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Governor Brown talks local education in Stanislaus
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Gov. Jerry Brown took a more literal approach to his latest state funding initiative, the Local Control Funding Formula which places more spending authority in the hands of local districts, by paying local public education officials a visit last week.


“The idea was to meet with the governor to talk about the Local Control Funding Formula, the Local Control Accountability Plan and the transition to Common Core,” said Turlock Unified School District superintendent Dr. Sonny DaMarto. “It was quite remarkable. I’ve met with a lot of governors but I’ve never met with one as long as we did with Governor Brown. We met for well over two hours.”


The LCAP is a component of the new LCFF which mandates the formation of a three year plan that declares districts’ strategies on how to address state priority areas for students and identifies specific actions districts will take to achieve those goals. The LCAP, which must be developed with a variety of stakeholders, furthers the governor’s mission of not only placing spending control in the hands of local districts but ensuring that each district’s direction is reflective of its community and its needs. 


“He really wants to ensure that dollars are going to align with LCAP plans,” said Tom Changnon, superintendent of schools in the Stanislaus County.


The meeting, which Changnon notes was “special” as it was the first time the governor has made his way Stanislaus County, was precipitated by a visit the governor made to Southern California. 


“After his meeting with a district in Southern California he told his assistant that this is the kind of in-the-trenches work that he needs to see as districts aim to implement these massive changes," said Changnon.


Other topics discussed included regional occupation programs, which are career oriented classes geared towards students who are more likely to enter the workforce rather than pursue higher education after high school. The conversation proved important for Changnon as the Stanislaus County operates several alternative and career-oriented schools including a culinary school, technology school and the Stanislaus Military Academy.


“He made it clear that he is not a big fan of testing but he is very interested in preparing students for their future be that college or a career,” said Changnon.


As the transitional year for LCFF comes to a close at the end of this school year, districts are preparing to enter their first formal year under the LCFF and Gov. Brown’s visit allowed local education officials to discuss concerns. 

“I think the governor wanted a feel for how education is going in the heartland,” said DaMarto.