Isaac Gonzalez, a focus group facilitator

Isaac Gonzalez, a focus group facilitator

On December 3rd students, parents, and school officials gathered with local community members to see how the district is using the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the school districts funds. The event took place at the La Familia Counseling Center. The night was dedicated to inform the community and get feedback on what parents and students really think of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). From individual testimonies to small focus groups, the people were able to break down what LCAP really is and voice what is still needed to assist LCFF.

What is LCAP? LCAP displays the specific district goals for student achievement. LCFF allows freedom in the funding to be used to develop LCAP. One of the elements of LCAP is that parents must be engaged, as well as the local students, to help provide feedback and their insight on the different sections of LCAP. This engagement is suppose to shape the district’s vision and their actions for the near future.

“How can you make a formula consisting of student needs, and you haven’t even heard the voices of the students or parents themselves, THOROUGHLY?” said one concerned parent in attendance. “I’ve been apart of the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) for 3 years, and have yet to go into a meeting about LCAP that allowed us, as parents, to critic this formula and give free range to hear how this is effecting our children.”

What is the process for engagement? 70% of school sites are represented by community partners, students, and district staff according to the LCAP staff. They host these collective small breakout groups and inform the groups of LCAP, LCFF, and collect qualitative feedback. This feedback is then used to refurbish LCFF in order to get the funds provided where needed. The focus groups that were present on December 3rd disagree. One of the dominated issues was that parents say the meetings hosted by LCAP are ineffective. The meetings are scheduled in a way that does not even allow time for them to give feedback and students are hardly present.

Engagement should not be one of the main focuses of LCAP, but thee focus of LCAP. Parents stressed that LCAP’s website needs to be updated because the surveys do not allow spaces to fill in commentary. Also, there needs to be more meetings that strictly focus on the students not the district goals, and the students need to be present. In 2013 only  1,291 surveys were completed, but that’s out of the 42,000 students in the district. A major change needs to happen in the collection of data.

The event was all around successful because the parents were thrilled to finally be heard. The excitement and enthusiasm filled the room as opinions were brought forth. Hopefully this will not be the last of one of these events.