October 22, 2013 :: Ending a debate that was just getting underway within LA Unified, an official from the California School Boards Association said today school boards make all decisions on how Local Control Funding Formula money is spent, not individual schools.
Appearing before the LA Unified Board’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee, Teri Burns, the association’s senior director for policy and programs, said, “The money goes where the district decides; it doesn’t go to school sites.”
Her pronouncement would seem to undermine the large and growing public sentiment among school and community groups that decisions on how to spend $230 million coming into the district through LCFF, Governor Jerry Brown‘s signature K-through-12 education initiative, should be made at the school site level.
Burns outlined state requirements that boards must consult with community groups, as the LA Unified board has been for the last few weeks. And those ideas, she said, should inform spending priorities. But the board has the final say: Schools don’t get to make decisions,” she said. “That sits with the board.”
A large group of community groups, organized by the United Way of Los Angeles under the acronym CLASS, has been pressing the board to allow for greater involvement of parents, teachers and school administrators — both in submission of spending ideas and final decision making.
The LCFF program was designed to streamline older funding streams to provide better support for children from low-income families, English language learners and students from Foster homes.
Ama Nyamekye, executive director of Educators 4 Excellence, said in an email, speaking for the CLASS coalition: “The district is tasked with determining how dollars will be spent locally. As a coalition representing parents, educators and community members, CLASS wants the district to provide schools with guidance and ample flexibility to determine how best to spend dollars on the strategies and resources that will raise achievement for students, particularly those prioritized in the state’s Local Control Funding measure.”
By so doing, she added, “locally-determined funding decisions should lead to increases in achievement for students living in poverty, those learning English and those in foster care.”