Participate in your school district’s funding decisions!

posted Apr 22, 2016, 12:52 PM by Nancy Raskauskas-Coons

It’s budget season for our schools. As your travel around the county, you may notice billboards, radio ads and newspaper ads from Building Healthy Communities encouraging you to hold our elected School Board accountable and reminding us that every child has a right to a quality education.

Each year, the School Board is charged with allocating millions of dollars towards our kids' education. Join the movement of parents, students, teachers, community and advocates working with Del Norte Unified leaders to ensure our students' success. Your input is critical.

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is a form of participatory budgeting that started in California as part of the 2013-14 State Budget. The intention of Local Control Funding Formula is to ensure equity in primary education for our most vulnerable and underserved communities.

LCFF, and its local accountability counterpart, the LCAP – Local Control and Accountability Plan — are anchored by the notion that California must do better for its under-performing students, who make up a sizable portion of the state’s school-age population.

The LCFF significantly changed the funding formula for school districts — more money is attached to students who are under-performing. The LCFF identifies three categories of students requiring greater resources: 1) students who qualify for free or reduced priced meals, 2) students who are English Learners, and 3) foster youth.

Together, more than 60% of Del Norte's students are among the population that fall into these categories, and for which the state provides additional need-based revenue to the district.

One aim of LCFF and LCAP funds is to narrow the gap in school district budgets, to bring them closer to pre-recession (2007-2008) funding levels. School districts must create a Local Control and Accountability Plan by June each year to spend the state allocated funds.

Since first seeking community input in November 2013, multiple new funding priorities have been launched in the Del Norte Unified School District. In the first year, more than 40 community engagement sessions were held and input was collected in-person and via online surveys. The results of the community LCAP survey found that increased student achievement and improved school climate were the top priorities.

Based on these findings, the initial LCAP included retaining and hiring more teachers and support staff as well as using Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Restorative Justice throughout district schools to decrease bullying and suspension rates. Three years later, these programs are still in effect and receiving funding.

Do you have something to add to this year’s budget conversation? Start today by talking with your child’s teacher, contacting the school district or attending a school site council meeting.

Find out what your school district is doing around these issues:

  • School counselors

  • Restorative justice

  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

  • Reduced class sizes

  • Foster students

  • Native American students

  • Career pathways

  • English Language Learners (ELL)

  • Attendance and suspension

Bring your voice to a School Board budget hearing this May or June (May 12, May 26, June 9, June 23) or call the school district at 707-464-6141 and ask to meet with Superintendent Jeff Harris or Assistant Superintendent Steve Godla.