This Wednesday, February 24, the Senate Education Committee will hold an informational hearing on the accountability framework under development for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the state’s K-12 school funding formula. The hearing will include discussion about the State Board of Education’s (SBE’s) work toward adopting evaluation rubrics — standards — for assessing school district and schoolsite performance. As part of the 2015-16 budget agreement, the Legislature approved a one-year extension, to October 1, 2016, of the deadline for the SBE to adopt these rubrics. This extension came in response to the SBE’s request for more time to gather the information necessary to develop effective standards. The SBE has four meetings scheduled before the October 2016 deadline, and some education advocates are hoping to make equity a highlight of the evaluation rubrics.
While the development of evaluation rubrics are a key piece of the K-12 education accountability system, they will not address a critical issue — making funding allocated through the LCFF more transparent for local stakeholders and state policymakers. As we noted in a blog post on last year’s Budget Conference Committee deliberations, policymakers lamented the fact that the state does not track how school districts spend their LCFF dollars. The Committee’s attempts to improve funding transparency fell far short, and policymakers and the public continue to lack basic information needed to determine both how LCFF dollars are being spent statewide each year and whether that level of spending is helping to increase or improve services for disadvantaged students. A key piece of the state’s accountability system is whether school districts are allocating dollars for the students for whom they were intended. We hope policymakers will continue to raise this issue at Wednesday’s hearing and as part of their ongoing oversight of LCFF implementation.
— Jonathan Kaplan