[KHTS] – Newhall School District representatives turned out for the state Board of Education meeting Thursday to show their support for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
Superintendent Dr. Marc Winger and board member Suzan Solomon represented the district and multiple other organizations to ask Gov. Jerry Brown and the state board not to make any additional changes to the new law.
“The message was that the regulations and templates as presented in the current local funding formula would meet the diverse needs of the our school district in Newhall in that it provided language for us to continue to have quality instruction and intervention for all students,” Solomon said.
LCFF allocates money on a per pupil basis with supplemental funding based on the number of students that are not English language proficient or are from low-income families.
Winger said groups advocating on behalf of EL and low-income students wanted more funding to target these students than Newhall thought necessary.
“It was really important for the School Board to hear from groups like the Santa Clarita Valley because we aren’t big urban districts with huge numbers of EL and (low-income) kids,” he said. “Our point was, give us the flexibility we need.”
The additional money is allocated to schools that have 55 percent EL or low-income students. None of the Santa Clarita Valley school districts meet this number, the Newhall School District being the closest at around 30 percent.
Solomon said that schools have historically been made up of students within its neighborhood, therefore reflecting the demographics of their community.
With LCFF and other changes in recent years, she said she did not know whether Newhall would eventually seek to increase enrollment numbers.
“With the opening of different types of charter schools and private schools, school districts across our valley as well as other places now are talking about, do you market your school?” Solomon asked. “Everyone’s funding is based on number of kids, and so that’s a really good question to be looked at and I know our governing board will be looking at that.”
In addition to the Newhall School District, Solomon represented the California School Boards Association, Winger represented the Association of California School Administrators, and both represented the School Finance Reform Coalition, which advocated against LCFF before it became law.
“At that point we were all concerned that it (LCFF) would be too restrictive,” Winger said. “As it turned out, it is still targeted for low poverty and EL students, but the rules are flexible enough to allow us the kind of decision making we needed to have in the Santa Clarita Valley.”
The state Board of Education meeting lasted over seven hours, as hundreds of groups came to speak. Solomon and Winger were part of the 160 governance teams, or duos made up of a superintendent and board member, that turned out.
The Board unanimously approved temporary regulations, including two emergency regulations; one regarding a method for how to channel money for school-wide and district-wide purposes and the other requiring districts approve a three-year Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) by July 1.
LCAP requires districts establish school improvement and student achievement goals based on individual needs.
“LCFF is the beginning of great parent involvement in their schools and their having a voice in schools planning their own budgets and programing,” Solomon said. “It’s also a beginning, over the next three years, as the nuts and bolts of it get put together, I’m sure changes (will be) made to accommodate the needs of various types of school districts.