Adventures in Ed Funding

Why the LCFF? California's Landmark Move to an Equity-Based School Funding Formula

March 05, 2020 California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) Season 1 Episode 6
Adventures in Ed Funding
Why the LCFF? California's Landmark Move to an Equity-Based School Funding Formula
Show Notes

Why is California's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) so significant? In this episode, we continue our journey through major milestones in school funding history with our first stop to LCFF-land. Special Guest Saa’un Bell, Strategy Director at Californians for Justice, helps us explore why the state’s shift to an equity-based system beginning in 2013 was so historic.

The LCFF was a sweeping law, carrying with it a whole lot of hope and promise, especially for students and families who hadn’t always been heard or served well by the school system. It was a bold law that ironically has come to be known by its rather mundane four initials. 

There are many ways to tell the LCFF story: a research and policy side, a political side. There is the budgetary formula itself. But first and foremost, LCFF is the story of major change. Saa’un offers the perspective of both a statewide and local community leader who participated with a wide range of grassroots and community partners to help advocate for this change to a more equitable funding system on behalf of students and families.

Saa’un helps us tell the “why” story – as in, why LCFF? She describes the work her organization and other grassroots groups did leading up to the LCFF – and the transformational change the new law, championed by former Gov. Jerry Brown, brought forward. LCFF targets additional funds to districts to support students from low-income families, English learners, and foster and homeless youth. Saa'un also shares examples of where student engagement in decision-making as a result of the LCFF has led to positive outcomes, and she discusses what still needs to happen to realize the full potential of LCFF.  We also delve into some honest conversation about the connections between funding and race in California. 

Along the way we provide a brief explainer about LCFF's technical details and we explore one monumental thing that the LCFF did not do…cliffhanger…you’ll have to listen to find out.


About Saa'un Bell
As a former English Language Learner student from Long Beach USD and first-generation college graduate, Saa'un is committed to building a public education infrastructure where all students have the opportunities to fulfill their highest aspirations. Saa’un joined Californians for Justice in 2009, helping to organize community college students and youth of color in Oakland schools. In her current role as Strategy Director, she oversees all communications and narrative strategy for CFJ’s regional and statewide campaigns.


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