By Hilary Mahan, MBEF Board Member
Most parents within the district are aware that funding for education within the state has dramatically changed recently. But whether it is clear how it all works is another story. In July of 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) into law, the most significant change to the state’s education budget in over four decades.
The Local Control Funding Formula affects the way the state government provides funding to school districts in grades K-12. One goal of the new law is to improve academic outcomes for targeted disadvantaged students (those classified as low-income, English learners and foster youth). The second goal of LCFF is to give local school districts more authority over how to spend their money.
Under the new system, districts will receive a uniform base grant for every student that varies by grade level, as well as a supplemental grant for the targeted students with greater challenges. In addition to these grants, districts with more than 55% of the targeted students with high needs will receive an additional concentration grant. The LCFF makes no changes to how special education is currently funded.
Because the grants go directly to the districts, there are several requirements in place to involve the community in how the state funds are spent. Each school board was required to adopt a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) that defines its goals and priorities by June 2014. The plan must be linked with eight state-defined priority areas, including test scores, graduation rates, the Common Core State Standards, career and college readiness, school climate, and student engagement. MBUSD developed their plan based on a close examination of student achievement data as well as results of teacher, parent and even student surveys. You can find the MBUSD approved LCAP here.
The transition to LCFF occurred in 2013-2014, but the transition to full funding of the LCFF will be phased in gradually. For MBUSD, LCFF means a slight increase in funding for our district over the next 6 years. We will not be restored to pre-recession (2007-2008) levels of state funding until the 2020-2021 school year. Even at that time, state funding was not enough to support the quality of education our community has come to depend on. Based on our student population, we qualify for a very SMALL portion of the supplemental grant but do NOT qualify for the concentration grant. Exactly how much more we will receive per student per year will continue to depend on the state’s economy.
The reality is that even with LCFF, MBUSD will continue to be significantly underfunded. Your support of MBEF is as important as ever to the quality of your child’s education.
For more information on LCFF in general, click here.