The passage of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in 2013 gave California school districts flexibility in allocating resources and significantly boosted state support for the education of disadvantaged students. LCFF also includes a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), which requires districts to enlist the help of parents and the public in identifying student performance goals and ways to achieve them. Our research in 25 California districts suggests that educators have worked hard to develop the first of these three-year plans, but that knowledge about strategic planning, data-driven decision making, and involving parents and the public in the process varies significantly among districts. As a consequence, the clarity and effectiveness of the initial plans varies widely. The state can help by making technical assistance to districts and county offices of education available and affordable. Our research also indicates that expanding the role of county offices would help them push for improved student performance.

Implementing Local Accountability in California’s Schools: The First Year of Planning