Each June, every school district in California is required to submit a three year Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) as part of the state's new school funding formula. New resources from the California Alliance, Arts for LA and Arts for All offer a look at trends in the ways that districts are investing in arts education and a closer look at a few strong examples from actual LCAPs and how advocacy played a role in these districts.
Arts for LA and LA County Arts Commission Arts for All have released findings from a research initiative analyzing all 81 school district LCAPs in LA County. The research provides baseline information on the number of districts that included the arts in their LCAPs, which state priority areas are linked to the arts, and the types of arts programs being funded at schools. The findings will also provide a broad sense of trends for how arts education strategies are being used by school districts.
How SF Arts Advocates Leveraged Support for Ballot Measure
Challenge: Persuade city officials to introduce and support a ballot initiative to fund arts education, libraries and sports.
Strategy: The San Francisco Alliance for Arts Education authored a white paper that decision-makers clear, sound arguments for amending a funding policy and putting it on the November 2014 ballot.
CREATE CA January 30 & 31
We’re kicking off 2015 with a statewide convening of CREATE California to ignite collective impact and expand arts and creativity in California schools. Join us in Oakland on January 30 & 31, 2015 for workshop sessions, policy briefings and conversations to open up new opportunities for collaboration. We will be joined by Governor Jerry Brown, Apple University’s Randy Nelson, as well as students from the Oakland School for the Arts and the San Francisco Student Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble.
In January, local school boards will begin drafting plans and making budget allocations for the coming years. This free one-hour webinar on Tuesday, December 9th at 12:00pm PT, will outline effective ways to be an agent for positive change in your school district. Find out what's in your district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), why it matters and how arts education can help students and schools succeed. Panelists will share their experience with how to:
· Seize opportunities to impact district planning
· Understand what’s in a district LCAP
· Work with a district superintendent
· Influence a local school board
The Challenge: How to increase access to arts education in a large district with limited opportunities for arts.
The Strategy: Bring solutions to your local school board.
The Story: The Santa Cruz County Alliance for Arts Education, launched in 2012, has an ambitious goal - to advocate for arts education for all students in every school community in Santa Cruz County. They began their work by focusing on the county’s largest district, which had very limited arts education offerings. The Santa Cruz Alliance knew that their best chance to make an impact within the district was to advocate for the inclusion of arts in that district’s new Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP).
“We did so by building relationships with school board members, coordinating presenting materials at school board meetings and town hall planning sessions, defining a clear and appropriate ask, and following up and celebrating the progress made,” says Sarah Brothers, the Arts Education Manager for the Arts Council Santa Cruz County and leader for the Santa Cruz County Alliance for Arts Education (SCCAAE).
With the passage of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), local school boards have been given authority to set the priorities and funding allocations for their districts, which makes building relationships with your local school board members more important that ever.
Now that the elections are over, a great way to start a relationship with the winning candidate is to write her or him a congratulations letter. It doesn’t matter who you voted for, now is the time to reach out and start building bridges to ensure supporting arts education is a part of their plans. A congratulations letter is a good way to let your voice be heard while starting off on a positive note.
The Challenge: How do you set goals for a countywide advocacy effort with multiple partners and stakeholders?
The Strategy: Start with a countywide assessment to determine what arts education assets the county has and what is needs.
The Story: In December 2013 Arts Council Napa Valley, along with the Napa County Office of Education and the California Alliance for Arts Education, convened with more than 50 Napa County educators, arts organizations, nonprofits, and community leaders at an early morning breakfast to garner support for arts education in Napa County schools, launching the Napa County Alliance for Arts Education (NCAAE). There was clear support within the group to work together to increase access to arts education in the county. The question was how. In a county with five school districts and 51 schools with a variety of needs, stakeholders and delivery systems, there was not a simple or obvious goal for their shared work.
The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), passed last year, offers a historic opportunity for school districts to set new, locally driven goals aimed at improving outcomes for students who are often underserved in public schools.
Responding to this shift, the Alliance created a toolkit of materials, which connect documented impacts of arts education to the law’s eight new priorities. Working with our Policy Council, Local Advocacy Network and through partnerships with the California State PTA, Arts for All, Arts for LA, California School Boards Association, Nick Rail Music, Families in Schools and Ed Trust-West, we were able to engage hundreds of community members who:
- Made school board presentations in 30 school districts
- Served on district advisory committees
- Provided written feedback or public comment on their district’s draft LCAP plan
We are now in the process of gathering district Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) from the advocates and districts we worked with this year. We will share them on LCAP Watch, a site that aims to gather LCAPs from all of California’s schools districts to create public transparency in school district plans and budgets.
The California Alliance for Arts Education is proud to partner with Education Trust-West on LCAP Watch, an effort aimed at creating public transparency into school district plans and budgets. It will gather completed LCAPs in a central location online to facilitate analysis, monitoring and accountability around these plans.
According to Education Trust-West,
“When Governor Jerry Brown dramatically reformed school funding in 2013, he also required that school districts engage in an open, transparent, and public budgeting and planning process. A central component of this is the Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP. The LCAP is the district’s 3-year plan for how it will use state funding to serve all students, including low-income students, English learners, and foster youth.
In the LCAP, the district presents its goals, actions, and expenditures. The district must describe what needs each goal addresses and the metrics being used to measure progress. After 2014-15, districts will report how the actions presented in the LCAP have improved outcomes for students.”
LCAP Watch is managed by the Education Trust–West and represents a coalition of partner organizations, including the Alliance who share our commitment to transparency. Many of these partners have also helped make the content possible.
The State Legislative Budget Conference Committee will meet tomorrow to discuss the increase in state arts funding that was recommended by the Assembly earlier this month. This is first chance in over a decade to restore funding for the arts in our state! Please send a letter by end of day today.
Visit the Californians for the Arts website for a template and more information. Personalised letter are the most effective. Below are two sample letters sent my the California Alliance for Arts Education.