All parents, students, and community members have a voice in the way their schools spend money. This toolkit explains how school districts spend money and how you can advocate for the resources, personnel, programs, and services that are best for you and your community.
The toolkit focuses on advocacy through a system called the Local Control Funding Formula (“LCFF”), which is how school districts are funded in California and the way they decide how to spend their money. LCFF creates rules that districts must follow when spending certain funds. For example, special funds called “supplemental and concentration funds” must be used to increase or improve services for students who are low-income, foster youth, or English learners (“high-need students”). Such funds should not be spent on law enforcement or other school hardening measures.
LCFF is important because it is designed to help high-need students succeed, increase decision-making power for families, and create schools where students with greater needs have more money for more and better resources. When it is working correctly, LCFF allows community members to (1) learn how and why their school districts are spending their money, (2) give feedback on how the money is spent, and (3) force the district to spend the money the right way if it is doing something wrong. This toolkit will show you how to develop a LCFF campaign to win the resources you need for your school and our students.
You can find the documents referenced in the toolkit below.
LCFF Campaign Resources
- If you identify a problem with your district's LCAP, you can write a letter pointing out the problem and demanding a change. Download a fill-in letter template. See also examples of advocacy letters:
- If the district does not respond to your letter, you can file a Uniform Complaint Process Complaint. Donwload a UCP complaint form that you can fill out. You can also review samples of UCP complaints, appeals, and decisions. If you file a complaint, please let us know so we can track the complaints on this issue.
- If you need more information about how your district is spending its money, you can file a Public Record Act (PRA) request. Resources on PRA requests:
- If you are preparing to speak to your school board at a public hearing, learn more about public meeting requirements (En español). You may also find our sample board comments helpful.
- For a full list of samples to build your own LCAP campaign, including letters, complaints, press releases, social media posts, op-eds, and board comments, click here.
- For a list of additional resources, see below:
- Our Right to Resources: School Districts are Cheating High-Need Students by Funding Law Enforcement — A report by ACLU, Public Advocates, and Gente Organizada
- Transformative Justice Handout – Youth Justice Coalition
- A Parent's Guide to School Funding – Families in Schools
- Parent Engagement Toolkit – United Way Los Angeles & CLASS Coalition
- #WeMakeLCFFWork LCFF resources – Public Advocates
- Education justice tool to uncover resource gaps and inequalities – ACLU of California
- MySchoolMyRights: Know Your Rights resources for students – ACLU of California