Spring is budget season for San Francisco schools 

On Saturday, hundreds of parents, school staffers, and even some middle and high school students will converge for a time-honored San Francisco Unified School District spring ritual: Working together to shape school site plans and budgets.

But wait! It’s more exciting than it sounds. I’ve taken part in these gatherings for years, and you would be amazed at how much fun it is to see so many people committed to providing the best possible educational experiences for San Francisco’s children all in one place sharing ideas and learning from each other.

And it is so important that we bring diverse perspectives to the table to reflect on each school’s progress and what will be best for its future.

While the practice of gathering input from many community members in creating school site plans and budgets isn’t new, a lot will be different this year.

With the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the accountability that comes along with it, called the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), San Francisco’s public schools will have a little more money to spend and a new way of measuring the impact of our investments.

With the LCFF, districts are required to adopt LCAPs — plans that show how school districts will spend the funds received from the state, especially those supplemental funds allocated for their highest-need students. And a big part of creating these plans is gathering community input.

The SFUSD is committed to gathering input on how money is spent. Community meetings, surveys, Board of Education meetings — we have several feedback channels already in place and, with the new LCAP, we are taking the opportunity to strengthen these feedback channels.

This is an exciting time for all of us in public education. With the Common Core State Standards and new assessments, as well as more balanced and equity-focused resource-allocation methods and accountability systems, we have unprecedented opportunities to achieve our vision for student success.

I encourage everyone in our community to get to know our district goals and priorities as well as our state and federal accountability measures. I also encourage everyone, especially teachers, students and parents, to share their input about what is most needed for our students to thrive. For more information about the SFUSD budget and opportunities to get involved, go to www.sfusd.edu.

Richard A. Carranza is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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