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Black, Latino students rally in support of local control funding formula

Sacramento, CA--Several Black and Latino student, parents, and educators held a rally in Sacramento in front of the California Department of Education to offer support for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) July 12. The students are working with Californians for Justice, a statewide organization that organized communities in Oakland for racial justice in 1996. Californians for Justice now focuses on organizing communities and young people to reform local schools and public education.

The students at the rally represented 17 organizations and came from 30 cities.

Passed in 2013, the LCFF law gives school districts more control on which programs they spend their money on. According to a KPCC article, schools get assigned funds based on their most neediest students.

However, the LCFF has come under attack in recent years. According to the Atlantic, some critics have complained the new funding formula is difficult to understand. The Atlantic also stated that 571 parents told a California Department of Education survey that school spending plans have grown too complex.

"The State Legislature enacted LCFF four years ago. While it was a watershed change in the financing structure of California's education system, many districts have yet to establish Local Accountability Plans. The problems associated with depriving our kids with a quality education are far too great to not look at immediate solutions and action. I share the concerns with many educators that believe LCFF was never perfect from the onset. We’ve learned enough four years later to guide us in making it better," said Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), Chair of the Legislative Latino Caucus.

Saa'un Bell, statewide communications director for Californians for Justice, said the students were showing their support for the law because some parents and children are concerned over its future. Bell said that with Gov. Jerry Brown coming to the end of his term, the new governor might not support LCFF.

"Right now there is a lot of negative press in the mainstream media about the LFCC," said Bell.

Students and parents held the press conference to send a clear message to California's political leaders and the future governor, and this is the LCFF is working, she said.

"Change doesn't happen overnight, especially in a system that has been broken for over 40 years. We need to continue to build on those bright spots," said Bell.

Bell said the LFCC had shown some concrete improvements such as reducing the suspension rate of Black and brown male students.

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