More to Be Done:
California’s Local Control Funding Formula After a Decade
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California is home to the most diverse student population in the nation, one whose parents overwhelmingly hold strong values and aspirations around education. Yet schools in the state have long struggled to support students, leading to longstanding equity gaps in student outcomes and achievement.
In 2013, the state’s move to fund schools more fairly, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), offered hope that schools could finally match those aspirations with equitable opportunities. Today, LCFF is still a missed opportunity.
More to Be Done: California’s Local Control Funding Formula After a Decade, a new report by Natalie Wheatfall-Lum, J.D., finds that despite some progress, because of shortcomings in the formula, alarming racial inequities in student outcomes have persisted, progress for multilingual learners has flatlined, and family engagement and district accountability is lacking.
This brief reflects on the past ten years of LCFF, examines its shortcomings, offers key principles for future policymaking, and demands that those changes center the most marginalized students.
Its takeaway is clear: it’s time to fix LCFF. Adequate, equitable funding is indeed the right move for students – and California leaders must address the shortcomings in LCFF in ways that more substantially increase equity in both how the funding is distributed and how districts are held accountable. We call on lawmakers to amend LCFF according to the principles and recommendations outlined in this brief, starting with legislative hearings.