Budgeting for Success
By Assistant Superintendent Business and Administrative Services, Mark Evans
One of the benefits of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) is the collaborative nature required between the curricular side of the school district and the budget side. Good budgeting has always been built from the objectives of the instructional programs, however, the LCAP strengthens this relationship. Communication between Educational Services and Business Services creates goals which reflect priorities, both educationally and financially.
Challenge Success is a primary example of this correlation between priorities and values expressed by constituents in developing the LCAP and the application of resources to assure those priorities are addressed. After venturing into Stanford’s Challenge Success dialogue last year, data from research as well as local surveys presented convincing arguments for dedicating time and resources toward a culture of wellness and social and emotional health. Through the availability of one-time dollars in the state budget, the District has been able to sustain engagement with Stanford and the Challenge Success program. Additionally, these revenues are assisting with professional development at all of our school sites. The goal is to provide teachers with strategies they can share with students in order to avoid negative stress and balance time and priorities. Personnel are dedicated to making these changes, and time is allotted for their work in developing a culture of wellness and awareness.
Challenge Success representatives shared a statement from a student in one of their interviews, “We are just doing school.” That stuck with me. If learning is simply temporal until a test score is achieved, it is really not a good use of resources. We need to invest our energies and our resources into developing a culture where learning is long-term and where wellness creates a culture that sustains the learning. Using our time and resources so the learning lasts longer than the final exam is a good investment.
The goals of the LCAP developed by LCUSD constituents make wellness a priority for our students and their needs to succeed in a healthy, meaningful way. The community - students, families, teachers, and other staff - must question what success is, must challenge the traditional definition. Purchasing a product is not the solution to this goal, and the LCAP calls on continued education for families, staff, and students to bring about this change. These are dollars well spent on the priorities established to better educate our students in all areas.