By Chris Romo for South Kern Sol
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With the new school funding law in place, parents, students, and teachers may soon become more engaged than ever. Recently signed into law, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) aims to give local school districts and parents more control over how money in schools is spent.
LCFF provides each school district more funds for each student that is considered a “high needs” individual: English language learners, low-income individuals, and students in foster care. The more “high needs” students in the district the more money the school receives over the districts base funding. LCFF requires school districts to create their own Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), which lay out their specific plans for serving “high needs” students and must be informed by the community to help ensure that districts and schools are devoting their resources directly to the students. The districts must submit the LCAPs by July 1 for the 2014-15 school year.
What does this mean for South Kern? The Kern High School District is currently the largest 9-12 high school district in the state. With an over 60% Hispanic population and 80% of the population on free or reduced lunch, the district is in store to receive large amounts of new funding.
South Kern Sol went to local high schools in the district and asked parents, teachers and students: “How would you like to see this new funding used in our schools?”
“No matter how much money you spend, no changes can be made to improve the quality of learning if we don’t have a change from within. Teachers and schools need to challenge their students and change the way they teach their kids, because that’s the only way we are going to make an actual improvement.”
-Ms. Sheryl Cleveland, teacher at Golden Valley High School
“For those kids who are behind give them more of an opportunity to catch up, like more tutoring programs. It’s also good to offer more summer school classes for both the students trying to catch up and get ahead.”
-Melissa Meza mother of a student at Mira Monte High School
“The money should be used to help people who are new to this country, and help them become more assembled in the country. Because there are opportunities for them to learn English but there isn’t enough to help them advance.”
-Leonardo Garcia, 10th grade, Golden Valley High School
“The best way to use the new funding is to create work and classes that are actually challenging and helpful for life. There are too many assignments that we do that are just meant to keep us busy, but instead we should get more fun and engaging activities that make us think more outside the box.”
-Vanessa Leon, 11th grade, Ridgeview High School
“If we help student’s by getting them clothes, and more proper meals everyday maybe then they can focus more on school and do better. Also reduce class sizes and get better school bus transportation so kids don’t have to sit three to a seat.”
-Lucia Montalvo mother of a student at Mira Monte High School
“The money should be used to add more types of extracurricular activities and sports. It will help students stay out of trouble, and provide ways for students to become more interested in their futures.”
-Jorge Medina, 12th grade, Golden Valley High School