IUSD Board of Education to hold public hearing on latest draft of district accountability plan


The IUSD Board of Education will hold a public hearing during its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 3 to hear comments on the latest draft of the district’s new accountability plan.

LCFF-LCAPThe Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, is an important component of the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula. Starting this year, all districts are required to prepare LCAPs that describe how they intend to meet annual goals for students, addressing both state and local priorities.

The reports, which must be adopted on or before July 1, also require input from local stakeholders, including parents, staff and community members. Though Tuesday’s public hearing represents the latest opportunity to weigh in, IUSD began soliciting input back in March.

Each LCAP must focus on eight areas identified as state priorities, but the plans also have to demonstrate how district budgets will help improve student outcomes — and how progress will be measured.

To meet the eight state priorities detailed in the LCFF legislation, IUSD has developed these four goals:

  1. Ensure all students attain proficiency in the current content standards
  2. Ensure access to rigorous and relevant learning tools, resources and skills for all staff and students
  3. Cultivate a positive school culture and system of supports for student personal and academic growth
  4. Communicate effectively and form strategic alliances to secure the support and resources necessary to deliver our vision

And, according to the latest draft of Irvine’s LCAP, the goals above will be supported by the following proposed actions:

Student learning

  • Reduce class sizes by two students from transitional kindergarten through grade six and by one in grades seven through 12
  • Increase site allocations by 25 percent and return site carryovers from 2011-12
  • Fund curriculum development and textbook adoption
  • Fund science specialists in grades four through six

Site-level support

  • Fund a districtwide Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) school support facilitator, as well as assistant principal allocations
  • Fund site-level technology support
  • Invest in districtwide technology infrastructure upgrades

District-level support

  • Fund support for Education Services, including TOSA support
  • Provide support for Maintenance and Operations, as well as school grounds
  • Restore deferred maintenance funding

Fiscal

  • Provide for fiscal stability

Of course, that’s just a rough overview of the plan. To access a draft of IUSD’s Local Control and Accountability Plan, click here. Or take a look at this slide presentation from the Board of Education’s April 29 Study Session.

Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the District Office, located at 5050 Barranca Parkway in Irvine. It will also be broadcast on channel 39 for local Cox Communications subscribers and via AT&T U-verse’s government and public television menu.

To access the full agenda for the June 3 session, click here.


Share your thoughts on IUSD’s Local Control and Accountability Plan


IUSD wants to know what you think about the latest draft of its new accountability plan.

Online Input Forum for IUSD's LCAPAs we’ve mentioned here before, California’s new funding model for K-12 education requires every school district and county office of education to develop, adopt and annually update a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, with input from parents and other key stakeholders. (Irvine Unified began soliciting that input back in March.)

Districts will use these plans to 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.

IUSD’s LCAP isn’t due to the county until July 1, but you can get an overview by checking out this slide presentation from the Board of Education’s April 29 Study Session, and you can access the latest draft of the plan by clicking here.

Parents, students, district employees and community members are encouraged to review Irvine’s LCAP and submit feedback by way of this online input form before the plan is adopted in June. (You can also click on the graphic above.) Again, this will be an important part of the process of budgeting and setting priorities for the district, so take the time to weigh in if you can.


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.


IUSD seeks feedback from local stakeholders for new accountability plan


As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula represents a dramatic change in how education dollars are allocated in California, channeling greater resources to the students who need them most.

Meanwhile, the new funding system also calls for additional accountability measures.

LCFF-LCAP

Beginning this year, every school district and county office of education must develop, adopt and annually update a three-year Local Control and Accountability Plan — or LCAP — with input from parents and other community stakeholders.

That’s where you come in.

IUSD is now encouraging its parents, students, teachers and community members to take a few minutes to respond to six questions covering topics that include academic standards, college and career readiness, parent involvement and school climate. Feedback provided by the April 4 deadline will be considered carefully as the district drafts its first Local Control and Accountability Plan, which will set new goals and establish measurable benchmarks for progress.

You can access the Irvine Unified School District’s 2014 Stakeholder Survey by clicking here.

[UPDATE on May 14:  The deadline above may have passed, but IUSD’s LCAP isn’t due to the county until July 1, and you can still weigh in. First, to get an overview of the plan, check out this slide presentation from the Board of Education’s April 29 Study Session, or view the full draft by clicking here. Then tell us what you think through this online input form.]


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.

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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.

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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: