School districts were given more of a say in how they spent state funds when Gov. Jerry Brown's Local Control Funding Formula model was passed into law in 2012, but that freedom didn't come without a few strings.
The state identified several priorities on which all districts should focus and mandated district officials to develop their own list of goals, working alongside teachers, parents, staff and faculty, students and the community to determine priorities.
In a report Tuesday to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, Supt. Wendy Sinnette said she and a district steering committee worked with stakeholders from all school sites and departments to develop a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).
"I'd be lying if I said this was a labor of love," Sinnette quipped, "but I have to commend our district staff, teachers and community. I feel confident in saying we did one of the most exhaustive approaches to building this LCAP."
Sinnette presented a draft of the 159-page report with an executive summary highlighting major goals LCUSD will follow over the next three years.
The document lays out a road map for reducing or keeping class sizes smaller, recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers, successfully implementing the state's new Common Core standards and integrating technology into instruction.
It also promises to focus on English language learners, respond to facility maintenance needs and enhance student engagement through program offerings while improving stakeholder involvement and communication.
Each goal is accompanied by a list of actions to be taken and services to be provided in the coming three years. Once passed, the document is to be updated on an annual basis with the continued input of community stakeholders.
The district currently receives nearly $25 million — or about 68% — of its budget from the state's new funding formula.
School board members were asked on Tuesday for their comments or suggestions in a first reading of the draft document.
Vice President Andrew Blumenfeld said he was disappointed to not see more specific growth targets to help LCUSD propel itself even further beyond statewide averages and expectations in the next three years. He also said providing some context on the district's current growth and progress would be helpful.
"That's a bigger picture thing, but I think the key take away there is matching metrics, targets and goals all together," he said. "(Otherwise), how are we going to sit here in a year and say the LCAP has been successful?"
Sinnette said she was wary of creating intentionally high targets on the chance there could be repercussions from the state were they ever unmet. Blumenfeld expressed doubt that would be the case, and advised the district to consult with county or state officials on the matter.
Board President Ellen Multari said she didn't feel the LCAP was the appropriate place to set such comprehensive and detailed goals.
"I'm not sure this is the place where we want to dive into those details," she said, adding that district leaders will likely set their own targets for growth.
After the discussion, Sinnette asked Blumenfeld to present a list of some specific targets that could be incorporated into the document before it is brought back to the school board on June 24 for a second reading and vote.
The board must approve the LCAP before a July 1 state deadline.
A draft copy of La Cañada Unified's Local Control Accountability Plan, including the executive summary, is available online at www.lcusd.net.
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