Irvine Company Renews Enrichment Fund with $20M Commitment to IUSD Students


board-checkThe Irvine Company has extended the Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund with a renewed grant of $20 million over the next 10 years.  The Enrichment Fund supports science, music and art programs for IUSD students in grades four through six.  This most recent donation brings the Irvine Company’s commitment to IUSD students to more than $43 million over 20 years.  Each year, more than 7,000 students are positively impacted by the Enrichment Fund – that’s more than 70,000 children who have benefited from the Irvine Company’s generosity.     
 
“This gift from Irvine Company allows us to continue an enrichment program that distinguishes Irvine schools nationally,” Irvine Unified Superintendent Terry Walker said. “This is vital, especially during the shift to Common Core and new science standards requiring substantially more hands-on instruction.”
 
Robin Leftwich, Vice President of Community Affairs for the Irvine Company, presented IUSD with a $20 million check during an Enrichment Fund appreciation event, surprising teachers, students and parents in attendance.  The event, held on Monday, September 26 at Portola Springs Elementary, was to honor and thank the Irvine Company and Chairman of the Board Donald Bren for their partnership with IUSD.   In addition to speaking presentations from the Superintendent Terry Walker, School Board President Paul Bokota, Leftwich, students and teachers, the event also featured student musical performances, science demonstrations and art displays. 
     
The afternoon began with a performance by the Northwood High School String Quartet; two choral performance by fifth and sixth graders from Brywood, Canyon View, Bonita Canyon, Cypress Village and Portola Springs elementary schools; and finally, a performance by violinist Kevin Muira, an eighth-grade student at Sierra Vista Middle School and 2nd place winner in the Junior Division of the prestigious Menuhin International Violin Competition in London. 
 
Established in 2006, the Enrichment Fund has provided IUSD $2 million each year over the past decade.  The funds pay for specialists to work in IUSD’s upper-grade elementary classrooms.  To learn more, click here. 

To view a brief video of the event, click here

2016-17 School Funding Survey Closes Monday


The 2016-17 school funding survey, which is part of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process closes Monday, May 16.  If you haven’t already, please take a moment to participate in this survey.

The LCAP process helps IUSD identify annual goals, take action on those goals, and measure progress on academic achievement, school climate and parent engagement.  Your input is critical to IUSD’s decision-making process and will help guide investments in the District’s priorities.

To learn more about the state’s funding system, including the Local Control Funding Formula and the LCAP, visit iusd.org/LCFF-LCAP/.  Click here for an informational summary of the proposed LCAP actions.

Click here to take the survey now.


LCAP School Funding Survey Now Open


Dear IUSD Community,

I would like to encourage your participation in the 2016-17 school-funding survey, which is part of the 10-month Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process.  This is the second of two funding surveys.  The first survey was sent to the IUSD community last September and asked for your feedback about District priorities.  Based on your responses, the District developed a series of proposed actions.  This survey is to review those actions and investments with you, and to request your input.

The survey is divided into four brief sections:

  • New proposed actions and investments
  • Ranking of additional funding priorities, should the District receive additional state funds this May
  • A review of actions, using one-time funding, recommended for extension for one or two additional years
  • Open comment section

This interactive process helps IUSD identify annual goals, take action on those goals, and measure progress on academic achievement, school climate and parent engagement.  Your input is critical to IUSD’s decision-making process and will help guide investments in the District’s priorities.

To learn more about the state’s funding system, including the Local Control Funding Formula and the LCAP, and to see the results of the fall 2015 survey, visit iusd.org/LCFF-LCAP/.  To view an informational summary of the proposed LCAP actions, click here.

To take the survey now, click here.  

Thank you in advance for your participation.  Your engagement, partnership and support continues to enable IUSD to best serve our students.

T-Walker2-smooth-sm

 

 

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools, Irvine Unified School District


Board of Education to Hold Public Hearing March 1 on Facilities Measure


Dear IUSD Community,
I recently wrote to you about the Irvine Unified School District’s (IUSD) plans to update our aging schools to a similar standard as our newer schools, so that all of IUSD’s more than 32,000 students have access to 21st-century instructional technology and learning tools. To achieve this important goal, IUSD is considering placing a School Facility Improvement Measure on the June 7, 2016 ballot to provide a dedicated and locally-controlled funding source for the most urgent upgrades in our aging schools.SFIM Mailer Feb. 2016 Image_Page_2

Updating Aging Schools
More than half of IUSD schools are more than 30 years old and are in critical need of upgrades and modernization. While some of our more recently built schools have modern classrooms and science labs, others do not. IUSD has worked to develop a Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan for the improvement of our school facilities. This process included a thorough expert assessment of each of our school campuses and input from teachers, principals, parents and students to identify the highest priority needs.

Planning for the Future of Our Schools and Students
With the District’s school facility needs identified and prioritized, IUSD is now evaluating options for funding improvements to our schools. On March 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the IUSD Administration Center (5050 Barranca Parkway, Irvine) the IUSD Board of Education will hold a public hearing about placing a School Facility Improvement Measure on the June 2016 ballot. The public is invited to attend this meeting and share their thoughts.

Continuing IUSD’s Standard of Excellence
IUSD is proud that our students continue to perform among the best in Orange County and in the state. We are fortunate to have outstanding teachers, challenging and innovative academic programs and a community that supports Irvine students and schools. These are all essential elements of maintaining the top quality education for which Irvine is known. If passed, a School Facilities Improvement Measure would help support outstanding student achievement by ensuring students have equal access to facilities that support 21st-century education and career opportunities.

Your Feedback Is Important
We asked for your priorities for updating our schools and by clicking here, you’ll find information about the school facility planning process and how we are using your comments and feedback.  If you would like more information, please click here for frequently asked questions or visit our website iusd.org/schoolimprovements.  Thank you for your interest in IUSD schools and your ongoing support for our students.

T-Walker2-smooth-sm

Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools, Irvine Unified School District


IUSD Board of Education approves accountability plan, adopts budget for 2014-15


The IUSD Board of Education has adopted a spending plan for the 2014-15 school year.

The plan, which reflects the state’s latest projections from May, as well as the district’s priorities from a brand new accountability report, outlines $257.8 million worth of expenditures – both restricted and unrestricted – against $246.9 million worth of total revenue. The difference will be offset by one-time dollars, as IUSD looks to strategically spend down reserves it built up to weather the state’s fiscal crisis.

IUSD 2014-15 Adopted BudgetJohn Fogarty, assistant superintendent of business services, led a brief presentation on the district’s finances on Tuesday, June 24 before the board approved the plan by way of a 3-0 vote. (The “yes” votes came from President Sharon Wallin and members Lauren Brooks and Ira Glasky. Michael Parham and Paul Bokota were not in attendance.)

This is actually IUSD’s second budget under the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, which has increased base levels of funding for K-12 education while channeling greater resources toward English-language learners, low-income students and foster youth. Yet it’s the first budget to factor in priorities from the district’s new Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, which documents measurable objectives for achievement and school climate with input from parents and other community stakeholders.

Based on the new funding levels and the district’s LCAP, IUSD’s budget calls for a decrease in class sizes by two students in kindergarten through grade six and one student in grades seven through 12. In addition, the district is investing in professional development opportunities for staff, as well as curriculum development, technology and mental health.

Before the budget vote, board members unanimously approved the Local Control and Accountability Plan, which had been recently revised based on stakeholder feedback. Alan Schlichting, director of student support services, said changes included the addition of a full-time mental health coordinator and an online learning coordinator, along with the restoration of site mental health support, including guidance assistants at the elementary level and Project Success staff at the secondary level. (You can access IUSD’s completed LCAP here.)

Here are some other takeaways from Tuesday night’s budget presentation:

●  Governor Brown’s new formula — the aforementioned LCFF — establishes a target level of funding for school districts for the 2020-21 school year. Until then, districts can expect to receive annual increases called “gap funding,” referencing the gap between what they currently get and the target amount for 2020-21. IUSD’s gap funding in 2014-15 is approximately $20 million, and an increase of nearly $18 million is projected for the 2015-16 school year, meaning IUSD will go through a similar process of analyzing its needs and priorities next year. (By contrast, IUSD was forced to make approximately $38 million worth of one-time and ongoing reductions during the state budget crisis.)

●  California’s proposed budget includes a plan to address the unfunded liability in the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS. Though the remedy asks employers, employees and the state to contribute additional dollars to resolve the shortfall — which has been estimated at $74 billion — much of the burden would fall on employers, which would see gradual increases through 2021. Under the plan, IUSD would pay $800,000 in 2014-15, part of a projected cumulative total of more than $15 million by 2020-21.

●  Though the state budget picture is bright for school districts, there are still a number of challenges and unknowns. Fogarty said there are no guarantees that the Local Control Funding Formula will continue to be implemented as planned — or that school districts will receive their targeted levels of funding. Moreover, the temporary tax increases that went into effect under Proposition 30 will begin to expire in 2016, drying up a source of state revenue. Enrollment growth, the Affordable Care Act and shifts in the state and national economies could also impact IUSD’s budget, Fogarty said.

●  IUSD’s budget projections were developed with the guidance of the Orange County Department of Education, School Services of California, the California Association of School Business Officials and other agencies.


IUSD unveils first draft of accountability plan and discusses budget priorities


After receiving input from local stakeholder groups, IUSD staff members presented the Board of Education with a draft of the district’s new Local Control and Accountability Plan this week and outlined potential budget priorities for the board’s consideration.

Under California’s new funding formula, school districts and county offices of education are now required to develop, adopt and annually update three-year accountability plans with input from parents and other community stakeholders.

LCAP presentation from April 29The first LCAPs are due July 1 and will be based on a template adopted by the state Board of Education. Moving forward, districts must identify yearly goals, take action and measure progress for student subgroups across multiple performance indicators, including academic achievement, school climate, access to a broad curriculum and parent engagement.

In March, district leaders sought input for IUSD’s LCAP from staff, parents and community members during meetings and through an online feedback form. At a budget study session on Tuesday, Assistant Superintendent Eamonn O’Donovan told board members that the top stakeholder suggestions centered on decreasing class sizes, increasing access to technology and enhancing the district’s technology infrastructure.

Just a few years ago it would have been nearly impossible to consider new spending on these or any other initiatives, as the state’s budget crisis resulted in a precipitous drop in funding for public schools. But California’s economy has rebounded, and the governor’s new Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, represents a renewed investment in K-12 schools, channeling greater resources toward students with the greatest needs.

John Fogarty, IUSD’s assistant superintendent of Business Services, told board members that the LCFF will generate a projected increase of $20 million in ongoing funding for IUSD, which also has about $19 million in available one-time funding for 2014-15. Another ongoing increase is expected for the 2015-16 school year.

With rising revenue comes a chance for strategic investments in education, Fogarty said, and the LCAP is designed to provide a set of goals on which future spending decisions can be based.

IUSD’s accountability plan is by no means a finished document, and we’ll provide a link for stakeholders to offer additional feedback at the end of this post. But the goals identified so far include ensuring all students attain proficiency in the current content standards; ensuring access to rigorous and relevant learning tools, resources and skills for all staff and students; cultivating a positive school culture and system of supports for students’ personal and academic growth; and communicating effectively and forming strategic alliances to secure the support and resources necessary to deliver the district’s vision.

Irvine’s plan will continue to be shared with stakeholder groups in May, and a public hearing on the LCAP will be held at the Board of Education’s June 3 meeting. The LCAP is expected to be adopted by the board on June 24, coinciding with IUSD’s budget adoption.

To read the latest draft of the Local Control and Accountability Plan, click here. To leave your feedback, click here.

And to scroll through Tuesday’s slide presentation, click here or on the graphic above.


IUSD buoyed by improving economy and state’s renewed investment in K-12 education


At its March 18 meeting, the IUSD Board of Education voted to certify the Second Interim Report as “positive,” meaning the district expects to meet all of its financial obligations for the current year and two subsequent years.

That may have been a given, but it’s been a while since the state economic outlook was this promising.

Prior to the board’s vote, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services John Fogarty shared very encouraging revenue projections and outlined the impacts of Governor Jerry Brown’s new K-12 funding model.

Second Interim Report for 2014“The governor’s proposal provides a very strong investment in education (and) the greatest increase in per-pupil spending that we’ve seen in over a decade, since 2000-2001,” Fogarty told board members. “So not only are we coming out of some very bad years, but we’re coming out in a big, strong way.”

The 2012 passage of Proposition 30 and an improving state economy have led to the robust revenue forecasts, which are key to implementing the governor’s Local Control Funding Formula, also known as the LCFF.

Intended to channel more funds toward students with greater needs, the LCFF begins with a base level of funding that is the same for all districts, though the amount allocated per student differs slightly by grade level. Next comes a layer of supplemental funding that adds 20 percent of the base for every English-language learner, low-income student and foster youth. There is a third layer known as a concentration grant that’s equal to an additional 50 percent of the base, but only for schools and districts where English-learners, low-income students and foster youth make up 55 percent of the total enrollment. IUSD doesn’t qualify for the latter.

The governor’s spending plan allocates about $4.5 billion in LCFF funding, providing an average increase of approximately $755 per student. That equates to a projected increase of $20 million for IUSD, which has an annual unrestricted budget of about $230 million.

In anticipation of the restored funding, the district is working to develop a list of needs and priorities that will be presented to the board for discussion and further direction in April. Superintendent Terry Walker said IUSD was also collecting feedback from local stakeholders in the community as part of the process of developing its Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP.

IUSD was forced to make approximately $38 million in one-time and ongoing cuts as a result of the state budget crisis, and that’s left a number of significant needs to address. Though big decisions lie ahead, Tuesday’s financial update was certainly welcome news after years of troubling forecasts.

“It’s hard to imagine for those on the board and those of us in education that just 16 months ago we were looking at some very dire cuts that were facing education without the passage of Proposition 30,” Fogarty said.

“The district has done a really good job of setting itself up financially, so we can make some really sound decisions moving forward,” he added.


Q&A: Director of student support services discusses state’s new funding formula for education


Alan Schlichting is IUSD’s director of student support services, and he’s been making the rounds lately to share information about the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula, which represents a dramatic shift in the way California allocates dollars for education.

At the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 4, Schlichting explained that the LCFF will channel more resources to students with the greatest needs, including English-Learners, foster youth and low-income students. It will also mean greater accountability requirements, with broader benchmarks for measuring success.

We sat down with Schlichting this week for a brief follow-up interview to learn more about the LCFF and what it means for Irvine.

***

Let’s start with the basics: How exactly does the new Local Control Funding Formula differ from the previous model?

Under the old system, there were more than 40 funding categories, each for a specific purpose identified by the state. The LCFF model has essentially established three pots of funding with increased local discretion to determine how best to spend those funds in the service of our students.

All districts will now start with a base level of per-student funding that varies slightly depending on grade levels. Then there’s supplemental funding, which adds 20 percent of the base for each English-language learner, low-income student and foster youth. Finally, there’s a third pot called a concentration grant that is equal to 50 percent of the entire base. But that’s only for schools and districts where English-learners, low-income students and foster youth exceed 55 percent of the total enrollment, and IUSD isn’t eligible.

So the idea is that funding will be more directed toward students who need the most help to succeed in school?

That’s correct. IUSD will receive more funds specifically to support services for low-income, English-learning students and foster youth. This extra funding will come from the supplemental grants, and we will continue to designate more resources for programs and services that serve our highest-need students.

When does this new model take effect?

LCFF was approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown in June 2013. But remember that this represents a seismic shift in how schools are funded, and the state Board of Education is still in the process of working out some of the details and providing direction to county agencies. As such, school districts are currently being funded through a hybrid model of the previous Revenue Limit formula and the new LCFF model.

Will IUSD receive more money as a result of LCFF?

Yes, but there are couple caveats. For starters, it will take a few years to catch up to the funding levels we were at before the recession hit, and LCFF won’t be fully implemented until 2020-21. Even then, IUSD stands to receive less money than most districts in the state because the new model was designed specifically to channel more resources toward English-learners, low-income students and foster youth.

But ultimately individual schools in Irvine will see an increase in funding?

Yes. Eventually all schools will receive more funds, and schools with higher concentrations of low-income, English-learning and foster youth will see the greatest increases. Again, we are still recovering from years of funding cuts, so it may take a few years before we see the real impacts of LCFF.

I understand there are new accountability measures tied to the Local Control Funding Formula. Can you tell us about those?

All school districts will be required to submit what’s called a Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, that includes annual goals in eight defined areas. These areas are: Credentials and Instructional Materials, Academic Standards and Implementation of the Common Core, Parental Involvement, Pupil Achievement, Pupil Engagement, School Climate, Access and Enrollment and Other Pupil Outcomes.

So in addition to establishing and prioritizing these goals, we will be required to indicate the steps we need to take to meet them. The state Board of Education has adopted a template for this important work, which will include soliciting input from various stakeholders.

Does that mean parents help decide how money is spent?

Absolutely. Each district must follow a plan that incorporates community input on how the supplemental and concentration grants are spent in particular. Gathering input has long been a part of the budgeting process for IUSD, and we look forward to further strengthening our channels of feedback.

How will we know if our budget decisions improve student achievement?

Our district already has a number of ways with which we measure student progress, and we report our results regularly. In addition, all school districts will be required to submit their first Local Control and Accountability Plans in July for the 2014-15 school year. The State Board of Education is continuing to finalize some of the details, but we know that these plans must indicate goals for student progress, as well as the data we will use to measure that progress.

Can you tell us more about the LCAP timeline?

Sure. In January, the State Board of Education adopted its spending regulations and the governor unveiled his proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. From now through June, we’ll be communicating with our stakeholders, gathering feedback and holding budget-planning meetings. The state Board of Education is expected to finalize its LCAP template in March, and our district will adopt its spending plan — along with a Local Control and Accountability Plan that covers the next three years — in June.

While the Local Control Funding Formula is projected to be fully funded by 2020-21, we know that all future spending is tied to the health of the state economy and therefore subject to change.

***

For more information on the Local Control Funding Formula and the Local Control and Accountability Plan, check out these resources:

California Department of Education LCFF Overview and Frequently Asked Questions
California School Boards Association LCFF Overview and Resources
Children Now LCFF Webinar Series
Legislative Analyst’s Office LCFF Overview
State Board of Education and WestEd LCFF Channel
A Vision For IUSD: Irvine Unified School District’s Strategic Initiatives


State’s new funding formula designed to direct additional dollars to students in need


California’s budget for 2013-14 has brought major changes to the way school funding is allocated, with the goal of channeling greater resources to the students who need them most.

At this week’s Board of Education meeting, Alan Schlichting, IUSD’s director of student support services, offered an overview of the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula and what it means for Irvine.

Here were some of the key takeaways:

The Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, starts with a base funding level that is the same for all districts, though the amount allocated per-student is differentiated slightly by grade level. Next comes a layer of supplemental funding in the form of an additional 20 percent of the base for each English-language learner, low-income student and foster youth.

There is a third pot of funding called a concentration grant, and that’s equal to 50 percent of the base, but only for schools and districts where English-learners, low-income students and foster youth exceed 55 percent of the total enrollment. (IUSD doesn’t qualify for the latter grant.)

Schlichting said the LCFF model has replaced the Revenue Limit formula that’s been in place for nearly 40 years, as well as about three-quarters of the state’s categorical programs, which are smaller pots of money designated for specific purposes. Under the new system, he said, school leaders — along with parents and other local stakeholders — will have greater flexibility to determine how best to use available dollars to further local priorities that improve student outcomes.

Still, the LCFF won’t be fully funded until 2020-21. Until then, school districts are expected to receive about the amount of funding they were eligible for in 2012-13, plus an additional amount each year to gradually close the gap. (To put that in perspective, the 2012-13 funding levels were well short of what they were in 2007-08, before the state’s budget crisis hit.)

Greater accountability

California’s new funding model for education also includes additional accountability measures. Under LCFF, school districts and county offices of education must each develop, adopt and annually update a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) with input from parents and other community stakeholders.

The initial plan, due July 1, will based on a template adopted by the State Board of Education. Districts will be required to identify annual goals, take action and measure progress for student subgroups across multiple performance indicators, including academic achievement, school climate, access to a broad curriculum and parent engagement.

Academic priorities must be tied to each district’s spending plan, so the school board will be expected to approve the accountability plan before adopting its annual budget, Schlichting said. County superintendents will be tasked with reviewing these plans to ensure alignment of projected spending, services and goals. And county offices of education will provide technical assistance if the plans are rejected. The state superintendent of public instruction may also intervene if a school district fails to show improvement across multiple subgroups in three out of four consecutive years.

The local impact

So what does this all mean for Irvine?

It means more funding will target students with the greatest needs, including English-Learners, foster youth and low-income students. It also means the state is looking at broader benchmarks of success. Instead of simply focusing on test scores, the LCFF requires schools to develop plans to boost student engagement, increase parent involvement and create more positive learning environments. Finally, school leaders and parents will have a greater say over spending to ensure academic programs and services meet the unique needs of local students.

“We will have additional resources for students, and especially for those students who have greater needs,” Schlichting said. “We will have the opportunity to collect information from our stakeholders and make local decisions on how we’re going to move forward. There will be increased accountability, where we look at many pieces of data to determine how well our district is doing. And there will be alignment between our budget and the LCAP plan that we put together.”

Expect to see more on the NewsFlash about this topic. In the meantime, you can review Schlichting’s slide presentation here. And for even more information on the Local Control Funding Formula and the Local Control and Accountability Plan, check out these resources:


Superintendent addresses the Common Core, technology and growth in new video


Each year around this time, we like to sit down with IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker for a sort of state-of-the-district conversation. And there was no shortage of topics when we caught up with him for our interview in October.

In this five-and-a-half minute video, the superintendent discusses the new Common Core instructional standards, educational technology, the new state funding formula and the district’s rapid growth. Take a look.