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What is a Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan?

Here's something we all need to know - and pay attention to - as our districts formulate their back-to-school reopening plans....

In 2013 the California Legislature passed the Local Control Funding Formula plan, moving away from the prior funding system where almost every scrap of money sent to schools came with specific strings attached to a more open system where districts were allowed to make more decisions on how that money is spent (i.e., “Local Control”.)

As a part of that, the legislation specified that districts were required to include all stakeholders in the decisions they made to use that funding, with the idea that this would make sure tax funds were being used in ways that furthered the goals of parents, teachers, district staff, and the community.

For more of the gory details on how our schools are funded, you can go to the San Diego Schools site post "A Parents' Guide to California School Funding."

A big part of that process is normally the development of a Local Control Accountability Plan, called an "LCAP". That plan, which is due in June of every year, is supposed to be a set of guidelines put together with local input for the district to use when determining it’s spending plan.

Oceanside Unified (my district) has routinely done this. I was the first parent representative on their LCAP committee and was joined later by others – some of whom are now Board members.

I participated in that for several years, resigning in May 2018 because I felt the District was largely going through a "check off the box" exercise in gathering input but not actually acting on that input in ways that translated into spending priorities.

This year, however, the normal LCAP process was not possible. The Covid Crises hit us right about the time that plan was being developed and derailed that process. Our legislature addressed that in SB98, passed June 29th, 2020 and signed by the Governor that same day.

That legislation included provisions that waived the need for the LCAP to be developed and approved in 2020. It also waived the requirement that districts report data to the system used in California to track school performance, the California School Dashboard.

And replaced those requirements with a requirement that each district produce a Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan, an “LCP”.

Edsource explained this plan in an excellent article "Parents must have a say in districts’ distance learning plans under new California law" in July. The idea is that districts are supposed to make sure they are taking that same stakeholder input into account when developing their plans for fall reopening – both in the process being used to ensure learning as well as the budgeting needed to do that in a transparent way.

As the state puts it on their site... "The Learning Continuity Plan template memorializes the planning process already underway for the 2020–21 school year and includes descriptions of the following: addressing gaps in learning; conducting meaningful stakeholder engagement; maintaining transparency; addressing the needs of unduplicated pupils, students with unique needs, and students experiencing homelessness; providing access to necessary devices and connectivity for distance learning; providing resources and supports to address student and staff mental health and social emotional well-being; and continuing to provide school meals for students."

All districts are required to get stakeholder input, prepare a draft plan, present it at a Board meeting, hold a public hearing on that plan to give the community further opportunity for input, and then – at a later meeting – adopt the plan.

The deadline for all of that to be done is September 30th, 2020.

All stakeholder input is to be considered, and I would strongly urge all who want to be a part of this process to participate in that public hearing.

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