Fiscal Transparency Legislation Introduced to Strengthen LCFF

(From Press Release – Assemblymember Weber) — Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D- San Diego) and Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) have introduced a pair of bills, AB 1834 and AB 1834, to ensure greater accountability for state funding intended aimed at low-income students, English learners and foster youth.

A recent report by the State Auditor found that the state has been woefully inadequate at ensuring that funding is actually reaching the students who need it.

“The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) was passed with a promise that California’s most vulnerable students would receive more resources to combat the challenges of poverty, language barriers and trauma” Weber said. “These bills are intended to fulfill the promise of LCFF to provide educational equity for all students.”

“The audit findings show that we need transparency now,” said Quirk-Silva. “I supported LCFF in 2013 because we were promised high-need students would receive more, not just more of the same. It is time to strengthen the law and deliver on the promise of equity.”

AB 1834 and AB 1835, which are co-sponsored by Children Now, Teach Plus California and The Education Trust–West, would implement key recommendations the Auditor made for the Legislature, including:

  • Ensuring that dollars are spent on the students they were intended for by requiring districts to identify unspent funds by annually reconciling what they receive with what they spent. In addition, that funding would retain the same requirements to increase and improve services for designated students regardless of the year they are spent.
  • Requiring a tracking mechanism for districts to report the types of services they use their supplemental and concentration funds on and to report that information to the state.

“We have to ensure that the dollars directed to increase supports for children and youth are in fact used for their benefit,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, “which was, and still is, the intent LCFF.”

“These bills will provide communities with budget information that’s been sorely needed to realize the promise of LCFF to improve outcomes for students with the greatest need,” said Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga, executive director of the Education Trust-West “This added transparency will finally tell us whether targeted money is reaching the students for whom it’s intended.”

“With the passage of LCFF, our state leaders set us on a road to educational equity but we have a long way to go,” said Sarah Lillis, executive director of Teach Plus California, “This legislation provides necessary clean up to get us closer to fulfilling its promise of equitable opportunity.”

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  1. Ron Glick

    Jerry Brown had this philosophy of Subsidiarity in his second set of terms. It was likely a response to policy created under Pete Wilson, who mandated how almost every education dollar was spent through what are called Categoricals. Wilson likely did this to keep the money out of the hands of teachers by allocating the money in a way that couldn’t be bargained for in contract negotiations.

    When Brown took over he reorganized state funding for schools through LCFF he swept up most of these categorical and gave then to districts with little oversight. The large urban districts with the demographics that got the most money supported the new Local Control Funding Formula. Some of them immediately negotiated large raises to attract teachers to their districts.

    It was obvious from the start that LCFF would hurt wealthier suburban districts like Davis.

    I remember speaking at the DJUSD Board in 2014 the night Adams, Archer and Sunder got sworn in. I explained that Davis got screwed by LCFF and that they were going to need to go out and explain to the community, how and why this came to be, and raise the money needed to keep DJUSD competitive. One trustee who supported LCFF, even against the best interests of the district they were representing, argued with me afterward. Now that enough time has passed for this to play out we can see that this totally predictable outcome is exactly what happened.

    I have always thought that when Brown pushed through LCFF he understood  that districts like Davis would do what they have always done, pony up money to support their own local schools to make up for shortfalls from the state.

    We will find out shortly if Davis will prove him right.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Some of them immediately negotiated large raises to attract teachers to their districts.

      And, more significantly, justified even bigger increases, to upper Administration (‘parity’)… the ones who recommended, and implemented ‘large raises to attract teachers’… not faulting the teachers, in this…

  2. Alan Miller

    Requiring a tracking mechanism

    And with every good government tracking system, you also get, as a bonus:

    • A form

    • A database!

    • A bureaucrat to fill out the form

    • A bureaucrat to manage the database

    • A supervisor to say the forms were filled out correctly and databased properly

    And what does this accomplish?

    Full employment for public labor unions!

    Yeah, everybody!  😐

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