A Message from the Superintendent – Fall 2013

Changes Coming in 2013-14

Dear Parents, Students, and Educators,

We are once again standing on the threshold of a new school year. The educational landscape is changing quickly with new funding formulas for schools, new Common Core Standards across the United States, and new assessments for students. As well, our office is transitioning all the districts to a new and improved financial system.

Many changes are afoot. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will eliminate 40 to 50 categorical programs and redistribute those funds among districts with a base allotment of $6,816 per student to all districts. Concentration grants of an additional 35% will go to districts with 50% or more English Language Learners, and/or low income and/or foster youth students. Monies will be available for programs like class size reduction in grades 1-3 and to provide Career Technical Education in high schools. There will be more flexibility with many of the spending decisions made at the local level.

The new Common Core Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts have been formulated to ‘provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.’ The standards are to be used across the United Sates and are designed to be relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. Having the same high quality standards from state to state will allow for collaboration in development of textbooks, digital media and teaching materials. One common comprehensive assessment system will be put in place to measure student performance annually that will replace existing state testing systems.

Our new financial system will save districts money in the long run. The new program is more efficient, offers more flexibility, will simplify our record keeping and will provide more clarity for all districts’ financial transactions.

There is more excitement in the air for this school year as districts look forward to improved financial positions.

Michael C. Watkins
County Superintendent of Schools
Santa Cruz County Office of Education