From the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update/www.aalausd.com | http://bit.ly/zgZvDb
Week of January 23, 2012 :: Federal regulations require LAUSD and other districts that have entered their second year of Program Improvement to spend about 20% of their Title I, Part A, allocation on Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and transportation for public school choice. The regulations also prohibit “Program Improvement” or “Corrective Action” districts like LAUSD from providing SES themselves (34 C.F.R. § 200.47(b)(1)(iv)(B). In these cases the regulations require that the SES be delivered by nondistrict entities.
As LAUSD faces yet another year in Program Improvement status, we have learned:
• SES “had little impact on student achievement.” (LAUSD Publication, No. 2008-03, March 2008 | http://bit.ly/A5WTyG)
• Students served by District providers and those served by nondistrict providers statistically did not differ significantly in either the mathematics or reading achievement gains relative to nonparticipation (American Institute for Research, and RTI study for U.S. Dept. of Ed., 2011, http://1.usa.gov/A8mt5o.
In other words, the research shows that SES is a failure regardless of who provides the remediation. So what are our partners at Beaudry planning? Shut down the District’s highly successful Adult and Career Education programs and move the funding into K-12 to provide the support services already offered by the Adult Division.
As published in our December 19 Update, AALA believes that this ill-conceived plan should be scrapped to avert a political and educational debacle. The Superintendent speaks of preserving the K-12 core by, in part, eliminating budget support for adult education. Eliminating adult education programs would have an immediate negative impact on K-12 education.
• In bringing his Fiscal Stabilization Plan to the Board, the Superintendent cited counselor-to-student ratio as a major issue. Are these overburdened counselors prepared to manage an additional 88,000 "credit recovery" cases and 52,000 alternative placements resulting from closure of CTE programs?
• Is the District prepared to fund huge amounts of overtime for clerical staff in counseling offices?
• Will additional administrators be hired to manage this mess, or will oversight be added to current administrators' workload?
• As graduation approaches, how will the District address the needs of the hundreds of seniors who must meet their graduation requirements?
• What's the plan?
The American Association of School Administrators has advocated for SES waivers for many years, and they have been granted to five Districts including Boston and Chicago. In the light of the recent AIR/RTI findings, an SES waiver is the correct way for LAUSD to address this issue. Keeping Title 1 funding in-house while sustaining adult education is a win-win that makes more sense than closing the Adult Division, moving the money and reinventing the wheel.
CORRECTING DR. DEASY: ADULT EDUCATION FUNDING
On Patt Morrison’s KPCC radio show of December 21, 2011, Superintendent Dr. John Deasy commented that adult education was “in arrears,” or “encroached” on the District’s General Fund by $100 million last year. It would appear that Dr. Deasy was given faulty information, when the facts are that adult education actually under spent by 16.1% and returned $26,670,239 (twenty-six point seven million dollars) to the District this past June 30, 2011. These savings were achieved by lease reductions, closing positions, operating more efficiently and targeting those areas that best met District needs.
Adult education administrators work hard to serve their students, support District objectives and do their fair share in addressing the District’s fiscal challenges. Rather than being lambasted, adult educationadministrators, teachers and support staff should be praised for what they accomplish. AALA recognizes that all superintendents rely on others to provide accurate information. We urge those who give input to Dr. Deasy to do so in a fair, objective and accurate manner so that he is not placed in potentially embarrassing situations on public radio.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
There is no question that early childhood education is essential, especially in the second largest school district in the United States. Because of LAUSD’s fiscal crisis, the Board of Education is considering cutting early education programs by up to 50% for the 2012-2013 school year. AALA believes that doing so will damage children, their families and the community as a whole. It is evident that Superintendent Deasy intends to take this step with great reluctance.
In the spirit of partnership, AALA urges the Superintendent immediately to use every means at his disposal to inform the larger community about the impact such significant cuts will have on LAUSD students for the foreseeable future. Here are some facts to assist with this effort:
According to A Blueprint for Great Schools, published by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Transition Advisory Team in 2011 (pp. 17-19), “Research confirms that children who attend high-quality early education programs are better prepared for kindergarten, have stronger language skills in the first years of elementary school and are less likely to repeat a grade or drop out of school.” The Blueprint further states, “High-quality early care and education offers one of the highest returns of any public investment—more than $7 for every dollar spent—by reducing future expenditures on special education, public assistance and the criminal justice system.”
Students who are not proficient readers by the end of Grade 3 struggle throughout their school years;
many drop out. Without the push and support provided by early childhood programs, increasing
numbers of children are likely to have difficulty achieving the goal of reading proficiency. Children
living in poverty frequently start school behind their peers and stay behind, despite the hard work of
their teachers and administrators. Consequently, they are the ones who will suffer the most if early childhood education programs are slashed. Further information about the benefits of early childhood education will be provided in future issues of Update.
TITLE I RANKING AND PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS
AALA vociferously supported maintaining the 2010-2011 40% poverty threshold for schools to receive Title I funds. However, because of the District’s loss of Title I funds over the past five years, the Superintendent recommended that the threshold be raised to 50%. The Board of Education approved this recommendation, which resulted in 23 LAUSD schools being cut as recipients of Title I funds.
AALA thanks Deborah Ernst, Director, Federal and State Education Programs Branch, for providing the following explanation: Congress passed the Title I Program as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. ESEA was the first major federal school aid initiative, and it was a key component of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. As such, the federal statute requires that a Local Education Agency (LEA) or District rank all of its schools in order of poverty percentage from highest to lowest. LAUSD ranks the schools based on a combination of the percentage of students eligible for free-or-reduced price meal and CALWORKS. The law requires the LEA to focus Title I resources on schools in which the concentration of children from low-income families exceeds 75% poverty. Only after the LEA has served all schools having a poverty threshold above 75%, may the LEA serve lower-ranked schools.
Schools eligible to receive the funding are required to use the funds to supplement the core educational program for at-risk/low-achieving students. Schools received information about the meal application process in Reference Guide-5512.2 and Memorandum 5602.1.
Each school receiving categorical funds is required to answer the question of program effectiveness.
Education Code 64001 requires each school to develop a Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) to analyze student achievement data and to develop strategies that meet student needs. Each school then annually evaluates the effectiveness of the SPSA and its expenditures based on student achievement data (see Memorandum 4631.4).
In the 2011-2012 school year, LAUSD received $342 million in its Title I entitlement. This amount represents a loss of $60 million over a five-year span. In addition, the entitlement is projected to decrease by as much as 10% in 2012-2013, which would represent a decrease of approximately $94 million since the 2006-2007. The poverty data for 2011-2012 indicate that 90% of LAUSD students attend a school with a poverty percentage greater than 65%. Thus, with a decline in the District’s Title I entitlement and approximately 418,000 students attending schools with a poverty threshold at or above 50%, the Board approved raising the threshold to 50% for the 2012-2013 school year.
To ensure that schools with the highest concentrations of poverty benefit from the declining resources, the District will continue to implement a differentiated funding model. Schools with a poverty percentage at or above 65% will receive a higher per-pupil allocation than schools between 50% and 64.9% poverty. Central office staff has begun to meet with leadership from schools impacted by the change.
LAUSD BUDGET CALENDAR
On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown gave his State of the State speech, highlighting his requests and vision to the state legislature for the 2012-2013 budget year, which begins July 1, 2012. Because March 15 letters are just around the corner, AALA is reviewing key dates in the budget cycle for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years.
As you know, because of the international financial crisis, the multiple-year recession and the resulting State deficit, LAUSD has negotiated furlough days for employees and cut programs for the past three years. According to State law AB1200, which was signed after Richmond Unified School District went bankrupt in 1992, school districts are required to submit to their respective county offices of education a three-year balanced budget (the current and two subsequent years).
LAUSD filed this First Interim (tentative) budget in December 2011, prior to the Governor announcing his budget for 2012-13. It includes major cuts for 2012-2013 to make up for a projected deficit of upwards of $537 million. Thankfully, the Governor avoided pulling all three midyear triggers affecting schools for 2011-2012.
However, he did cut home-to-school transportation for general and Special Education students and made a statewide $80 million cut to basic revenue. The Governor's Department of Finance continually monitors tax revenues being turned in to the state, as compared to prior years, to determine if these revenues are increasing or decreasing.
The key dates in the budget calendar are as follows:
1. In the next few weeks, Superintendent Deasy will present to the Board of Education his budget plans for the 2012-2013 school year. This proposal will include budget cuts and potential additional sources of revenue to solve the District’s deficit and may incorporate revisions to the First Interim.
2. Additional revisions to the First Interim will be based on analyses from the Governor’s State of the State address.
3. The Second Interim report is due to the County Office of Education at the beginning of March 2012.
4. Employees will receive tentative RIF notices before March 15, 2012.
5. Income taxes are due to the State and federal governments by April 17, 2012.
6. Based on these tax revenues and projections, the State provides the May Revision of the proposed 2012- 2013 budget.
7. In June 2012, the State is supposed to adopt its 2012-2013 budget.
8. In late June 2012, the District will adopt its 2012-2013 budget.
9. The new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2012.
10. In November 2012, the State election will most likely include one or more initiatives to raise funds for public education. The Superintendent has signaled his intent to include on the ballot a parcel tax proposal to support LAUSD.
11. In December 2012, the First Interim is due for the 2013-2014 budget and the two subsequent years.
12. In January 2013, the Governor will give his State of the State speech, which will address the budget for 2013-2014.
●●4LAKids thanks the AALA Update for circulating 4 Your Review: The Shape of LA Schools to Come? in their “In the News” section. | http://bit.ly/yK7QwK