Bakersfield students settle lawsuit over summer school cancellation and school funding

November 2, 2020 /

Two students in the Bakersfield City School District have settled their lawsuit challenging the District’s cancellation of summer school in
2019, according to a news release.

The students alleged that BCSD’s summer school cancellation violated the Local Control Funding Formula/Local Control and Accountability Plan
—California’s school funding framework—because the District made its summer school decision without seeking required input from parents or other stakeholders and without accounting for $1.6 million in restricted funding that was originally earmarked for summer school.

“Because of this lawsuit and settlement, students and families in BCSD will have greater protections for their right to participate in school funding decisions during the next school funding LCAP cycle,” said Valentin Narvaez, the students’ attorney with Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance.

In the settlement, the BCSD agreed to solicit required stakeholder input before it makes substantial changes to its LCAP in the future, according to the news release. Also, the District committed to greater transparency in the LCFF/LCAP information it shares with parents and other stakeholder groups, including posting additional LCFF/LCAP information on the District’s website.

The District also agreed to provide all LCAP information in both English and
Spanish and to have a trained Spanish language interpreter at all public Board meetings related to the LCAP.

“The District’s commitment to provide Spanish-language translation and interpretation during the next LCAP process means more families can have their voices heard in decisions about how the district spends money it receives from the state,” said Jodie Smith of California Rural Legal Assistance.

The District has also committed to using state funding intended to benefit low-income, English Learner, and foster students to increase or improve educational services for those students.

“Dedicated funds from the state are supposed to be used to benefit some of our highest need students, especially students who are low-income, English Learners, or foster students,” said Deborah Escobedo of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. “This settlement helps make sure those dollars reach the student they were intended to reach.”

The settlement brings to a close the lawsuit that California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights filed in April 2019 on behalf of both plaintiffs, who are students in Bakersfield City School District.