What would you do if you had a say in how Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) spent $250 million of new funds?
Community voices are seldom at the table when LBUSD is debating policies for students and parents in the district; LBUSD has been notorious for its “45-minute meetings.”
But with the enactment of Gov. Jerry Brown’s education spending plan, the Local Control Funding Formula, there will finally be a chance for the community to weigh in on spending decisions.
School districts across the state must now work directly with student, parent and stakeholders on spending decisions, as required by the LCFF, which is concentrating funds on districts with the most “high needs” students. The new law is bringing communities and schools together to ensure that any new funds are spent appropriately.
“We’ll bring a committee of stakeholders together to determine what we will spend on, and when,” said Christopher Steinhauser Superintendent of Long Beach Unified School District.
The committees, called Local Control Accountability Plan Committees, will be meeting to decide on how to spend $90 million that LBUSD will recieve through LCFF for the next three years. By the year 2020, LBUSD will have received at total of $250 million. LBUSD has received extra funding because 70 percent of its student population qualifies as low-income.
To date, LBUSD has received $30 million.
Yanette Sainz, mother of a LBUSD Student, encourages other parents to join the committees so they can weigh in on spending decisions.
“As a parent of a student with special needs, I want my child to be respected and grow up like all children,” said.Sainz. “That’s why parent involvement is a must. We are not doctors, teachers or psychologists, but we are parents and we are the voice of our children.”
Since early October, LBUSD has worked to engage community leaders to participate in the budgeting process even as the state requirements have not been sent out. Students have been a key part of the process.
“I believe that the people in the LCAP committee value input from the youth and have definitely given room for youth speak out more about what they think is necessary and proper,” said Citlali Hernandez, a student leader and a member of the LCAP Committee. “We have the power to change LBUSD in the right direction, especially if you’re a youth because you are a vital source and the person most affected.”
How can people get involved?
Students and parents are being heavily encouraged to attending LCAP meetings and to join and support the School Site Council. .All meetings are televised and can be viewed at www.lbschools.net where all the information about the LCFF and the LCAP is published.
Over the course of October to January this year, the committee has developed a series of recommendations for increasing student achievement in the district. These recommendations will be presented to the Superintendent, the school board, and the Board of Education as the proposed “guiding principles” for what should be funded in the next 3 years.
LBUSD staff will take Committee recommendations (along with Board of Education feedback) and integrate them into the template. It is extremely important students and parent have input counted before this process happens.
After this process there will no longer be spaces for community input.
The next meeting will be held on Jan. 29, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 1515 Hughes Way, Community Room 143, Long Beach.
For more information, contact:
Robert Garcia Tagorda, Director
Office of Equity, Access, and College & Career Readiness
Long Beach Unified School District
1515 Hughes Way | Long Beach, CA 90810