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New Local Control Funding Formula gives classified employees a voice in budget process

1/17/14

California schools will receive more money during the 2014-15 fiscal year than they have received in years, but chapters must become heavily engaged in local planning to ensure classified services receive a fair share of the new funding.

Under Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal, schools would receive $10 billion in new Proposition 98 funding. This is the most significant investment in school funding since 2008. The increased education funding is a direct result of the additional revenues provided by Proposition 30. CSEA and other unions were instrumental in passing Proposition 30 which was approved by the voters in 2012 to protect education funding.

The $10 billion will be used to eliminate school deferrals and to provide an additional $4.5 billion toward the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). This is nearly twice the amount that was budgeted for LCFF in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The LCFF gives districts more local control on education spending, while requiring them to increase and improve services for students who are foster children, economically disadvantaged and English language learners. County Offices of Education will be tasked with approving district educational spending plans. CSEA chapters are strongly encouraged to become involved in the development of their district’s spending plan.

“Our schools have been decimated by years of cuts,” Association President Michael Bilbrey said. “Through hard work and perseverance by all our members, we were able to get the state to invest in our students once again. Now, we have to make sure school districts understand how classified employees help in the advancement of our students.”

Classified services were among the first to be reduced during an era of severe budget cuts to schools that spanned six years. Many districts slashed home to school transportation to keep balanced budgets. Maintenance and custodial staffs were cut to bare bones levels. Schools saw their office staffs diminished to one or two employees.

The cuts that resulted in lost jobs, furloughs and reduced hours for classified staff damaged the support system for the students who need the most help. English language learners and those who lagged academically didn’t have instructional assistants to help them catch up. Cuts to school transportation made it challenging for some students to even get to school. Reduced office staffs meant that there were fewer employees tracking truancies or phoning parents.

The LCFF gives chapters the opportunity to bring back some of these important services. While the new funding formula gives more local control, it also requires school districts to get input from classified employees and other stakeholders on how funds are used. Many school districts are already beginning the process of determining how to allocate the new funds.

“Schools will have more money, so it’s very important that classified employees get involved in that process,” Bilbrey said. “Our involvement has to start now.”

CSEA is convening a taskforce to develop information and materials to help chapters engage in this effort. Check back with csea.com to get updates on the LCFF.

Related Resources:
Gov. Brown releases 2014-15 budget proposal
LCFF & LCAP Toolkit