Districts are beginning the important transition to LCFF and are currently prioritizing how best to spend their allocation of this year’s initial $2.1 billion reinvestment. However, only upon full implementation can the complete benefits of LCFF translate into improvements in the quality of education for all students, especially those with the greatest needs.

Coupled with the implementation of Common Core content standards, we are on the verge of fundamentally changing the dynamic of California’s education system. After four years of funding cuts, districts now have the ability to make decisions that help to restore, make improvements and set a foundation for a more responsive and outcome-driven educational program at the local level.

Several policy decisions must still be made to determine important parameters and guidelines to help local school districts fully and effectively implement LCFF:

JAN ‘14 – The State Board of Education (SBE) must approve rules regarding how districts allocate resources to ensure the supplemental and concentration funding is spent to benefit high-need students. The SBE must also adopt regulations to guide districts to develop their budgets.

MAR ‘14 – The SBE must adopt the template for counties, districts and charter schools to utilize as they develop their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) (See below for additional information on LCAPs).

JUL ‘14 – Districts, county offices and charter schools must develop and adopt a LCAP which is reviewed and revised each year. To accomplish this, school leaders will need to engage their local communities, starting now, to explore state and local priorities, develop strategies to meet those priorities based on student outcome goals, and ultimately develop a local budget to implement the plans.

OCT ‘14 – The SBE must adopt the LCAP evaluation rubric. This rubric will outline performance expectations for districts and school sites, and can be used for self-review, as well as for determining technical assistance and intervention needs.

LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION – LOCAL CONTROL AND ACCOUNTABILITY PLANS (LCAPS)

At the core of local implementation of LCFF are the new LCAPs. These important documents require districts to demonstrate and communicate how they will use their newly granted flexibility and additional resources to create a coherent approach for serving all students, as well as implement additional supports and services for high-need students.

An LCAP is distinct from past planning requirements because it provides a narrative for the district’s overall vision and strategy for achieving specific outcomes for students, and showcases how that vision and strategy relates to the district’s entire budget. A core component in the new plan is that it provides greater transparency by demonstrating how resources are being used, with the goal of improving public trust and supporting engagement in local decision making. Locally developed LCAPs are organized around several key state priorities that districts and schools must consider as they devise local strategies and approaches, including:

  • Improving student achievement and outcomes along multiple measures, including college and career readiness;

  • Providing all students access to fully credentialed teachers, instructional materials that align with state standards and safe facilities;

  • Implementing academic content and performance standards;

  • Promoting parental involvement and participation; and

  • Supporting student engagement, promoting positive school climate and providing access to a broad course of study.