What is the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)?
The LCAP is a critical part of the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Each school district must engage parents, educators, employees and the community to establish these plans. The plans will describe the school district’s overall vision for students, annual goals and specific actions the district will take to achieve the vision and goals. The LCAPs must focus on eight areas identified as state priorities. The plans will also demonstrate how the district’s budget will help achieve the goals, and assess each year how well the strategies in the plan were able to improve outcomes.
What are the eight state priority areas that must be addressed in the plans?
There are eight areas for which school districts, with parent and community input, must establish goals and actions. This must be done both district-wide and for each school. The areas are:
- Providing all students access to fully credentialed teachers, instructional materials that align with state standards, and safe facilities.
- Implementation of California’s academic standards, including the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and math, Next Generation Science Standards, English language development, history social science, visual and performing arts, health education and physical education standards.
- Parent involvement and participation, so the local community is engaged in the decision-making process and the educational programs of students.
- Improving student achievement and outcomes along multiple measures, including test scores, English proficiency and college and career preparedness.
- Supporting student engagement, including whether students attend school or are chronically absent.
- Highlighting school climate and connectedness through a variety of factors, such as suspension and expulsion rates and other locally identified means.
- Ensuring all students have access to classes that prepare them for college and careers, regardless of what school they attend or where they live.
- Measuring other important student outcomes related to required areas of study, including physical education and the arts. In addition to these eight areas, a district may also identify and incorporate in its plan goals related to its own local priorities.
When will districts start developing these plans?
The State Board of Education is in the process of developing a template for school districts to use for their own local plans. This template will be finalized by March 2014. Between March and June, school districts must engage their parents and communities and adopt their local plans. California State PTA encourages districts to utilize a broad and multi-channel approach to involve parents and school sites beginning now. Ultimately, the plan must be reviewed by a parent advisory committee. If a district has 15 percent or more English learners, a separate parent committee must provide feedback in this area. The final plans must be approved by July 1. The initial plan will cover three years, but must be updated annually by the district by July 1 of each following year.
What can parents and PTAs do now?
The new LCFF and LCAPs provide a great opportunity for parents to engage in the decisions that impact their children and schools. You can start now by thinking about the eight state priority areas and what you would like to see as goals for your school district and schools in each. In addition, now is the time to communicate with school administrators and elected board members to help them establish an LCAP development and adoption process that ensures many ways for all parents and community members to participate and be heard. Ask school and district administrators to schedule presentations and participate directly in conversations about the following: The programs and services currently being offered in the district, and their effectiveness in achieving student outcomes. Strategies, programs and services to improve student outcomes at your schools and for groups of students, and the resources needed. The district’s current budget-building process, and how the district will be adapting its planning and budgeting processes to meet the new requirements of the LCFF and LCAP.