minutes, as well as online budget information in a version that can be understood by a layperson but is sufficiently detailed to allow for interpretation and analysis. 

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commented 2013-08-07 18:17:45 -0700
To guarantee the Constitutional separation of Church and State, there should also be safeguards put in place that would insure a completely secular education be offered in the public schools, free from religious bias or favoritism of any sort.