“California’s public education system is immense: more than six million students in about 9,000 schools, governed by almost 1,000 elected school boards regulated by a complex Education Code and a finance system that is largely controlled by the Legislature and governor.” –Ed-Data
LCAP- On July 1, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the most comprehensive reform to California’s school funding system in 40 years. It is a huge win for schools and students and was passed with bi-partisan support as part of the 2013-14 California State Budget. The transition to LCFF began this year and it is estimated that full implementation will occur in 2020-21. According to state law, LCFF will:
Restore K-12 funding to pre-recession levels over time.
Target an investment of nearly $10 billion at full implementation that will benefit high-needs students – defined as lower-income households, English learners and students in foster care.
Ensure state funding for schools is more consistent through California, including providing 20 percent more funding for high-needs student. Districts with concentrations of high needs students – at least 55 percent – will receive 50 percent more funding for students over that threshold.
Require that every school district create its own Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), which will help ensure that student outcomes are the driving factor for how districts and communities invest scarce resources.
Hold districts accountable for devising strategies to engage the community and parents in their spending priority and programmatic decisions.
Establish a set of state priorities – including college and career preparedness, student engagement and parental involvement – that every district must address
EdSource Online www.edsource.org offers a wealth of information on the basics of California school funding. EdSource is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit agency that studies and reports on California school finance, whose mission is to “clarify complex education isssues and promote thoughtful policy decisions.”
The Ed-Data website provides a wealth of data on California’s K-12 schools provided by a collaboration between the California Department of Education, EdSource (see above) among others. Data is collected by the California Department of Education from schools, teachers, districts, and counties, certified and released by the CDE, and then published on Ed-Data as a searchable database of reports. We recommend you go to the Ed-Data home page http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/welcome.asp then search District reports. There are a variety of reports you can select from the pull down menu. (Financial Reports for District is a great place to start.) You may also want to read their articles on various Education topics.
…and Some Useful and Interesting Links
California Department of Education http://www.cde.ca.gov/
PACE – Policy Analysis for California Education http://pace.berkeley.edu/
National Center or Education Statistics http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/
Public Education Finance Report 2004 http://ftp2.census.gov/govs/school/04f33pub.pdf from the US Census Bureau
History of American Education http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/ a web project maintained by Professor Robert N. Barger.
Learning Matters, an independent, non-profit production company focused on education –http://learningmatters.tv/