Understanding the Local Control Funding Formula

California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is a new body of legislation that seeks to simplify the vital process of funding kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12) schools and to make it more efficient at helping schools support their student populations. This new methodology for the state’s complex school finance system was presented as part of the 2013-14 Budget Act. Where for 40 years there were many strict categorical mandates on school funding, Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) can now receive funding through new routes. The Local Control Funding Formula site explains that the previous funding framework “included general purpose funding (known as revenue limits) and more than 50 tightly defined categorical programs.” The LCFF now seeks to fund California districts, charter schools, and county education offices equally per student. Grade levels and demographics will warrant adjustments so that higher-need students are served appropriately, and it is expected that the LCFF will take about eight years to be phased into schools.

The LCFF contains several steps to implementation. Here are a few specifics of the LCFF formula from The California Department of Education (CDE) site:

  • A 10.4 percent adjustment is given for K-3 schools which maintain a teacher student ratio of 1-24 or lower (this condition is not applicable to charter schools)
  • A 2.6 percent adjustment is given for grades 9-12
  • For targeted disadvantaged pupils, including English Language Learners (ELL’s), those eligible to receive a free or reduced-price meal (FRPM), foster youth, or any combination of the above, schools receive “a supplemental grant equal to 20 percent of the adjusted base grant multiplied by ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the unduplicated percentage of targeted disadvantaged pupils.”

Additional grants and allocations are given for ADA, economic recovery target funding, guaranteed minimum funding to schools, and home-to-school transportation funding. Extensive details on the LCFF are available on the CDE LCFF site. The LCFF Channel page also offers “Implementation Insight videos” to help local districts navigate LCFF implementation for their schools. As part of the LCFF, school districts are required to make a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) flyer on the LCFF tells us that these LCAPs are created with input from parents and the community. The California State PTA explains that schools “have to tie their budgets to improvement goals by creating a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).” The LCFF site says that the LCFF “replaces complexity in favor of equity, transparency, and performance.”

For more information about English Learners funding, visit The Latino Family Literacy Project. They’ve compiled a list of resources and tools to help with this topic.