June 9, 2021
California school districts and charter schools will soon begin to spend record state funding along with more than $50 billion in state and federal Covid relief funding they are receiving this year. A website that’s intended to let the public see how they are using some of that money won’t be up anytime soon.
That’s frustrating for a state senator and groups advocating for low-income students who are criticizing the unexplained delays in creating a public “web portal.” They say state officials aren’t taking transparency in state education funding seriously enough.
“There has been no sense of urgency with districts on the cusp of spending billions of dollars,” said Vincent Steward, the senior managing director for education for the nonprofit Children Now. “It’s more important now than ever, with billions of dollars more in public education, that there be oversight and accountability.”
There is no central repository for districts’ financial documents that detail how they spend state and federal funding. Districts are required to publish online their Local Control and Accountability Plans, or LCAPs, which school districts update annually to show how they will spend money they get from the Local Control Funding Formula. Some post it prominently, others bury it. Some counties’ offices of education post districts’ LCAPs, while some don’t.