Many people live in Lafayette because of the great public school system. In fact, the number one reason families move here is for the schools.
Despite this fact, you may be surprised to find that the schools in our town receive the lowest amount of funding from the state.
How is this possible? In addition to the long-time struggles of state funding for public school, California adopted the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) four years ago and changed the way schools are funded. This system was designed to address the achievement gap in California, a good concept that nonetheless has now decreased funding to the Lafayette schools. Each district receives a base amount or grant of money per pupil. Districts that have high populations of children of low socio-economic status, English language learners, or foster children then receive extra money.
The problem is that the base amount is extremely low, and if a district does not have high populations of the student categories listed above, then they are not receiving enough money to operate. Communities like Lafayette that do not have high populations of these students are at the bottom of the state’s funding ladder.
Both the Lafayette and Acalanes School Districts are currently deficit spending because of the inadequate state funding. This is projected to continue in future years as well. Instead of looking better, it appears that the cost of doing business for districts will continue to rise while state funds actually are falling.
Do you realize that the amount of funds received by the state per pupil today is still below what it was in 2007? Despite the current local support through parcel taxes and LPIE, the ability to sustain current programs is at a crossroads.
Earlier this month the Lafayette School District’s Governing Board approved the first round of cuts to address what was originally a $1.2 million gap. Around the same time, information was released that now makes a $1.6 million deficit for next year very possible. The K-8 cuts include:
Elimination of 4th and 5th grade General Music
Reduction of classroom aide time by one hour per week
Elimination of three Literacy Coaches
Elimination of Professional Development including two days of Summer PD
Elimination of one Technology Maintenance Assistant
A variety of other reallocation of funds and cuts in a number of areas
Concerning, don’t you agree? We at LPIE would love to be able to offer more support to schools, but that is dependent on how parents and community members respond.
It is time to rally! Not only are we looking for your support next year, but LPIE needs your support this year to fulfill our commitments to our schools. If you are an LPIE supporter, consider increasing your donation, encourage others to donate, help recruit business and real estate partners, and spread the word that our schools are in need of our help. We can make a difference through the Power of LPIE!