California is changing the way its funding school districts.
In the past, the state gave funds that were earmarked for specific expenditures, without any consideration to the needs of each individual district.
Now, each local school district will have the ability to decide the best way to manage its funds.
“In San Diego County, we have over 40 school districts,” said Moises Aguirre, Manager of Charter Schools for San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). “Every school district can adopt a different set of priorities.”
The Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) are required to cover eight areas including basic services, implementation of Common Core standards, student achievement, student engagement, parental involvement, course access, school climate and other student outcomes (ie: physical education and the arts.)
SDUSD has been holding community forums to explain the process.
The “Vision 2020: What Kind of Schools Do We Want” meetings cover everything from class size to campus improvements.
Those attending the forums have requested funds to support language-immersion programs, more advanced technology and better preparation for kindergarten students.
On Tuesday, the Coalition for Local Education through Accountability of Resources (CLEAR) released their recommendations on how school districts can get the most out of those meetings and develop LCAPs representatives of all stakeholders.
CLEAR also suggests that districts should also train parents and other community members so that they understand budgets and know how to evaluate academic data.
Penny Adler, Education Chair for League of Women Voters, said her organization is joining forces with CLEAR to call for transparency in how the local-control accountability plans are formulated.
“The San Diego Unified School District is so large that even within SDUSD there is a big difference between what La Jolla and University City might want to do with their money versus a Southeastern area, that has Hoover and Gompers, might see the need,” said Adler.
Carol Green, President, Ninth District PTA, said her group will be reaching out to parents, urging them to get educated on the process so they can be part of the discussion.
“We don’t just want to be told what’s happening in a plan, we want to be part of the process,” said Carol Green, President, Ninth District PTA.
It’s a long-term process Aguirre adds, with years of work and discussion ahead.
“We want to make sure the community has the input, the dialogue with staff because together we can do this better,” Aguirre said.
SDUSD has two upcoming meetings planned for Mar. 3, 7-9 p.m., Mira Mesa High School, 10510 Reagan Rd. and March 10, 7-9 p.m., Crawford High School, 4191 Colts Way.
Find out more from your child’s school district. Get the contact information from the San Diego County Office of Education.