Tag Archives: local control funding formula

On tonight’s agenda: June 11, 2013

This evening is shaping up to be quite busy — we’ll  issue a final vote on the Superintendent’s proposed Local Hire policy and discuss the newly-introduced district budget, as well as the state budget deal announced earlier today.

Local hire has been in the works for many months, and last week the Board had an intense discussion on the final proposal at the monthly Committee of the Whole. The Superintendent and staff have incorporated a lot of Board feedback on how the policy should be structured and overseen, and the main components in the proposal the Board will vote on tonight (assuming there are no major amendments) are:

  • Primary responsibility for implementation of the local hire policy will reside with contractors bidding on any Proposition A 2011 Bond projects with a contract value of $1 million or more;
  • Contractors must agree to hire at least 25 percent local residents in each of the seven major construction and building trades (plumbers, iron workers, carpenters, laborers, electricians, painters and carpeting/soft-floor layers) when bidding on 2011  bond projects — if, after verification, they have not satisfied this requirement they will be subject to a number of suggested sanctions or remedies for non-compliance;
  • Compliance with the district’s local hire policy will be reviewed biannually by the Board’s Buildings and Grounds committee;
  • The above and other provisions of the district’s local hire policy will be implemented through a negotiated Project Labor Agreement for the 2011 Facility Bond program.

This has been a challenging proposal to work on, since school bond construction projects are complex and governed by a whole set of arcane laws, rules and labor agreements. In addition, our bond program is truly a jewel in the SFUSD crown — it’s pretty much unheard of for a school building program to be issued an audit with no findings whatsoever, and it shows how well-managed and efficient our $1 billion bond program has been over the years. Some, including our citizen’s bond oversight committee, fear that a local hire policy will raise our costs and decrease efficient management of the program, but it’s also true that the economic benefits of millions of dollars in financing provided by local taxpayers should find their way back into the local economy. In the end, no one completely knows what the effects of a fully-implemented local hire policy at the City or the school district will be, and the job of the Board in future years will be to make sure we don’t do anything to diminish the excellence of our bond program.

On to the 2013-14 budget: School districts are required to submit a balanced budget to the state by June 30 or face consequences, and tonight the Superintendent will introduce his proposal for first reading and discussion by the Board. The document is a work-in-progress, but I am very pleased with the work the staff has done to make the budget document a little more user friendly. The first 36 pages of Volume 1 are a great overview of how the district spends money, where revenues come from, and generally how the school district is organized — the rest of the book breaks out various Central Office department budgets.  (Volume 2 contains school site and early education department budgets).  We’ll conduct a hearing on the district’s plans for “flexible” Tier III categorical funds (read the overview section referenced above for a full explanation of what that means) and also hear about the budget deal just reached today between the Governor and the Legislature on the Local Control Funding Formula. In a nutshell, the deal gives districts a higher base grant but reduces some of the supplemental grants the governor had initially proposed. The controversial “concentration grant,” for districts with high concentrations of low-income students, will remain, but the threshold for qualifying for a concentration grant will rise.   I’m not clear exactly on how the deal will shake out for SFUSD, but we’ll hear a staff presentation tonight.  In conjunction with our budget discussion, I have introduced a resolution asking the Board and the district to formally support the Local Control Funding Formula proposal, so we’ll also vote on that.

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Updates on odds and ends

Updates are due on a number of issues, including:

  • Progress on the Board’s evaluation of our new Superintendent;
  • News on the Governor’s weighted student formula proposal (now called the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCCF); and
  • A proposed local hiring policy that was discussed by the Board’s Buildings and Grounds committee this evening.

Superintendent’s Evaluation:  Since hiring Richard Carranza as our Superintendent, we (the Board and Mr. Carranza) have been working on the Superintendent’s evaluation tool. Evaluating the Superintendent is probably the most important thing a school board does, and since I took my seat in 2008 we have worked on various ways of evaluating the Superintendent — struggling to find an evaluation tool that acknowledges the difficulty of the job, represents both consensus and outlier views on the Superintendent’s performance and conveys the Board’s uniformly high expectations for the  management of the district. Board members have always provided confidential written evaluations of the Superintendent, and we will continue to do this. This year, however, and going forward during Superintendent Carranza’s tenure, the Board and Superintendent have established quantitative performance measurements that we will use to hold the leadership team accountable for progress on key priorities and incorporate into the Board’s overall evaluation of the Superintendent.  This is an important step forward in our commitment to transparency and the district’s stated goal to keep our promises to students and families. 

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF): There have been many news stories in recent weeks about this proposal, and Sacramento insiders say the likelihood of its passing in its proposed form is unlikely. It’s true that the LCFF proposal — if it is fully-implemented — represents a big increase (almost $4,000 per student) in funding for SFUSD and other districts with large numbers of high-poverty, English Learner students. But in a briefing by our Capitol legislative advocates last week, members of the Board’s Rules, Policy and Legislation committee were told that the Governor’s figures represent a best-case scenario that isn’t coming true anytime soon. Though I am in favor of overhauling California’s school funding mechanisms, and believe in the weighted student formula approach, I’m not holding my breath.  To learn more, here are some good online resources:

Proposed local hiring policy: Last but not least, the Buildings and Grounds Committee had a substantive discussion of a proposal (PDF; as originally introduced, without amendments incorporated) by Commissioners Yee and Fewer (Commissioner Haney has also signed on as a co-author) that would direct the Superintendent to put forward a local hiring policy for Board approval. This has been somewhat controversial — partly because it requires a narrow, carefully crafted approach to construction contracting that does not run afoul of state and Federal laws, and partly because it is a hot button issue that inevitably raises issues of race and economic power. The City passed its own local hiring policy back in 2010, which will eventually mandate that 50 percent of jobs on City contracts go to local residents. The Yee/Fewer/ Haney resolution, as amended by the Committee this evening, would require that the district’s policy provide additional opportunity to minority- and women-owned businesses, strengthen the district’s internship programs for students interested in a career in the building trades, as well as many other objectives. There are specific policy prescriptions in the resolution that we have been advised are not possible within the current legal framework, so there is still a lot of work to be done to fulfill the spirit of the resolution while maintaining a bond construction program that is legally compliant and produces high-quality projects, on-time and under-budget. 

Tomorrow night: the Board votes on the Superintendent’s request to issue layoff notices to 114 administrators, classified staff and certificated educators.