Suit claims LA Unified underfunding low-income kids, English learners

John Fensterwald
July 1, 2015

Public Advocates Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to stop the approval of the Los Angeles County Office of Education Local Control and Accountability Plan. They argue that L.A. Unified is double-dipping by counting some expenditures for programs in special education services as also fulfilling new spending requirements under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a 2013 state policy intended to provide more resources for “high-needs” students: English learners, low-income children, and foster youth. L.A. Unified’s funding for these children increased by a third.

The lawsuit is asking the district to redo its calculations for determining programs and services for them. The lawsuit contends that there is a distinction between funding dedicated for high-needs students and funding for all students. John Affeldt, managing attorney for Public Advocates, said that L.A. Unified’s behavior could prompt other districts to use LCFF to fund special education costs, which was not the intent of the Legislature or state board.

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Organizations mentioned/involved: Public Advocates Inc.