On January 16th, 2014 over 300 administrators, parents, and students attended the State Board of Education meeting in Sacramento to weigh in on the emergency regulations proposed for the Local Control Funding Formula – a new way of funding schools intended to provide more support to students with the most needs.
CFJ staff and youth leaders lined up at 5:30AM on a school day in front of the State Board of Education Building and waited 9 hours for an 8-minute time slot to speak in front of the board. Many of those hours were spent listening to hundreds of school administrators speak in support of the proposed regulations, which include an “anything goes” loophole that allows schools with high numbers of low income students to spend the money however they want.
CFJ youth leaders, however, voiced the need for accountability to ensure that students who are generating the additional funds are being directly affected. CFJ students urged the board to close the loophole and increase the threshold from 55% to 83%. Meaning districts with an 83% population of high need students will have more flexibility with the additional LCFF funds, compared to districts needing 55%.
After 7 hours of testimony, the board passed the current Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) regulations without the recommendations made by CFJ students. Santos, a junior at Independence High School in San Jose, responded to the board’s decision with “like many, I was disappointed when the State Board of Education disregarded our suggestions. Especially since hundreds of us worked hard for this hearing.” Students missed a day of school and spent hours into the night preparing for the board meeting and catching up on school work for the missed day.
Not all is lost, however. The State Board of Education did state that they will consider the students’ recommendations for the final regulations in July. You can bet on CFJ being at the forefront to make sure student voices are heard and the final LCAP regulations reflect district accountability to low income, English Learners, and foster youth.