What We’re Watching in California Education – November 2023 Edition

Welcome to the November 2023 edition of What We’re Watching in California Education, a newsletter that we hope will offer you insight into public education conversations happening at our state Capitol. 

2023 was a year that saw several changes in California education. In this issue we take a look at updates from the Legislature, Governor, and the State Board of Education. Here are the toplines: 

Reflecting on Legislation in 2023: As 2023 comes to a close, take a look back at the legislative year, and consider upcoming advocacy as we enter the second year of the 2023-24 legislative session.  

LCAP Template Updates: The 2024-25 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) template and instructions have been approved. We provide a summary of changes and implications on funding accountability. 

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Reflecting on Legislation in 2023

2023 has been an exciting year for GO, as we signed on in support of 10 pieces of legislation aimed at increasing college access and affordability, improving school funding accountability, and increasing equitable education in California. 

Of the 10 bills we supported in 2023, 6 were signed into law by Governor Newsom: 

  • AB 368 (Holden) College and Career Access Pathways partnerships
  • AB 789 (Berman) Financial Aid: Cal Grants: Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • AB 1540 (M. Fong) Public Postsecondary Education: Nonresident Tuition: Exemption
  • SB 274 (Skinner) Suspensions and Expulsions: Willful Defiance: Interventions and Supports
  • SB 609 (Caballero) Local Control and Accountability Plans: California School Dashboard 
  • ACR 16 – Needs of Opportunity Youth

AB 1479 (Garcia) Pupil Health: Social-Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Supports, made it through the legislature, but was vetoed by the governor, who cited “significant ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund cost pressures up to tens of millions of dollars that are not accounted for in the state budget plan.” 

AB 263 (Jones-Sawyer) Public Postsecondary Education: Pilot Program for Free Cost of Education: Working Group, did not make it through the Assembly Appropriations Committee in May 2023. 

As we look forward to 2024, we will continue to support two bills introduced in the first year of the session that have become two year bills: 

  • AB 274 (Bryan) CalWORKs: CalFresh: Eligibility: Income Exclusions 
  • SB 445 (Portantino) Special Education: IEPs: Translation Services 

We will resume legislative advocacy when the Legislature reconvenes in the new year and look forward to identifying new legislation to support. Watch your inbox for the release of our 2024 policy platform and the platforms of our coalition partners. 

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LCAP Template Updates

At their November 8th meeting, the State Board of Education (SBE) approved the proposed revisions to the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) template and instructions for the 2024–25 school year. Even though the Board is allowed until the end of January 2024 to approve changes, the California Department of Education (CDE) presented their final proposal at the November meeting for approval. The CDE has been soliciting statewide input from educational partners to inform the revisions since August. GO has signed onto advocacy letters in August and  September to ensure that the LCAP template and instructions are best meeting the needs of our families. 

The CDE incorporated recommendations from the SBE and educational partners in their final proposal. A summary of changes since our last update can be found below. You can also see the LCAP template and instructions with tracked changes here, as well as the updated version of the 2024-25 form here.  

STREAMLINING THE TEMPLATE AND CLARIFYING THE INSTRUCTIONS: 

  • Narrative response fields have been changed to a table within the “Engaging Educational Partners” and “Increased or Improved Services for Foster Youth, English Learners, and Low-Income Students” sections. This change was made to add simplicity, clarity, and ease of reading.  
  • Specific instructions have been provided for instances where there are differing requirements for county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools
  • Prompts on the template and instructions have been aligned to provide a similar look and feel for increased clarity on which instructions relate to which each prompt 

STRENGTHENED ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Instructions include direct identification of the educational partners that must be consulted in the development of the LCAP 
  • LEAs were previously “encouraged,” but now they “must identify metrics for specific student groups, as appropriate, including expected outcomes that address and reduce disparities in outcomes between student groups” 
  • Instructions for the projected and estimated actual LCFF base, supplemental, and concentration grants have been clarified and aligned with statutory changes 

EQUITY MULTIPLIER FUNDS

  • Prompt language was changed to include the requirement that local educational agencies (LEA) receiving Equity Multiplier funds consult with educational partners at schools generating Equity Multiplier funds in the development of the LCAP 
  • Instructions have been changed to provide clear identification of Equity Multiplier goals 
  • Instructions regarding Focus Goal(s) for LEAs receiving Equity Multiplier funding now include considerations for schoolsites with the same student group(s) who have performed at the lowest performance level on one or more state indicators on the Dashboard or experience similar issues in the credentialing, subject matter preparation, and retention of the school’s educators
  • Equity Multiplier funds are explicitly required to supplement, not supplant, existing LCFF supplemental and concentration funds 

Other important changes include the removal of the “LCAP Highlights” section, which previously provided an accessible summary to families. Additionally, superintendents are now required to respond in writing to consulted committees, including the LCAP Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) and District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC). 

In order to provide guidance and support on the 2024-25 LCAP template and instructions, the CDE will provide statewide trainings for LEAs through January 9, 2024. Register for the Tuesday @ 2 webinars here.

In Community,

Darcel Sanders, Chief Executive Officer 

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