The LCAP’s final section captures actions, services, and expenditures. Collectively, this information provides a sense of “how” goals and outcomes will be met. It also importantly asks for details about how the needs of all students will be met, plus details about specific subgroups of students who need additional services. The advice for the previous sections of the LCAP apply here as well –make the story something people can and want to read.
Tips for Actions, Services, and Expenditures
- Advertise, Do Not Rationalize. The LCAP’s purpose should be to advertise what the LEA does to support students to achieve outcomes. In this regard, the LCAP is not a plan for performance and not a document to support compliance. Some prior experience with LEA planning has encouraged a “dare you to find it” attitude where unnecessary details are included. The LCAP should be true to the story of what the LEA does to support students to achieve outcomes. It should avoid lengthy explanations, which usually signal a shift to rationalization rather than explanation.
- Avoid Jargon. Education is full of specialized terms and references that are often unnecessary and get in the way of making plans accessible. The LCAP is of local importance for a local audience. Use language that parents, students, and community members will find accessible.
- Describe Services That Focus on Students. The LCAP asks the LEA to describe actions and services that address goals. The request for a description of services is different than what is required in other plans. Notably, the LCAP focuses the description on services, which can include a grouping or aggregation of activities and expenses that support students. In this regard, the LCAP is not asking for a listing of things or expenses, but services that address goals.
- Relevant Expenditures Relate to Services. The LCAP must numerically list and describe all expenditures implementing the specific actions being taken to achieve its goals. The state priorities broadly cover what an LEA does to support its students and achieve outcomes; therefore, almost all LEA expenditures will likely be listed and described as a consequence of being tied to the actions that support LEA goals around the state priorities. Also, considering that an important objective of the LCFF is to support increased budget transparency, LEAs should carefully consider how to reflect the services and related expenses for their basic instructional program in relationship to the state priorities. Some types of LCFF expenditures may not apply to the state priorities (e.g., debt service, general administration, post-employment benefits); these expenditures do not need to be included in the LCAP.
- Trust Transparency. The LCAP is an opportunity to share, promote, and engage stakeholders in a new kind of dialogue around the way in which resources affect student performance. The LCAP should be a document that shows the LEA’s character and content. Transparency can build enthusiasm and support; therefore, LCAPs should be clear about what matters and demonstrate good choices made by LEAs on behalf of students.
LEAs may find the following tips and resources useful as they develop their LCAPs. The information does not represent requirements or directions endorsed by the California Department of Education (CDE) or California State Board of Education (SBE). The provided information reflect emerging practices that can be considered, but are not intended to be interpreted as providing instructions or guidance from CDE or SBE.