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SBE adopts final LCFF spending regulations, revised LCAP template 

The California State Board of Education at its meeting on Nov. 14 adopted final spending regulations for LCFF and a revised LCAP template — decisions described as a major milestone for school transparency and accountability.

CSBA CEO and Executive Director Vernon M. Billy said, “Approving the LCFF regulations and template now provides the necessary certainty to allow governing boards to continue updating and developing their LCAPs.”

“California should be proud of this achievement, one done without litigation,” said CSBA Legislative Advocate Andrea Ball. “The SBE did a tremendous amount of outreach, and engaged with the educational community and students to develop a process that aligns with the needs of governing boards.”

The regulations and template are a part of California’s school funding formula that has been in place since 2013. Under the formula, which will be implemented over eight years, school districts and county offices of education are given more local control over funding decisions. Additionally, the LCAPs require districts and COEs to detail how they will tackle state-mandated priorities, particularly for student groups with high-needs, such as low-income students, English learners and foster youth. Under the LCFF, schools are given additional funds based on their number of students in each of these categories. The newly adopted regulations — developed through hundreds of hours of public commentary and testimony — aim to make this process clearer and easier to complete.

The regulations also require that school districts include student feedback on development of their LCAPs through student surveys, forums and meetings. Previously, the involvement of parent groups was required but not student groups.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson cited such involvement as key to LCFF/LCAP success, saying “everyone — parents, teachers, students, and community leaders — has a voice in how these important decisions are made.”

CSBA Senior Director of Policy and Programs Teri Burns cautioned that the LCAP process will continue to evolve. “Additional clarifications will doubtless be needed,” she said.

CSBA’s Billy added, “As governance teams and stakeholders gain experience with the LCAP process, CSBA looks forward to future refinements in the template, including the online template and greater alignment between other required documents, such as the School Accountability Report Cards and LEA plans.”

In the meantime, CSBA plans to continue to be involved in any future LCFF/LCAP reviews. As part of this, CSBA recently launched the LCFF Collaborative Working Group. The LCFF Collaborative involves school districts statewide, from urban to rural, and participants meet on a quarterly basis to strategize on implementation and share lessons learned.

Other items heard at the SBE’s Nov. 13-14 board meeting included a comprehensive report on Common Core State Standards implementation, which discussed lesson plan resources available online for teachers and Internet connectivity resources for those school sites still in need of the ‘last mile’ connection to high-speed networks.  

The SBE approved full implementation of the Smarter Balanced summative assessments for Spring 2015, setting a base year score for students. As part of the implementation, they will continue to provide professional development for teachers and technology assistance for districts.

Additionally, the SBE approved the State Implementation Plan for the Next Generation Science Standards for grades K-12. The 89-page stakeholder-developed plan is a set of possible strategies for LEAs to develop local plans that will begin the process of updating school curriculum and equipment to match the latest scientific knowledge and technology.

Finally, the board heard a series of presentations by students from the Association of Student Councils on topics which will likely be the subject of future consideration by the board, including the level of student engagement in LCAP development, possible computer science instruction requirements and the possibility of adding students to the Instructional Quality Commission board.

You can watch the archived webcast of the meeting on the SBE’s website.