LONG BEACH – Parents and community groups have reached an agreement with the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) to provide improved services for low-income students, English language learners, and foster youth.
The settlement agreement resolves administrative complaints filed in 2017 against LBUSD and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) by Public Advocates, Inc. and pro bono counsel Morgan, Lewis & Bockius on behalf of complainants Marina Román Sanchez, Guadalupe Luna, Children’s Defense Fund-California, and Latinos In Action. The complaints have been pending on appeal before the California Department of Education.
The complaint against LBUSD challenged the district’s spending plan under California’s Local Control Funding Formula law (LCFF) in its Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCFF was adopted by the state in 2013 to support greater local control, meaningful community engagement and more equitable spending for all students, especially those who are low-income, English language learners, and foster youth.
The parties disagreed over whether LBUSD’s plan complied with LCFF’s standards for equitably serving the school district’s high-need students. Recognizing common ground and a commitment to creating better outcomes for the school district’s highest-need students, the parties have announced an agreement that will provide improved services benefitting low-income students, English language learners, and foster youth and foster greater community engagement.
Over the next three years, the settlement provides additional funding for enhanced mental health and social emotional services as well as extended tutoring in math and English Language Arts to thirty of the District’s highest need schools. In addition, the agreement supports improved community engagement in LCAP development and monitoring, including Fall and Spring community forums co-hosted with complainants to engage the community in the review of LCAP data and impact planning, as well as improved sharing of information about the LCAP. The settlement represents a coming together of all the parties to achieve a common goal of helping the school district’s highest-need students to close achievement gaps as they prepare for college and career.
“I’m inspired by the parents and groups who have helped us arrive at this agreement and I hope even more parents and students get involved with decision-making at schools. I hope this motivates parents and students to advocate for the services they need in their specific schools,” said parent and complainant Guadalupe Luna.
“This is not the end, it is the beginning for all of our families who need help in receiving appropriate services. We look forward to continuing to work with the district to address the needs of our students,” said parent and complainant Marina Román Sanchez.
For details on the agreement, see Exhibit 1 below. Click here to view the full settlement.
The parties are pleased to announce three key elements during the next three school years.
1. Mental Health and Social Emotional Support Services.
- Beach, Reid, Jordan, Renaissance, and Cabrillo high schools will maintain a 250:1 ratio of student to counselor personnel, thus helping those students to receive the mental and social support to help them to succeed in school and in preparation for higher learning.
- The parties have identified an additional 25 high-need schools, based on their concentration of students who are low-income, English language learners, and foster youth, to receive greater access to counseling services.
- Specifically, the school district will maintain regional family resource centers, which will provide mental support services and sufficient staffing to meet student need. These centers will serve King Elementary, Bobbie Smith Elementary, Edison Elementary, Addams Elementary, Robinson Academy, Garfield Elementary, Willard Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Dooley Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Powell Academy for Success, Jenny Oropeza Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Whittier Elementary, Barton Elementary, Washington Middle, Franklin Classical Middle, Lindberg STEM Academy, Stephens Middle, Lindsey Academy, Hamilton Middle, Jefferson Leadership Academies, Jessie Nelson Academy, Hoover Middle, and Educational Partnership High School. These centers will provide services both at the center and at the schools, during school and non-school hours, depending on the needs of the student.
- The school district will also implement a high school readiness pilot program at Washington, Franklin, and Hamilton Middle schools to provide counseling, mentorship, and support for these students.
- The school district will establish or maintain extended-hours, in-school tutoring to help students with math and English language arts at the foregoing schools.
3. Community Engagement.
- LBUSD will enhance the LCAP page on its website to include a full calendar of all LCAP-related meetings, along with existing links to the LCAP and other important documents to allow greater access for members of the public to the LCAP process.
- Each year, by April 15 the school district will post a draft of its proposed LCAP and by May 15 the school district will present a public proposal of its draft LCAP, which will include a report on the impact of community input.
- The school district will be pleased to co-host with Children’s Defense Fund-California and/or Latinos In Action a Fall and Spring forum to create space for community dialogue on the progress and plans for the LCAP.