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Know Your Rights: School Funding Equity

Your voice matters in school funding decisions. Learn more here.

How does California decide how much funding schools get?

Schools receive most of their funds through a law called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

The law provides more money to school districts that have large number of high needs students and gives the school districts authority to decide how to use their money.

Who is considered a “high needs” student under LCFF?

Each high needs student can only be counted once and must fall under one of three categories:

  1. Low-income
  2. English learner
  3. Foster student

How does each district decide how to spend its money?

Districts have to plan their budget every year. This budget is called the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).

The LCAP must include goals based on state priorities as well as local priorities determined by parents, students, educators, and others.

Do I have a voice in how the LCFF money is used?

Yes, school districts are required to seek input from parents, students, and community members on how the money should be used yearly.

How is state LCFF money distributed to schools?

School districts receive three different grants from the state:

  1. Base Grant: a minimum amount of money that school districts receive per a student
  2. Supplemental Grant: an extra 20% of the base amount of for students who are high needs
  3. Concentration Grant: an extra 50% of the base grant for school districts with more than 55% students enrolled who are high needs

What can I do if I am not happy with the LCAP?

You can file a complaint with the district using the Uniform Complaint Procedure (UCP).

How can districts spend LCFF money to help high needs students?

Some LCFF funds must “increase or improve” services for high needs students. The items funded in the LCAP must help achieve high needs students’ goals.

In districts with many high-need students, schools may spend LCFF funds school-wide, but only if the funds are mainly directed to—and good at meeting goals for—high needs students.

How must a school district get input on its local school funding plan?

  • Consult with teachers, parents and students to develop the LCAP
  • Hold a hearing where the public can comment on the plan
  • Districts with at least 15% of English Learner students must ask its English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) for input
  • Ask for input from a Parent Advisory Committee (PAC)
  • Notify the community about opportunities to comment

What is the timeline for LCAP?

  • Fall: Preparing
  • Winter: Sketching plans and gathering community input
  • Spring: Final adoption in late June
  • Summer: Reflecting

How can I have a voice in how the money is spent?

  • Find out what your school district is doing to engage you and all parents
  • Find out who plays important roles in the LCAP process in your district
  • Share your ideas with school administrators and board members in writing
  • Attend a meeting of the ELAC, DELAC, school site council, or PTA
  • Talk with your student’s teacher and principal about LCFF
  • Attend the yearly LCFF/LCAP forum and LCAP board meetings

Want more information? Download our Education Manual: A Basic Guide to Students' Rights for Parents and Advocates.


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