by Assemblyman Phil Ting
The most important gift that we give our children is education. That’s why I will be meeting with PTAs across the west side to discuss how state education reforms give parents new opportunities each year to shape their children’s education.
The potential for locally-driven change in the classroom makes this an exciting time. So, I want to make sure that parents are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to fight for their kids. It starts with learning how to navigate some alphabet soup.
Aided by voter-approved taxes through Proposition 30, California now spends $71.9 billion on K-12 and community colleges, compared to a Great Recession low point of $47.3 billion in 2011. The state has also reformed how these funds are directed to K-12 schools in order to confront persistent achievement gaps among high-needs students.
Under the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, the state directs more resources to school districts with concentrations of high-needs students – specifically those students learning English, receiving free or reduced price lunches because they come from low-income families, and/or growing up in the foster care system. The LCFF also gives school districts flexibility to craft solutions to local student needs.
Since San Francisco has a large concentration of high-needs students, our local schools will be receiving more funding through the LCFF. This year, the SF Unified School District received $10,280 per student. An ongoing discussion is how to direct these funds between schools.
In the Richmond, 7.9 percent of students are English learners and 39.2 percent receive free or reduced price lunches at Presidio Middle School. But, both of these numbers are substantially larger at Frank McCoppin Elementary School, where 51.8 percent of students are English learners and 68.8 percent receive free or reduced price lunches.
My priority is to ensure students who generate the additional revenues under LCFF are the primary beneficiaries of how these funds are spent. I fought to ensure that state regulations stipulate LCFF funds must be spent for the primary benefit of high-needs students, but local parents ultimately decide how this will work.
State law requires the SF Unified School District to reach out to parents each year when creating goals and measurements to assess student achievement. This annual process creates and updates the district’s Local Accountability Plan, which shows actions to be taken and funds spent to support students.
At a time when California is spending more than ever on education, this framework is the recipe for the change we need at our schools. The direction of change will be decided by parents who participate. As the district gears up to craft an updated LCAP, I encourage you to inspect the current plan on its website at http://www.sfusd.org and to work with local organizations like your PTA to speak out.
If you would like to have me discuss these issues and provide suggestions for how to stay involved with the PTA at your child’s school, please contact my office at (415) 557-2312.
Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District.
Categories: Richmond Review