LCFF Transparency Bill Passes Out of Education Committee

A bill to boost fiscal transparency in schools passed out of the Assembly Education Committee Wednesday—one of the handful of bills to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

AB 1835 was authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber in response to a November audit that found prevalent misuse of funds that are supposed to go to disadvantaged students under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). AB 1835 would eliminate a loophole in the LCFF that allowed districts to use some of that money for general expenses. Districts would have to report leftover funding to the state and would have to spend the money on high-needs students.

Some school officials opposed to AB 1835 say the timing is poor; that districts will need spending flexibility more than ever.

“We will do everything humanly possible to prioritize and preserve programs for disadvantaged and at-risk students, and to mitigate the loss of learning that the crisis has already caused,” said the Riverside County Office of Education‘s Chief Governmental Relations Officer Jeff Vaca. “But it is a certainty that all programs and services will be significantly impacted by the forthcoming recession.”

Weber counters the opposite is true.

“Even in good times for the last seven years, these kids have not benefited from these dollars because we have not held the districts accountable for using the money as it should have been spent,” she said. “We could not afford to once again fail these kids. Even in this pandemic, they are suffering the most.”

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