Community Members and Tribal Representatives Call for Transparency in Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified's LCAP Process
The Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District’s (KTJUSD) School Board meets this Tuesday (Sept. 11) to vote on their 2018-19 amended Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).
On June 25, 2018 the ACLU Foundation of California, the Yurok Tribal Council, and the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council sent a letter to Superintendent Jon Ray of KTJUSD to address compliance issues with the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and specifically the District’s use of Supplemental and Concentration (S&C) funds outlined in its 2018-19 LCAP. These funds exist specifically to ensure equity for high-need students and, by law, must be used to support the academic success of those students.
The letter outlined the District’s failure to justify multiple schoolwide and districtwide S&C expenditures as “principally directed towards” and “effective in meeting” its goals for high-needs students, as required by law. Under 5 CCR Section 15496(a), all districts receiving LCFF funds must demonstrate how they will use S&C funds to increase and improve services for high-need students by including an explanation of how expenditure of these funds will meet the district’s goals for its high-need students in the state’s priority areas.
The District has also fallen short on its obligation, as required by law, to foster authentic community input and strengthen stakeholder engagement in the planning process.
“The most effective step that the school district can take toward improving student success is to genuinely consult with families about their needs and direct funding towards addressing those needs,” said Jim McQuillen, Education Director for the Yurok Tribe. “We expect the school district to honor this dialogue and to spend these limited dollars in an effective manner.”
Unlike in other school districts around California, information about the LCAP process, public hearings, and even the document itself are hard to find for Klamath-Trinity. The District is not holding the LCAP-specific input sessions at the district or school-site level as required. Tribes and parents cannot have meaningful input into the LCAP planning process if they can’t see what the District is using the funds for.
“These state educational funds must be used for the students it is intended for- not to fill in budget gaps. The District cannot circumvent the law or its obligation to our high need students. Doing so unlawfully strips our students of the tools and the resources that they need and deserve and also mismanages the District’s funds,” stated Sylvia Torres-Guillén, Director of Education Equity at ACLU of California.
The legal requirement to identify and justify districtwide uses of S&C funds is critical to LCFF’s commitment to transparency and community engagement. In response to the letter sent by the ACLU, the Yurok Tribe, and the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the District apparently revised its 2018-2019 LCAP, but did not leave sufficient time for community members and tribal representatives to meaningfully engage and evaluate the revisions.
“A transparent LCAP process would allow parents and advocates to clearly assess how the District is using funds to address and rectify historic discrimination and provide supportive services for native students in our community. The District's plans must also incorporate inclusive opportunities for valuable stakeholder input,” said Erika Tracy, Executive Director of the Hoopa Tribal Education Association.
The ACLU Foundation of California, the Yurok Tribe, and the Hoopa Valley Tribe are asking that KTJUSD make substantial revisions to its 2018-19 LCAP to ensure that it adequately justifies all districtwide uses of S&C funds, as required by law. The Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 5pm at District Headquarters in Hoopa, CA.
Follow-up Letter to Superintendent here: