Friday, September 5, 2014

Activists win further regulation of LCFF money :: SI&A Cabinet Report

Activists win further regulation of LCFF money :: SI&A Cabinet Report :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet:

Activists win further regulation of LCFF money

Activists win further regulation of LCFF money

(Calif.) School administrators are still balking at attempts by lawmakers and other student advocacy groups to further tighten accountability restrictions under the state’s new school funding system.
The issue has come down to wording – inserted at the request of a group of legislators – that would require schools and districts to more specifically document and show how extra money provided by the state for certain populations of disadvantaged students is being used to raise their academic achievement.
The California State Board of Education is expected to adopt final Local Control Funding Formula regulations – and associated Local Control and Accountability Plan templates – in November, having approved an initial, emergency set of the rules earlier this year to allow districts to move forward under the new system.
Since then, the state board has been caught in the back and forth between administrators, who want flexibility over program spending, and advocates for stronger accountability – including a large group of legislators who late last week filed a letter with the board suggesting further ways to ensure that the intent of the law they passed is met.
Specifically, they said, local educational agencies should be required to show in their Local Control and Accountability Plans what they spent in prior years on high needs students.
“This information will provide a baseline to determine proportional increases in services for high need students and help ensure that the LCFF implementation complies with the law,” the letter stated.
The lawmaker group, led by Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Shirley Weber and state Senators Holly Mitchell and Ricardo Lara, praised state board members for requiring more data and expense reporting in the LCAPs, as well as providing guidance to encourage input from school site committees during the process to create the accountability plans.
Legislators also were supportive of the plan to add to the proposed final regulations a requirement that LEAs specifically show how supplemental and concentration funds serve the needs of the students for which they are intended – English learners, low-income and foster youth.
To do this, state education officials sprinkled a few key words, such as “principally” and “are effective in” throughout the final draft regulations to clarify the intent that districts direct the additional funding to programs for these at-risk populations.
School administrators, however, argue that these added requirements erode Gov. Jerry Brown’s premise behind the creation of the LCFF – that local school boards be given more authority to decide how best to spend education dollars.
They also say tighter regulations inhibit their ability to fund programs that also benefit students not 

Feds waiver policy further clouded by Florida threat
(Fla.) The Obama administration’s murky position on testing may have become even more opaque this week with news that Florida could lose its NCLB waiver over plans to exclude English learners from annual assessments.