Local Control Funding Formula:
School Funding & Equity

The Local Control Funding Formula provides more equitable school funding, with local flexibility and greater community engagement.

The LCFF, a comprehensive overhaul of California’s school funding system, is seen as a national model for school funding equity. If California wants to close the achievement gap for low-income students, English learners and foster youth, schools will need more resources.

About LCFF

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 was 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 should be complete by 2020-21. According to state law, LCFF will:

  • Restore K-12 funding to pre-recession levels over time.
  • Provide 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 is more consistent throughout California among schools by 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), to 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 program decisions.
  • Establish a set of state priorities – including college and career preparedness, student engagement and parental involvement – that every district must address.

Prior to LCFF, California‘s school funding system was complex, confusing and didn’t ensure equity for students or schools. Supported by compelling research and data that demonstrates how a weighted formula approach would make the funding system more effective, student-centered and results-driven, education policy experts pushed for its adoption to fix California’s broken K-12 school funding system for many years.

Governor Brown recognized that if this issue was not addressed, student achievement would continue to suffer and districts would continue to be hamstrung from making swift and impactful decisions to help them. He first introduced a weighted formula school funding proposal in May 2012 but the effort was unsuccessful.

Following the passage of Proposition 30 in November 2012, which stopped the cycle of cuts and made new resources available education, Governor Brown’s Administration spent a great amount of time listening to concerns raised by stakeholders about the weighted formula approach to determine what made most sense for California. In January 2013 as part of his budget proposal the Governor introduced LCFF, built upon the input and recommendations from leaders in the education community. This level of input and engagement continued throughout the effort to enact the reform. A diverse cross section of stakeholders in education, business, civil rights, faith, community development and children’s advocacy supported LCFF and worked to shape the proposal’s development during the budget process.

At the center of Local Control Funding Formula implementation is a document called the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCAP, which districts must submit to their County Office of Education no later than July 1 each year, will require districts to meet specific requirements to engage parents and the community in their budget process, as well as demonstrate how they will meet specific state priorities related to quality of instructional material, alignment to new academic standards, improving student outcomes and facilitating a supportive school climate.

The role for parents and community members

LCFF is clear that LCAPs must include a plan to seek parent input in making decisions for the school district and each individual school site. Because districts have a very short amount of time to plan, write and implement their LCAPs, parents and the community must be aware of how districts are required to engage them. By law, districts must, at a minimum, engage parents and the community by establishing the following roles for them:

  • LCAP public review – A district’s LCAP must be reviewed by the public, who must be given an opportunity to comment on the LCAP in a hearing that is separate from the hearing in which the LCAP is adopted.
  • English learner advisory committee – Districts with at least 15 percent English learners also must engage an English learner advisory committee to provide input on the development of the LCAP.
  • Parental advisory committee – The district will need to solicit input from an advisory committee of parents/guardians who represent the students of the district, especially parents of low-income students, English learners, and foster youth throughout the development of the LCAP.
  • Community transparency – The Superintendent must notify the community of opportunities to provide comments regarding the proposed LCAP, and must respond to these comments in writing

The LCAP requires school districts to devise long-term, multiyear strategies. Parents and community members need to work with their school districts and ask these questions:

How are kids doing now?

  • Is the community receiving easily accessible and understandable data on student outcomes?
  • How are students doing along a broad array of outcomes? What are the most pressing needs and priority areas?
  • What are the unique assets in the district, schools and broader community that can support improving student outcomes?

What’s the plan for ensuring student success?

  • What student success goals should drive the work locally and be included in the LCAP?
  • How do these goals reflect the unique needs of individual school sites and varying student populations, including low income, English learners and foster youth?
  • Are these goals both challenging and achievable in a three-year time frame?
  • How will these goals be tracked each year? What data will be used?
  • How will these goals be used to determine local funding priorities?

How should local collaboration continue?

  • How should students, parents and community members continue to be engaged in an ongoing way during the planning, budgeting and local implementation review progress that happens each year?
  • How would parents and community members like to be involved in the process locally?
  • What can a district do to spark and support parent and community interest in getting involved?

Additional Resources

Equity in School Funding:

Listen Now

Opportunities to Advocate for Equity in Your Local Schools

Listen Now

Best Practices for Stakeholder Engagement

Download resource

Newsletters & Articles

The latest updates on LCFF



ICYMI: Prioritizing California’s Kids in School Reopening Plans

School reopening plans and distance learning continue to be at the center of public discussion this past week.


Recent Advancements in the Fight for Educational Equity Amidst COVID-19

The COVID-19-induced recession threatens to severely impact kids if key services and supports are not protected in the 2020-2011 budget. Thankfully, the Legislature is proposing to protect education funding, and policymakers are advancing key measures to support high-need students during this difficult time.


760 Pro-Kid Organizations Call On Governor And Legislature To Prioritize Kids During COVID-19 Economic Downturn

Seven hundred and sixty organizations from The Children’s Movement on Thursday issued an impassioned call for Gov. Newsom and the State Legislature to prioritize California’s most vulnerable kids – children of color, children living in poverty and children from undocumented families…


How are kids prioritized in the California State Budget?

While essential items like Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) transparency, professional development and teacher retention, special education, and targeted investments in STEM education were addressed, there is still a long way to go to ensure kids’ needs are met.


Understanding LCFF Today to Support Improvement Tomorrow

In a report released last week, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that school spending under the six-year-old Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) helped lower classroom sizes and channeled extra resources to school districts with high concentrations of students who are low income, English learners and homeless.