To a nearly empty room in Hemet Monday night, Hemet Unified School District Supt. Dr. Barry Kayrell and Deputy Supt. LaFaye Platter discussed and explained the Local Control Funding Formula and the Local Control Accountability Plan.

This was just one of several meetings throughout the district to involve parents, residents and other stakeholder groups in developing the plan for how HUSD will use its state funding.

Both are the result of last June’s Assembly Bill 97, resulting in another $6 to $7 million annually to HUSD.

While every school district will receive a base allocation, additional funds will be granted based on the number of low-income students, English learners and foster youth in the district. More funds are available if any of these categories exceed 55 percent. HUSD’s low-income enrollment approaches 80 percent.

Kayrell stressed that the shift from more than 40 categorical grants allows local districts much more control over spending priorities.

“This is the first time in 40 years local school boards have direct control over creating a funding plan to spend money based on their needs,” he stated.

The intent is to ensure that HUSD’s budget aligns with the needs and priorities identified in the plan, which is to have substantial public involvement in its approval.

Kayrell indicated that a draft of the plan would be available next month and intends for the HUSD board to approve its three-year plan by July 1.

State funding this year is essentially based on the average daily attendance for the whole district and HUSD receives about $5,400 per student, regardless of grade. In the future, the new funding formula will provide K-3 funding of about $6,800 and increasing to $8,300 per student in grades 9 through 12.

Additional money will be available to enable the reduction of the K-3 class size from the current ratio of about 30 students per teacher to 24 students per teacher.

Over time, Kayrell and Platter stressed that information technology and the Internet will play larger and more important roles in teaching, student learning and testing. For example, testing will evolve from multiple-choice answers to requiring students to write essays explaining their reasoning for choosing a solution to a problem.

Teachers will have greater access to materials online. Kayrell envisions a future where teachers will accept homework and tests online, and grade and return them online.

Access to hand-held smart devices will be an important priority going forward, according to Kayrell. ”We’re studying this and analyzing the cost and community need,” he said. Word-processing software will assume greater importance, too, he added.

With additional funding he hopes to hire 20 to 40 new teachers for next year. That may mean adding portable classrooms, but Kayrell wants to ensure teachers have the appropriate credentials. Recent cutbacks have limited HUSD opportunities to pursue some programs.

Other components of the plan will enable the district to increase its intervention program for at-risk students and “to track and retain the best teachers,” Kayrell said.

The eight priorities of a Local Control Accountability Plan

  • Student achievement
  • Student engagement
  • Other student outcomes
  • School climate
  • Credentials and materials
  • Parent involvement
  • Course access
  • Implementation of common core standards

Hemet added a ninth priority

  • Staff development