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How much should your district spend on disadvantaged students next year?

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, March 14th, 2014 at 5:53 pm in Education.

As the July 1 deadline for creating district spending plans is looming under the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula, school officials should be asking parents how they believe money should be spent to best serve their children.

The state is allocating extra money to districts with low-income students, English learners and foster youth to help them close the achievement gap by providing services and programs to help disadvantaged children overcome challenges.

Ideally, districts should be telling parents how much money they are receiving through base grants for all students and through supplemental grants for disadvantaged students. Districts with more than 55 percent of students who fall into the three disadvantaged categories also receive concentration grants intended to provide extra help for them.

But some districts are more transparent than others about sharing their budget numbers with their communities during this planning process. To help level the playing field, the Education Trust-West advocacy organization has created a website at www.fairshare4kids.org that provides a searchable database of most districts in the state showing how much each district is supposed to spend on high-need students. The database does not include districts serving 100 students or less or those with very few disadvantaged students that are receiving Economic Recovery Target Grants to help them reach the goal of increasing funding to 2007-08 levels in eight years.

Here’s a comparison of the percentage of disadvantaged students in some Alameda and Contra Costa districts, followed by the amount of money designated to serve those students next year, according to the site:

ALAMEDA COUNTY
Hayward: 76 percent; $16 million
Livermore: 30 percent; $2.4 million
Newark: 60 percent; $2.8 million
Oakland: 74 percent; $27 million
San Lorenzo: 68 percent; $6.3 million

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
Antioch: 65 percent; $8.4 million
John Swett: 69 percent; $905,441
Mt. Diablo: 49 percent; $9.5 million
Pittsburg: 86 percent; $8.9 million
West Contra Costa: 74 percent; $19 million

Each district must include this amount of money designated for disadvantaged students in its Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP. These plans must describe a district’s goals, actions, and expenditures across eight state priority areas. The plans must also explain how supplemental and concentration funding will be spent on high-need students and describe how the district’s expenditures will increase or improve services for those students.

Districts are required to include a parent advisory group in the creation of the plans, said Carrie Hahnel of EdTrust-West. Some districts are creating special groups for this purpose, while others are using existing parent advisory groups, she said.

A best practice is to create a special group that includes representatives for low-income students, English learners and foster youth, she said. In addition, Hahnel said students should be involved in the process.

“There’s a difference between just asking for their input and authentically engaging them,” she said. “What we hear from some students is that they will share lists of things that they care about, but they don’t feel that’s going to actually affect the district’s plan in any way.”

Some districts are holding community meetings to explain the state’s requirements and solicit feedback. But Hahnel said it’s really important to make the connection between the budget and the plan during these meetings, instead of merely creating wish lists of programs and services.

“For some reason, districts want to skip over the budget part and get to the plan part once they get people in the room,” she said. “If the district has a strategic plan — put it out there. Talk about the new funding and have a dialogue about trade-offs. If we do a lot of new things, we might have old things we have to cut, so let’s talk about what we value and how much room we have for new investments.”

What trade-offs are being discussed in your district?

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  • g. de la verdad

    I believe Shoenke “shut down” a whistle blower in San Diego. Has he done the same in MDUSD during his short time here?

  • tmharrington

    I also heard from the San Diego parents that some were prohibited from setting foot on campuses or attending meetings if they were considered to be troublemakers. Hopefully, this will not be the case in MDUSD.

  • tmharrington

    Here’s the board action summary from the April 9 meeting, which unfortunately does not list the public speakers, including the teacher whistle blower shut down by Schoenke: http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Documents/action/2014/04-09-14.pdf

  • tmharrington

    FYI, WCCUSD has hired a new PIO. When I told him that some people have complained about a lack of transparency in that district, citing the sudden departure of an elementary school principal last month, he expressed surprise and said the district sent a letter, so what’s the problem?

    Here’s the letter, which was sent the day the new principal showed up: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKcea0NxTkRPa2hWZlU/edit?usp=sharing

    Hercules City Councilman Dan Romero said he has met with parents who feel there has been no closure at that school, which has had three principals in three years, with no advance warning to the community until the new principal showed up.

    As the end of the school year nears, there are bound to be administrative changes in MDUSD as well. How transparent will Superintendent Meyer be about the upcoming changes?

  • Doctor J

    Should be Supt Council members that were excluded from pay raises. Is Julie pulling a fast one here ?

  • Doctor J

    It’s not clear — could be SASS encouraging each Elem school sending a TEAM of teachers to Las Vegas in July for the Nat’l Singapore Math Conf or perhaps SASS dropping the ball with the Math Task force who is behind schedule in getting out the 2014/15 curriculum map so they had to cancel the end of May Symposium. My sources say anything from Dent is pure chaos right now. As the Marines say: PPPPPP. BTW, what happened to the Board directive for no out of state travel without prior Board approval ? Why was M&O out of state all week ??

  • tmharrington

    The district has updated its LCAP site and removed the reference to the May 20 LCAP meeting at CPHS, which was canceled: http://demo.mdusd.org/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1393519794316

    But, now, I’m unable to open the feedback summaries. Not sure if it’s a problem with my computer or the links.

    Somewhat ironically, the district doesn’t have an active link to the CPHS summary, which I am able to open by visiting the CPHS website: http://cphs-mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/file/1263280981140/1319263649400/3958591396063636294.pdf

  • tmharrington
  • tmharrington

    FYI, the MDHS Slow Foods Club is visiting New York City this week during spring break to teach students in New York schools to cook healthy meals, while learning from them about how to create hanging gardens. A student plans to blog about their experiences during the week: http://www.contracostatimes.com/barnidge/ci_25604667/barnidge-common-core-is-coming-public-schools-whether

    Today, they’re sightseeing. Tomorrow, they will visit of Slow Foods Movement offices and Thursday they will participate in a cooking demonstration at the Hunter School.

  • me

    Who’s paying for the Club trip?

  • Doctor J

    MDUSD settles court case 13-06811 — what were facts and circumstances ? I think this was case where Tim Cody paid the “lease/leaseback” but failed to get a release of the material supplier who had not been paid by MDUSD’s contractor. Did MDUSD have to pay twice ?

  • tmharrington

    It’s my understanding that the students fund-raised for the trip.

  • tmharrington

    For anyone looking for a job outside the district, Alameda County has a job fair scheduled April 30: http://acoe.org/jobfair?utm_source=News+Advisory%3A+Job+Fair+2014&utm_campaign=Job+Fair-+April+2014&utm_medium=email

  • tmharrington

    Be aware: Whooping cough case reported at Morello Park Elementary in Martinez: http://www.contracostatimes.com/martinez/ci_25614519/whooping-cough-reported-at-morello-park-elementary-martinez

  • tmharrington

    Here’s a story about the effort by music students, parents and teachers to persuade the MDUSD board to reinstate elementary music, including a list of upcoming concerts and video clips: http://bit.ly/1h8sX6t

  • Doctor J

    Santa Ana USD gets over 3,000 parents to attend LCAP meetings. Why can’t MDUSD be as creative ? http://edsource.org/2014/santa-ana-unified-caters-to-parents-to-boost-accountability-meeting-attendance/61161#.U1cDiaPn_cu

  • tmharrington

    Lots of MDUSD support for Karen Sakata in the upcoming superintendent race: http://www.karensakata.org/endorse.html

  • g. de la verdad

    Cheers to Santa Ana USD. I liked the comments from Don on the article too. Good Idea to hold SF to the rules, and good idea for other slacking districts too.

  • me

    I bet Santa Ana maintains contact with parents better than MDUSD it wouldn’t be hard to do. Dent Center communication to parents still seems non-existent.

  • Doctor J

    At last years Academy Awards, Tom Torlakson was paid by MDEA for his speech !! Who else was paid by MDEA ? That’s outrageous how MDEA used the $5000 from MDUSD to MDEA for last year’s Academy Awards. How much is the district underwriting the Academy Awards this year, and who will be paid ?

  • tmharrington

    FYI, I am at a very interesting forum hosted by the educational consulting organization WestEd, focusing on Building Social and Emotional Foundations of Learning. Follow tweets at twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.
    A Stanford psychology just presented research about the difference a student’s mindset can make in achievement. To me, it sounds like it would be very worthwhile for low-performing schools to check out these workshops!

  • Doctor J

    How many teachers could have attended today’s presentation with the $5,000 given for last year’s Academy Awards ? Every school could learn from that presentation. But alas, its not an overnight stay or an out-of-state conference. Ahhh. Meanwhile, the District funds the academy awards which funding is discovered to pay those who participate. Yes, West Ed presentations are usually top notch and very worthwhile. Articles are available on-line. http://www.wested.org/online_pubs/cpei/social-emotional.pdf

  • Doctor J

    When will MDEA’s annual school climate survey be unveiled and available to the public ? And the new rankings of administrators that have Rose Lock and Julie B-M all tied up in knots ??

  • Doctor J

    Were all these speakers paid last year by MDEA using district funds ? Anyone else paid like MDEA leadership ? “We have an awesome line-up of speakers including: Keynote Speaker: Kish Rajan, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Rajan is also a former Walnut Creek City Councilman and a graduate of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.
    Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Education
    Mark DeSaulnier, State Senator
    Susan Bonilla, State Assemblyperson
    Federal Glover, County Supervisor

  • g. de la verdad

    Santa Ana USD; 25,000 more students than MDUSD, but with 1,000 fewer employees, 82% English Learners and 91% low income
    and yet — it would appear they are far more efficient in dealing with current issues. Interesting.

  • tmharrington

    At the WestEd conference, I asked the consultant who is overseeing LCAP how far along districts should be. She said they should release their drafts after the May revise comes out, since spending will be tied to the budget.

  • Doctor J

    “In this district,” she said firmly, her eyes fixed squarely on the board members facing her, “…we have educators who exploit students to generate revenue.” She was speaking of San Diego USD, but she very well could be speaking about MDUSD. MDUSD in many cases is ignoring AB 1575. Who is standing up for the children of MDUSD ? Who is the Sally Smith of MDUSD protecting the children against exploitation ?
    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-c1-schools-activist-20140423-dto,0,364568.htmlstory#ixzz2zr2MLQmO

  • tmharrington

    Smith is the San Diego parent who tried to warn MDUSD against hiring Meyer, but was prevented from attending the board meeting by SDUSD police.

  • tmharrington

    Northgate HS was the highest ranked MDUSD school in the new US News and World Report rankings, beating Monte Vista in SRVUSD and Dublin HS: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/california/rankings?schooltypepublic=y&int=c0b4c1&schooltypemagnet=y&state=CA&schooltypecharter=y&page

  • tmharrington
  • me

    The US News criteria is college readiness and MDUSD is flunking. Looking at AP tests and API scores why isn’t Northgate in the top 100 with the AUHSD schools. Instead Northgate is outranked by #230 Santa Ana USD’s Foothill High School and #140 Dozier-Libbey in Antioch. Look at lack of funding, look at lack of community involvement, look at lack of counselors, look at the Dent Center.

  • Fed Up

    G.
    Look at the number of schools they have in relation to the number of students. I would bet they don’t keep schools open at 60% capacity.

  • Fed Up

    Does that translate to MDEA support? I doubt many parents even know who Ovick is let alone the fact that he is leaving.

  • Doctor J

    When will the Mt. Diablo Board of Education prohibit illegal fees ? Charging $90 for a PE Class — come on now Brian Lawrence, Barbara Oaks, Cheryl Hansen, and Lynne Dennler. Linda Mayo voted for the class — but you didn’t. Lets see a formal resolution banning the practice and REFUNDING THE FEES imposed since January 1, 2013, the effective date of AB 1575. Stop singing cumbaya and holding hands with Rose Lock who doesn’t understand what schools are charging for and not charging for. She would rather hold hands with Linda Mayo while taking her on school tours to make sure she still has a job, and gets the MDEA raise. Just so you can see the $90 fee thinly disguised as a “donation” to the bowling alley, take a look: http://chs-mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/file/1263280767243/1370800270025/5709015600044686158.doc

  • tmharrington

    Lack of counselors is a real issue in MDUSD. CPHS is using its Safe and Supportive Schools grant to help pay for counselors and the city of Walnut Creek helps pay for counselors at Walnut Creek schools. Some Title 1 schools also get additional counseling support, I believe. But, at the School Climate discussion at WestEd, principals said they rely on their counselors to find out why some students are acting out. They said typically at least 10 percent of a high school’s student body needs this kind of additional support. The El Cerrito HS principal said: A school ebbs and flows on that 10 percent.

  • Doctor J

    Under Dr. Nellie’s leadership, here is what the San Diego Grand Jury had to say about school fundraising foundations — sounds similar to MDUSD ? Perhaps the CC Grand Jury needs to take a look at MDUSD schools in light of McMorrisGATE. http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/grandjury/reports/2011-2012/SchoolFundraisingfoundationsReport.pdf

    Also, this is interesting as to a free education: http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/grandjury/reports/2011-2012/FreeEducationReport.pdf

  • Doctor J

    No discounts this year for politicians or school officials. “$25 for Everyone” — except of course unless you get a “free” ticket for the Academy Awards. MDEA must be getting big bucks from MDUSD — impossible to do this event just on ticket sales: $25 x 250 seats = $6,250.00. Looks like Guy took my suggestion to get rid of the ridiculous discounts. How can you possibly get any seed money for an Arts Foundation on this budget ?

  • g. de la verdad

    That 2% “give-away” bonus paid to everyone would have hired a few classroom assistants AND a few counselors. But we live and die by the “Me First — Me Too” attitude, followed closely with “We need more help.”

  • tmharrington

    Here’s a new blog post listing National Merit Scholarship Corporation winners and the East Bay High Schools that made the top 80 statewide in the US News and World Report rankings: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2014/04/25/congrats-to-national-merit-scholarship-corporation-winners-and-to-top-high-schools-in-us-news-and-world-report-rankings/

  • me

    Those are crisis counselors. Other districts have more college and career counselors, and academic counselors.

  • Doctor J

    Jeff McDaniel just got a big promotion and huge raise for not answering his phone or responding to emails. Take a look at the Williams complaints for substantial safety issues that had been present for over six months at YVHS WITHOUT any action to remedy them despite months of complaints. Were the night and morning janitors sleeping on the job ?

  • me

    And look at the alternative schools, rumor is Gateway has like 8 students and how many staff, but MDUSD will never consolidate schools

  • Doctor J

    McDaniel’s message: you want it fixed, file a Williams complaint — don’t bother me with emails or phone calls. Read the two Williams complaints filed in early January ; the lightning fast response by McDaniel; and then compare with the Williams inspection report from September when these conditions existed but were concealed by staff to the Williams inspectors from the CCCOE. You can see the inspection report at the Nov 13, 2013 Board agenda item 15.1 attachment with cover letter by Supt Joe Ovick. That’s how McDaniels got a promotion and huge raise last month — knowing it had to be pushed through before these two Williams complaints became public. Board members were played like a fiddle again. Next week the fiddle will be played in closed session. DMA asking for another raise ? WTH ? The Big Four aren’t even members of DMA — read the DMA by-laws.

  • g. de la verdad

    What’s up with ‘painters and construction workers screwed up the lighting and wiring’, but the taxpayers are going to pay to fix it. Don’t the contractors carry insurance to cover their own errors and damages?

    Don’t we pay big bucks to Measure C managers for oversight and to Alicia Jensen to “Inspect” all construction?

  • Doctor J

    Why is Tim Cody dragging his _$$ in posting the accurate set of minutes for the Measure C 2010 oversight committee. They remain “partial” and cut off ?

  • tmharrington

    Here’s a Bronx TV news report on the visit by MDHS students led by healthy cooking teacher Cindy Gershen: http://bronx.news12.com/multimedia/best-of-the-bronx-california-visitors-1.7827444

  • Doctor J

    Very, very poor judgment and probably illegal, for A. Supt Rose Lock to USE DISTRICT RESOURCES to promote a Margarita bash for DMA administrators — Dr. Nellie and Schoenke plus Board members invited — Tuesday from 4-6pm at La Piñata Concord. Rose says “Buy Your Buddy A Beverage” but DMA supplies the non-alcoholic beverages so it’s really code for buy your administrator friends margaritas. to invite the Board, plus Dr. Nellie and Schoenke the day before they become the “negotiators” appointed by the Board is nothing short of improper contact. Not to mention that parents may be bringing their young children for dinner and get to see intoxicated administrators. then there is the pesky legal ramifications if an intoxicated administrator, invited using district resources, gets into an accident and kills or maims a citizen, the district has huge liability — like Schoenberg said last meeting! another $250,000 to defend another claim. why does Dr. Nellie allow such incompetence by her senior staff ? It’s time to clean house. No negotiations are needed. DMA got its raise — no more raises for DMA needed.

  • Doctor J

    Very, very poor judgment and probably illegal, for A. Supt Rose Lock to USE DISTRICT RESOURCES to promote a Margarita bash for DMA administrators — Dr. Nellie and Schoenke plus Board members invited — Tuesday from 4-6pm at La Piñata Concord. Rose says “Buy Your Buddy A Beverage” but DMA supplies the non-alcoholic beverages so it’s really code for buy your administrator friends margaritas. to invite the Board, plus Dr. Nellie and Schoenke the day before they become the “negotiators” appointed by the Board is nothing short of improper contact. Not to mention that parents may be bringing their young children for dinner and get to see intoxicated administrators. then there is the pesky legal ramifications if an intoxicated administrator, invited using district resources, gets into an accident and kills or maims a citizen, the district has huge liability — like Schoenke said last meeting –another $250,000 to defend another claim. why does Dr. Nellie allow such incompetence by her senior staff ? It’s time to clean house. No negotiations are needed. DMA got its raise — no more raises for DMA needed. Open up the senior staff positions for interviews — let current senior staff compete against all comers !!

  • tmharrington
  • tmharrington

    Here’s my early online version of grad rate/dropout story with state stats: http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_25653464/states-high-school-graduation-rate-breaks-80-percent

    Local info to follow.