California’s transition to a new governor, superintendent of public instruction, legislators, and members of the state board of education is an opportunity to reflect on the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Namely, has the school finance system achieved its original goals of promoting local control, equity, and greater coherence in school districts? Some policy discussions about improving LCFF—including those on the campaign trail—have centered on increasing transparency requirements to understand how districts are achieving these goals, but those conversations too often treat transparency as an end in itself. A new brief from the California Collaborative on District Reform shines a spotlight on San José Unified School District (SJUSD), where implementing the new state policy helped the district maintain high levels of coherence, honor the priorities of their community, and promote equitable resource allocation. This brief asks new state leaders working to refine LCFF to consider examples like SJUSD, where key priorities of the policy–and not compliance–are the guiding principles behind all the district’s actions.
For more information about improvement efforts in SJUSD, please see resources from Meeting 20 and Meeting 30, as well as the Collaborative’s report on the partnership between the district and teachers union in San Jose.