Parents must be included

Over the next seven years, the Los Angeles Unified School District will receive almost $1 billion for schools that teach low-income students, English learners and children in foster care.

It is essential for LAUSD to develop a plan to use those funds, focusing on the purpose for which Governor Jerry Brown created the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Meaning, how to help in the most direct way possible those schools that for many years experienced a lack of funding compared to other similar schools in the district.

The expected arrival of hundreds of millions of dollars, not yet budgeted, has raised expectations in LAUSD about how to distribute the funds.

For example, School Board member Bennett Kayser suggested in a column on the Daily News to hire more employees in the district and raise the salaries of teachers—and employees—who have made sacrifices during the economic crisis.

Parents, particularly in schools in East L.A., are concerned about having comprehensive support programs and counseling services to provide guidance to students, school health clinics and teaching materials, among others. There is a great emphasis on increasing resources for English learners.

LAUSD must have a spending plan set by the beginning of April. For that, let’s not forget that the LCFF law requires that parents, relatives and legal guardians of students who will benefit from the funding are included in the planning and implementation. These stakeholders are already meeting and preparing to take on that role.

The school district has been through a tough period of budget cuts, and it naturally is tempting to reverse those cuts with the new funding. The challenge for the superintendent and the School Board will be to see which actions should be taken, keeping in mind—above all the interests at play here—how to improve the education of, for example, the English learners that this money is meant for.