Berkeley School Board primer: Complaint policy revision, budget update, LCAP and more

The Berkeley School Board meets tonight. Photo: Natalie Orenstein

The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets today, Wednesday, May 31. On the agenda: a first reading of the newly-revised district complaint policy; the draft Local Control Accountability Plan; a review of the latest updates to the proposed state budget — and how it could affect Berkeley schools; and more. Read the full agenda.

Here are some of the highlights.

COMPLAINT POLICY REVISION The School Board will get its first look at a revision of the district’s complaint policy. The current policy — dictating how problems are reported, how long the district has to respond, and how decisions can be appealed — has long been a target of criticism, most vocally from those who say the district fails to support students who report sexual harassment. For the past several months, the board’s policy subcommittee and new Title IX coordinator Dana Clark have reviewed and revised the policy. The staff report says, “So far, we have not found another district with as complicated a complaint process as BUSD’s.” The proposed change would streamline the multiple existing processes and change the appeals process. If the new policy is approved, there will be “substantial work” required to address other parts of the complaint reporting structure before it goes into effect, the report says. See item 13.2 for details.

LCAP DRAFT The School Board will review and provide feedback on the draft Local Control Accountability Plan. The governor’s latest proposed budget would provide around $5.2 million in supplemental Local Control Funding Formula dollars for BUSD, based on its high-needs student population. Since the LCFF was implemented in 2013-14, districts have been required to draw up LCAPs — plans laying out goals for improving student achievement, particularly among vulnerable student groups, and allocating funds to meet those goals. This year, schools must use the new California School Dashboard to determine which student groups need the most attention. BUSD’s proposed LCAP includes several new programs and services, including new support for African American students, a program helping classified staff become certified teachers and math support classes. See item 13.1 for details and search for data from BUSD and individual schools on the new online “dashboard.”


BUSD BUDGET Governor Jerry Brown’s May Revision of the 2017-18 state budget suggests the near-future of funding could be somewhat brighter than previously expected for public schools. Compared to the January proposal, the May budget proposal increases the funds coming to school districts from various pots, including increases in the minimum funds required by Proposition 98 and increases in Local Control Funding Formula dollars and categorical funds for programs supporting special education and foster youth — though not all funds will be available this coming school year, according to the staff report. District staff will provide information to School Board members on the May Revision and what it could mean for Berkeley schools. Earlier this year, the district projected a $1.2 million structural deficit in 2018-19. Staff have already begun planning ahead for potential budget cuts that year. The 2017-18 BUSD budget will be finalized in June. See item 14.1 for details.

Meeting details

The Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education generally meets twice monthly on Wednesdays at 2020 Bonar St. The entrance to the board chambers is around the corner on Addison Street. There is a large parking lot around the corner from Addison Street, on Browning Street.

The regular meeting is set to begin by 7:30 p.m. Public comment is limited to 30 minutes, with a 3-minute limit per speaker. Public comment takes place at the beginning and end of the meeting, rather than in response to each item.

Meetings are televised live on Berkeley Community Media channel 33, and rebroadcast the following Thursday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Meetings are also recorded for radio and played after the meeting on KPFB 89.3 FM. They are also streamed live, and posted online after the meeting. Other BUSD-related videos are posted on Youtube.

Read more Berkeleyside coverage related to Berkeley schools

Ed. note: This article has been update to correct an error regarding the amount of supplemental funding BUSD is projected to receive.