The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Education Desk: June 25, 2014

Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP): Map For Action or Just More Paperwork?

Last year Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his plan to simplify public school funding (the Local Control Funding Formula, LCFF) and give districts more discretion in using their resources. But that discretion came with a requirement. By the end of the school year, districts had to deliver a detailed three-year plan on how they intended to meet state-set educational goals – the Local Control Accountability Plan, a document that runs about 50 to 100 pages.

The presentation of Santa Clara Unified’s LCAP at the June 12 board meeting, re-ignited teacher complaints about not having sufficient input to the plan, as well as a discussion of whether or not the document produced – at significant cost and effort – was useful or merely a formality to satisfy the state education department.

Suzanne Speck of School Services of California, the consultants who advised in the preparation of the plan, wrote that she was “confident” that the district was “well-positioned for success.”

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Wilcox teacher Paul Larson disputed that, saying that the objectives like “establish infrastructure for all teachers to successfully implement Common Core” were vague and didn’t address “the number one request of parents and teachers: smaller class sizes.”

He suggested that the district commit to measurable service levels such as student-teacher ratios, and more specificity about budget allocations “so that everyone can clearly see where the money’s going… As someone who has served as a government bureaucrat, I would categorically reject this out of hand because there are no numbers in it.”

SCUSD’s LCAP seems more “vague” about its measure of success in meeting state goals than at least two other Bay Area school districts, Sunnyvale and Oakland, which assign more precise measures to their goals. In addition, Oakland’s LCAP spells out precisely what actions – such as adding specific numbers of teachers – it plans to take to meet each goal.

“I’m frustrated with this report,” said Patty Picard, special education para-educator. “I’ve been in all the meetings…and I can’t see that anything from our last meeting was included. It’s not reflective of the community meeting…I know that’s all you had to do…but that’s not what our history is. Not to do the least we can do, but to do the best we can do.”

“I don’t think that we have met the standard of meaningful [stakeholder] engagement,” contributed Trustee Christopher Stampolis. “Not one person has come forward to speak in favor of this document…multiple people are coming forward saying that they have no input… I am going to make a motion to direct staff to compare what was input to them…so we can compare what was requested with what was in the report.”

“The public hearing and comment window is still open until today, so we haven’t revised this document,” said Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services Tanya Fisher. “The first part of this document just addresses the needs assessment.” Ultimately, added Assistant Superintendent Business Services Mark Allgire, “School sites will be detailing this [plans and costs] in their site plans.”

Since the agenda item was a public hearing on the draft document, no board action was taken. Approval of the final report is on the board’s agenda for its June 26 meeting.

The LCAP document is available at www.santaclarausd.org/overview.cfm?subpage=1828075. Sunnyvale’s LCAP can be found at tinyurl.com/sunnyvalelcap. Oakland’s can be found at http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us/domain/3262.

Trammell Crow Gets Go-Ahead from San Jose Council for Development Next to George Mayne School

On June 10 The San Jose City Council voted 5-4 to approve Trammell Crowe’s industrial development project across the street from George Mayne Elementary School. Council Members Donald Rocha, Madison Nguyen, Kansen Chu, Xavier Campos, and Ash Kalra cast the dissenting votes, with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed casting the decisive ‘yes’ vote.

But the vote was a close one. And SCUSD has, however, been successful in influencing Trammell Crowe’s design for the site. In addition the company has offered further mitigation measures, as well as $500,000 for school impact fees, and $978,000 to fund needed capital projects at the school.

So far, there is no word on whether SCUSD trustees have agreed to the proposal. It’s believed that some trustees favor taking the matter to court with a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit.

San Jose’s Planning Commission recommended approval of the project for economic and geographic reasons. The parcel, formerly owned by Cisco, is one of the few sites left with enough space to build a manufacturing plant – Trammell Crow’s plan is to lease the space for advanced technology manufacturing. Second, it will create 1,200 manufacturing jobs, requires no city subsidy, and will net San Jose $163 million in new tax revenue. The is consistent, said the planning commission, with the 1998 Alviso Master Plan.

However, despite these benefits, many question whether San Jose’s Council would approve an industrial development next to a school in an affluent neighborhood. This is a reasonable question, given San Jose’s history of neglect in Alviso, following the town’s merger with San Jose in 1968 in a referendum won by a mere nine votes. Virtually every

speaker at the June 10 meeting accused the San Jose Council of ignoring community concerns about the project because Alviso is one of the poorest areas in San Jose.

The issue spilled over into the SCUSD board meeting the following Thursday, with Mayne teacher Teresa Hernandez holding Superintendent Stanley Rose responsible for the San Jose Council’s action.

“I strongly feel that had Dr. Rose been more transparent with the board and had agendized [the issue]…perhaps we cold have had a board voice representing Alviso…[which is] like an orphan child with no voice facing the City of San Jose. If you had presented to the board and taken action with the seven months you had, I think we could have won that fight.”

This provoked an unusually heated response from the normally soft-spoken Rose.

“I wrote a letter in January, spent a few thousand dollars to have a consultant look at the EIR, wrote a letter to the San Jose City Council, wrote a letter to the Mercury editor that didn’t get published, met with Council Member Chu,” he said. “I’m pretty convinced that I wouldn’t have been able to change that vote from what it was. To say we did nothing is false… I’m not just going to roll over when people say things that aren’t true. I’d appreciate if we’d put the swords down, and quit stabbing each other…and stop blaming each other.”

Trustee Jim Canova, who in fact represents Alviso on the board, added to Rose’s statement. “I, as a board member was going to meet with as many San Jose City Council Members as possible before the vote. Stan came with me and he was fighting for the community. We were successful with Kansen, who did write a letter to postpone the vote.” Further, he said, “I wanted to give a personal thank you to Noelani Sallings for setting up the meetings with the City Council.”

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