New Study Examines Implementation of Local Control Funding Formula in San Diego Unified School District

Analysis by UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools finds important results for low-income students of color and English language learners.

The UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools has published a new case study examining the implementation of California’s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in the San Diego Unified School District and how districts are addressing equity. The study is one of a series of six research projects examining school districts across California.

The study draws on the perspective of students, teachers, principals, school board members and school district staff to better understand how the school district has used the LCFF process to revise its priorities and practices to further learning for all students. 

Joseph Bishop, director of the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools, authored a new report on LCFF. Photo by Todd Cheney, UCLA

The study examines steps taken by the district to further equity such as a focus on de-tracking, collaboration and technical changes that address patterns of inequality, and making access to rigorous college preparatory coursework for low- income students of color and English Language Learners a top priority. 

The study also highlights improved outcomes for students, including gains in A-G college readiness rates for American Indian, Latinx and African American students, Advancement Placement participation, reclassification rates for English Learners, fewer long-term English Learners and the number of students who are completing the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) state assessment.

“Other districts across California and throughout the country can learn from San Diego Unified’s roadmap for addressing historical inequities that have placed too many low-income students of color in low-level courses. They’ve also embraced the spirit of the Local Control Funding Formula, directing resources and focusing efforts on students who need more support to succeed academically, social and emotionally,” says Joseph Bishop, lead author of the report and director of the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools.  San Diego Unified faces ongoing challenges, but the results of this study highlights positive changes for students in the district.  

The case study, “Giving Learning and Graduation New Meaning, One Student at a Time” and a video case study and related materials are available at this link.