Four pieces of legislation are revamping the education system as we know it. Districts across the state, including LBUSD, may soon see increased funding, suspension reform, and more school counselors.
Community leaders argue that the real impact of these bills could be massive– but they have to get passed first. Below, VoiceWaves takes a peek at the four pieces of legislation and asks youth and community members what they think.
The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)
The LCFF will raise base funding for all districts, while giving extra funds to districts with high-need populations, such as ESL and low-income students. Local districts will also have some say in how to manage funds.
If the LCFF goes as planned, Long Beach will see per pupil funding increase from the current estimate of $6,000 to about $11,000 by 2020. This is due to the number of ESL and low-income students in the city.
To see the proposition brief in its entirety, click HERE.
AB 420: Limiting Suspensions
The bill is a sort of “three strikes” twist on suspensions. Currently, students can be suspended for “willfully defying the valid authority of school staff.” AB 420 would require such “defiant” acts to occur three times in a school year before the student can be suspended. It also would encourage future policies to adopt more positive ways of dealing with students.
Suspensions are a big deal in Long Beach, especially for African-Americans. This group makes up 43 percent of all LBUSD’s in-school suspensions; though only making up 16 percent of the student body.
To take a closer look into how individual schools fared last year with suspensions, click on the the picture below for an interactive map.
AB 549: Clearer Police Guidelines and More Counselors on Campus
The bill would clearly establish how police should respond to school issues on or off campus. Guidelines may vary by district and will be made public. It also encourages schools to hire more counselors and support staff.
Long Beach schools had 337 students for every one counselor or psychologist last year, according to California Department of Education data. The bill may provide help for troubled students to…well, stay out of trouble.
SB 744: Restricts Involuntary School Transfers
The bill is catered to youth who have been involuntarily transferred to community schools, typically those involved in the judicial system or living homeless. Students can receive an expulsion hearing and, if they win, can stay at their original school. Districts must also factor the educational advantages of a student’s future when considering transfers.
Advocates say that SB 744 will help keep the at-risk population on track to graduate by keeping them at better schools while also providing better chance at higher education. The bill was introduced by Long Beach’s State Senator, Ricardo Lara.
Students Lobby for Reform
High school students trekked across the Golden State towards Sacramento this week to demand implementation of these promising reforms. “What we see too often happening is that decisions are being made that affect our community…they have no voice or sometimes they are not aware of (these reforms),” said Cesar Castrejon, Youth Organizer with Long Beach’s Californians for Justice (CFJ).
For more information about CFJ and their work, visit www.caljustice.org.