Officials: LAUSD skimmed $450M from special ed, high-needs students

Jun 6, 2016 by

A state report released May 27 indicates low-income students, English learners and foster children were adversely impacted by a double attribution of the same expenditure.

The mistake apparently made by the district seems to be steeped in an interpretation of how, exactly, California’s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) should be carried out. The formula, which was passed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013, guides school funding and accountability by defining eight metrics by which the state’s schools can be ranked and evaluated. Yet the LCFF contains some flexibility, and it’s been widely touted as a successful way to funnel more state money to disadvantaged students than just federal Title I dollars earmarked for spending on low-income, ELL, and students from foster homes.

It’s likely that other districts could make similar errors as states scramble to create and execute new funding and accountability guidelines as new Every Student Succeeds Act guidance, which allows for more flexibility, is implemented. Significantly, one change related to how federal spending works under ESSA grants districts the ability to apply for waivers from states to use Title I money, regardless of the percentage of low-income students. Many are also questioning the flexibility and possibly burden on districts offered by the new guidance within ESSA’s “supplement not supplant” guidelines. Without a careful consideration around accountability, suits like the one filed by the ACLU and Public Advocates that led to California’s new decision around the district’s alleged misuse of funds could become more common.

Source: Officials: LAUSD skimmed $450M from special ed, high-needs students | Education Dive

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