The 74 attendees presented their ideas in accordance with the new Local Control Funding Formula, a system that will be implemented in public schools starting with the 2014-2015 school budgets. LCFF provides $2.1 billion in money for public schools through Assembly Bill 97. Under the new system, school districts must present an annual accounting outline called the Local Control Accountability Plan.
Veronica Miranda, assistant superintendent of the district’s educational services, said the integrated plan would ultimately framework the needs and goals of school districts and how they will reach those goals.
“I am working right along with you to shape your child’s education,” Miranda said. “There’s a tidal wave of change coming.”
Participants at the Monday meeting sat in small groups and worked on ideas for the Local Control Accountability Plan. Each group was led by a facilitator who guided the group, a focus monitor who made sure everyone stayed on track, a timekeeper who kept necessary issues moving and a recorder who wrote down input given by all participants.
Top suggestions for the local district include increasing mental health services and counseling for all students. Currently, there is a student assistant specialist at the elementary schools one day a week and Monday’s participants saw a greater need for services for the students’ wellbeing.
Community forum participants also stressed reducing class sizes, which is also in line with one of the points of the LCFF priorities.
Participants also saw the need for more technology in classrooms as well as providing staff support and teacher training.
Phil Alfano, superintendent of the PJUSD, said on Tuesday that the parents and the district are all highlighting many of the same needs.
‘We’re trying to work smarter by working together,” Alfano said. “That’s an advantage of living in a small community — we are able to do that.”
Although the community will promote the areas of change, districts must follow the rules set down by AB 97 basic grants as well as supplemental grants for students with greater needs such as low-income students, English learner and foster youth.
The money received is based on the percentage of total enrollment accounted for by English learners and free and reduced price meal programs for eligible students and foster youth.
Supplemental grants will be allocated based on the number of student sin need enrolled in the district.
At the start of the meeting, district officials presented information about the incoming assets and noted that present funding sources have been the norm in public schools since 1971.
State priority areas must also be addressed by LCAP plans according to the state PTA:
- student achievement
- school climate
- basic services
- student engagement
- implementation of common core standards
- parental involvement
- course access
The next step in the process of adopting the LCAP locally will take place at a public hearing set for Monday, May 5 at 7 p.m. in the district boardroom, 510 Keystone Pacific Blvd.
In mid-June officials will meet to adopt the plan and send it to state officials. Full implementation for the plan is slated for 2021.
Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or email@example.com.