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ERIC Number: ED570154
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Puzzling Plans and Budgets: Making Sense of California's Second Year Local Control and Accountability Plans
Chen, Theresa
Education Trust-West
On July 1, 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed California's landmark Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) into law. In addition to providing districts with greater control over how to spend funds, LCFF marked a tremendous opportunity for educational equity. The new funding law gave districts additional resources, called supplemental and concentration grants, to provide more services for English learners, foster youth, and low-income students. This brief follows up on the transparency issues raised in the 2014 report, "Building a More Equitable and Participatory School System in California: The Local Control Funding Formula's First Year." That report identified two key concerns about the transparency of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), the planning and budgeting tool that LCFF mandated for school districts to communicate their strategies for improving student outcomes and performance. Findings show that, in their second year, LCAPs continue to lack budget transparency. As a result, the concerns raised in the 2014 report remain the same: without a comprehensive understanding of a district's spending, communities are unable to make a clear and full assessment of whether supplemental/concentration dollars are indeed reaching high-need students. This report recommends that state leaders and policymakers improve the LCAP by revising the template, sharing best practices, and clarifying unallowable uses of supplemental/concentration grants. A balance of local control and fiscal transparency can safeguard the transformational promise of LCFF of increased equity for children in California. The authors reviewed 2015-16 LCAPs across the same 40 school districts studied in the 2014 report. These districts ranged from Trinity Alps Unified, a small district with 660 students, to the state's largest district, Los Angeles Unified, with almost 650,000 students. Most districts had high percentages of the students targeted for additional funding. The review focused on two key questions: (1) To what extent are the 2015-16 LCAPs transparent?; and (2) To what extent do the 2015-16 LCAPs demonstrate that supplemental/concentration grants are being targeted to high-need students? Though this review focused primarily on questions of transparency, it also analyzed trends in the types of programs and services districts proposed in their LCAPs. The following are appended: (1) Districts Selected For LCAP Analysis; (2) What Programs and Services Do Districts Propose in Their LCAPs?; and (3) Model Budget Format. [This report was written with the assistance of Carrie Hahnel, Natalie Wheatfall, and Leni Wolf.]
Education Trust-West. 1814 Franklin Street Suite 220, Oakland, CA 94612. Tel: 510-465-6444; Fax: 510-465-0859; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Trust-West
Identifiers - Location: California