At a meeting of the Local Control Accountability Plan Parent Advisory Committee in South Pasadena Unified last night, members of the PAC learned some paradigm-shifting and not altogether pleasing news about the scope of their work on the district budget.
Their small district outside Los Angeles was apparently a “hybrid” district that did not receive large amounts of supplemental funding from LCFF nor did it qualify for concentration grant money intended for low-income, English language learner, or foster youth students — and as a consequence, district administrators told the assembled PAC parents that they were advised by Ron Bennett of School Services to instead focus parent and community energies on shaping the $200,000 or so of funds from supplemental LCFF funds, with an additional $700,000 or so swept in from the overall budget that was apportioned by the school board.
Given that the total budget for this small district is about $38 million, even $900,000 of it is a small proportion of the whole amount.
Needless to say, the idea that a consultant — even one as well-informed and respected as Ron Bennett — could significantly alter the scope of the LCAP is troubling. This varies hugely from what districts were told by county offices of education and the California Department of Education itself, where it was understood that districts were to put the entire district budget on the table for all stakeholders to discuss.
If narrowing LCAP activities to supplemental funds only for certain districts is to occur, no California Department of Education regulatory announcement that we’re aware of has been made of this and we find it strange that few, if any, other districts at this time are reporting such a move. No amendments to AB97 have been submitted, voted, or signed into law that we’re aware of. We of course welcome corrections to our understanding if they exist.
Los Angeles Unified, to its credit, has encouraged its Parent Advisory Committees to engage with the entire $6-plus billion budget, which KPCC reported on today.
What’s the situation with your district? Is this news to you or have your Parent Advisory Committees been asked to only address supplemental funds instead of the whole budget? Sound off in the comment below and sign up for more updates from California Coalition of Local Control Accountability Plan Committees.
We’re seeking clarification from the state’s LCFF agency and from Ron Bennett directly and will report on the responses we receive.