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Tuesday, Sep 02 2014 12:20 PM

School board hears about new school funding program

Among items discussed by the Tehachapi Unified School District's Board of Trustees at its regular meeting held Aug. 26 was the Kern County Superintendent of Schools' approval of the District's Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

All California school districts have begun the implementation of the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). According the Christing Lizardi Frazier, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, LCFF represents the most significant change to education funding in some 40 years.

"LCFF moves the accountability for funding decisions from the state to local communities so that school district leadership, in consultation with their local community members, can prioritize their funding to best increase student achievement," wrote Frazier in a letter addressed to TUSD on Aug. 15.

According to the California Department of Education's website, the LCFF is a planned eight-year transition period, beginning in 2013-14. Until the new funding program is fully funded, local educational agencies, including county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools, will receive an LCFF Transition Entitlement. The Transition Entitlement is based on an LEA's 2012-13 funding level, adjusted for changes in student population, and the amount of funding the LEA would receive under the LCFF model at full implementation.

The goal of the new program is to simplify how state funding is provided to local schools. The local plan is an important component of the funding program, with all public education agencies required to prepare one describing how they intend to meet annual goals for all pupils.

The Kern County Superintendent of Schools did a review on the LCAP for schools," said Traci Minjares, TUSD administrator.

"I will be bringing to you monthly an update on where we are. We will be looking, first, at our initial implementation to make sure that we are following what we set forth in the plan and make plans for future years."

Minjares said that this will be an ongoing process.

"It's not something that is done and we put it on the shelf," Minjares said. "It is something that we constantly look at. As far as the plan itself, it is something that we did for three years out, so we always go back and look at what we want to implement from previous years. At the end of the year, we will go and update that."

Minjares said the biggest part, and most time consuming, was getting all the groups together and the gathering of the information.

"We held a lot of meetings last year, presenting data and going through that with a fine tooth comb to ensure that the LCAP plan represented what our data was showing," said Minjares.

"It was a good process. Now, is everything in there? No, and they actually don't expect that. But it has been a really good process, and has forced us to look district wide."

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