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Alhambra School Board outlines objectives for new state funding

The Alhambra Unified School District Board of Education finalized Tuesday funding areas for the next three years. The district's Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) — a state-required set of goals for how to allocate the funding — includes six objectives: maintain organized schools, provide a quality and rigorous education, provide access to technology, maintain a safe learning environment, maintain student engagement in learning, and engage families and communities in education.

A Los Angeles County Department of Education task force will review AUSD's plan to make sure the actions and services are manageable within the district's budget. The School Board will revise the plan based on the task force's notes and will present the modified LCAP on June 17 for a public hearing.

Governor Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will distribute funds to districts based on the needs of each student. Districts that serve high-needs students — low-income students, English-language learners, or foster youth — will receive additional funds. The LCFF requires each district to create and submit an LCAP that meets state education standards, such as student engagement and parent involvement levels, to receive the funding. The LCFF also requires districts to consider community input when determining how the money will be spent. 

After holding community meetings and administering a community survey, the AUSD School Board prioritized six goals that it will implement through LCFF funding:

  1. Maintain organized schools by providing adequate administration, substitute, maintenance, custodial, grounds, and nursing staff, as well as providing every student with instructional materials.
  2. Provide a quality and rigorous education for all students by employing quality teachers, increasing Advanced Placement and honors classes, implementing Common Core state standards, and expanding English language arts, math, career and technical education, higher education outreach programs, visual and performing arts, and programs and services for students with disabilities. The district will also employ an English Language Development coordinator and provide ELD instruction.
  3. Provide access to technology by increasing technology support staff and technology integration and providing new computers, computer labs, and additional network access. The district will also utilize data to monitor student progress.
  4. Maintain a safe learning environment by hiring certified and classified staff, supporting school resource officers, administering student screenings and school climate surveys, providing group services and alternatives to suspension, and using appropriate interventions and behavior contracts.
  5. Maintain student engagement in learning by implementing conflict resolution and peer counseling, developing a district-wide school attendance review, implementing English-learner semester check-ins, developing early warning system reports regarding grades and attendance, and developing graduation plans for foster youth.
  6. Engage families and communities in education by increasing parent and community volunteers, providing parents access to academic progress, publishing district news and events regularly, holding three Parent University sessions, increasing the number of Parent Project sessions and providing the trainings in Spanish and Chinese, increasing outreach, and ensuring parent participation in Gateway Advisory.

AUSD will be receiving $7,341 per student starting in the 2014-15 school year. The funding will increase to $11,602 per student over the next seven years and will be distributed to districts monthly, according to AUSD Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services Denise Jaramillo.

“It does not come through a large sum of money. Just like your paycheck, we get a little bit every month, but it’s not an even amount every month,” Jaramillo said. “It could sometimes take a full year to get what was owed to us last year.” 

Despite this gradual allocation, the district plans to move forward with the expenditures outlined in its LCAP as soon as it is approved and adopted on June 24 by the Board of Education.

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