Restrictions were lifted on some forms of state school aid, dubbed “categoricals,” thus giving local school districts more flexibility in spending, and they also were given extra money specifically to help underachieving children catch up.
It allowed school districts to loosely interpret whether the additional state aid met its intended purposes, and absolved Brown of any political accountability for outcomes.
In the absence of state oversight and accountability, civil rights and education reform groups, loosely gathered in an “equity coalition,” challenged the implementation of LCFF district-by-district, often via lawsuits, in attempts to ensure that the money was being used wisely.
Late last year, State Auditor Elaine Howle released a highly critical report on how school districts were spending LCFF funds, based on detailed examinations of three representative districts.
“Until the state ensures that districts spend all supplemental and concentration funds to benefit the intended student groups, and that they provide clear, accessible information regarding that spending … the intended student groups may not receive the services necessary to close the state’s persistent achievement gaps,” Howle told the Legislature.