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California School Board Members Express Support for Local Control

Survey conducted as part of 2018 Getting Down to Facts II project examines board member perspectives on standards, instruction, finance, accountability and community engagement


SACRAMENTO, Calif., (October 15, 2018) – California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is improving services for disadvantaged students, increasing community engagement, producing higher levels of investment in social and emotional learning, and increasing the resources and training needed to implement academic standards. That was the consensus of school board members in a recent survey from the California School Boards Association, which was conducted as part of the Getting Down to Facts II research project.

The survey polled school trustees for their impressions of California’s current education policies, school finance challenges, and pressing issues like the teacher shortage crisis. It is the largest study of board member views on these topics and features respondents from every type of school district and county office of education in the state. A brief on the survey, School Board Members Get Down to Facts: Results of a CSBA Survey of Trustees on Key Education Topics, includes the following findings:

  • 78 percent of board members indicated the teacher shortage was a serious problem, and noted that special education, mathematics, science and bilingual education positions were the hardest to fill. Board members identified salary increases, improved working conditions and the development of alternative pathways into the profession as the most promising strategies for addressing the teacher shortage.
  • 88 percent of respondents reported that rising pension costs are affecting their budgets and interfering with their ability to provide necessary programs for students.
  • 94 percent of those surveyed said their school districts or county offices rely to some extent on grants, partnerships, donations and other funding sources outside of state and federal revenues in order to serve students.
  • Nine in 10 board members said their organizations have invested in professional learning related to implementation of the state’s grade-level standards. Board members overwhelmingly reported that they have also provided new technology for implementation of the Common Core State Standards and professional development related to instructional materials that teachers use.
  • Board members believe that social and emotional learning is associated with positive health, societal and economic outcomes. Seventy-three percent of respondents said their organizations set clear goals for development of students’ SEL skills and 72 percent provided professional learning to teachers to support students’ development of SEL skills.
  • 74 percent of board members agreed or strongly agreed that LCFF had enabled their school district or county office of education to improve services and programs for low-income, English learner, foster and homeless students.

“The survey shows that school board members are energized by the flexibility LCFF offers to develop priorities and align policy and services in a way that meets the needs of their students, schools and communities,” said California School Boards Association CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “It also confirms that school districts and county offices of education need significant additional funding and support to faithfully implement standards, provide the resources needed to close opportunity and achievement gaps and prepare all students for college, career and civic life.”

Read the brief: School Board Members Get Down to Facts: Results of a CSBA Survey of Trustees on Key Education Topics.


CSBA is a nonprofit association representing nearly 1,000 PreK-12 school districts
and county offices of education throughout California.