While 300 Del Norters debated how to spend millions of hypothetical dollars belonging to the proposed state of Jefferson on Tuesday night, the Del Norte County School District listened to roughly 150 community members discuss how to spend $10 million real dollars that the district is poised to receive from the existing state, California, in the near future.
The Local Control Funding Formula, the new school funding formula adopted by California last year, mandates that school districts get input from their local communities on how to spend the extra money raised by Proposition 30, the 2012 ballot measure that raised funds for schools and other state programs by raising taxes on the wealthy and increasing the state sales tax.
"What it really means is that the community gets a say," said assistant superintendent Steve Godla during the Tuesday community forum, which is the second forum hosted by the School Success Express, a project of the district and Building Healthy Communities.
Godla insisted that the data collected will not end up collecting dust in some district closet because state law requires the district to use the community's input to craft a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).
The LCAP will address the greatest needs of the district, develop goals and lay out three-year spending plans, standing in contrast to the hastier planning that schools conducted under the previous funding formula.
"In the past, we would get the budget from the state late in the summer and then decide what we're going to do with the money," Godla said, adding that the three-year plan will change the game.
There will be one LCAP developed for district schools, one LCAP for County Office of Education schools, and then each charter school will develop its own LCAP.
Superintendent Don Olson said that the district is finishing up an online survey that community members can fill out to contribute input on the LCAP, and it should be on the district's website by the end of next week.
District officials are making a push this spring to collect community opinions for the LCAP because it needs to be submitted to the state by July.
Collecting feedback from teachers and students should not be a problem, Olson said, "but we need to have a viable way to hear from the community as well."
For more information on the new school funding formula, read "School funding to go up," published Nov. 20, 2013, at Triplicate.com.
Reach Adam Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.