New Report Documents LCFF Successes and Challenges

Just 55 cents of every dollar from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is being spent at the schools that high-needs students attend. Nevertheless, the LCFF is yielding clear benefits for students, with rising test scores in the highest-need districts.

That’s according to a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). The researchers analyzed financial data for all districts with over 250 students and more than 10 schools to determine how LCFF funds are being spent, what challenges to equity remain, and how changes in the LCFF have impacted student outcomes in targeted districts.

These were the key findings:

  • Under LCFF, resources were distributed more equitably across districts. Revenues and spending increased fastest in high-need districts.
  • After LCFF implementation, outcomes were distributed more equitably across districts. Test scores and A–G completion increased most in the highest-need districts after the state fully implemented the funding formula.
  • Test score gaps narrowed more by district than student need. District-level gaps in test scores, graduation, and A–G completion narrowed faster than gaps between student subgroups.
  • A slight majority of funding for high-need students reaches the school that generates it. Statewide, roughly 55 cents of every dollar of additional funding for high-need students is spent at the school that generates the funding; districts vary considerably in how they allocate additional resources to schools with the most high-need students.
  • Policymakers should improve reporting to enhance tracking and transparency of funding. We also recommend consideration of a funding mechanism based on school site need and increasing supplemental grants and/or lowering the threshold for concentration grants.

The recommendation to direct concentration dollars according to schools instead of districts would help ensure the money is going to the students it’s intended for, according to PPIC.

Read the entire report here