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COVID-19: Executive order extends LCAP deadline; CDE seeks cancellation of 2020 Dashboard

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest executive order issued on Thursday extends the deadline for the 2020-21 Local Control and Accountability Plan to Dec. 15, 2020, providing local educational agencies with more time to prioritize pressing COVID-19 needs. Instead of submitting a three-year LCAP on July 1, 2020, LEAs will at that time submit an update of COVID-19 related impacts on students and plans to address those impacts, followed by completing an abbreviated annual 2020-21 planning document in December.

“School districts statewide have been working hard to put distance learning platforms into place and keep their students fed. The LCAP process deadlines should not be placing additional burdens on schools, which as a result of our current climate of social distancing, cannot meaningfully engage with their community stakeholders,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a statement. “The Governor’s action frees up staff time and resources for districts to focus solely on the immediate learning needs and health of our students.”

Elsewhere this week, California Department of Education said they will seek the cancellation of the 2020 California School Dashboard and outlined how that would affect the key cog in the state’s accountability and assessment system.

Gov. Newsom’s executive order outlining LCAP changes

The Governor’s order said the delay and changes stem from the continued school closures in response to the pandemic that will impact LEAs’ annual planning, budgetary and other processes specified by statute and regulation. The executive order outlines four conditions that must be met in light of the extension to ensure transparency and accountability to communities:
  • The LEA governing board, during the same meeting at which it adopts the annual budget due July 1, 2020, must adopt “a written report to the community that explains the changes to program offerings that the LEA has made in response to school closures to address the COVID-19 emergency and the major impacts of such closures on students and families, which shall include, at minimum, a description of how the LEA is meeting the needs of unduplicated pupils.”
    • Pursuant to Executive Order N-26-20,  LEAs specifically will be required to explain steps they have taken to deliver high-quality distance learning opportunities, provide school meals in non-congregate settings, and arrange for supervision of students during ordinary school hours.
  • School district boards and county boards of education also must submit the written report to the county superintendent of schools or the Superintendent of Public Instruction, respectively, in conjunction with submission of the adopted annual budget. The executive order notes that the CDE will create a form that LEAs may use to submit the report.
  • A charter school must submit the adopted report to its authorizer in accordance with Education Code 47604.33.
  • The LEA must post a copy of the written report on COVID-19 on its website homepage, if such a page exists.
For the annual 2020-21 LCAP that now must be adopted by Dec. 15, 2020, the deadline for a county superintendent or the Superintendent of Public Instruction to approve the LCAP is extended until Jan. 14, 2021. The deadline for a charter school to submit the LCAP to its chartering authority and the county superintendent of schools is extended to Dec. 15, 2020.

To accommodate the extension, the executive order also waives the requirements that the governing board of a district or county office of education adopt a LCAP prior to adopting a budget on or before July 1, 2020. Also waived for this year is the requirement that a county superintendent review a school district’s budget to ensure the budget includes expenditures necessary to implement the district’s LCAP. A similar waiver was granted concerning Superintendent of Public Instruction review of county budgets.

In a separate section, the executive order also waives required physical education minutes and annual physical fitness testing that requires on-site instruction.

CDE looking to Legislature to cancel 2020 Dashboard

The 2020 Dashboard news came during a Tuesday CDE webinar presentation that also provided updates on the state’s growth model, which is currently under development, and a tentative Dashboard workplan moving forward.

approved waiver from the U.S. Department of Education allows it to forgo statewide assessments this school year, but state law requiring the annual production of the Dashboard and the identification of LEAs for differentiated assistance remains in effect. However, CDE officials said they do not find it appropriate to produce a Dashboard and to assign districts and county offices of education assistance based on incomplete assessment data.

Cindy Kazanis, director of the Analysis, Measurement and Accountability Reporting Division, said the CDE does not expect Gov. Newsom to issue an executive order to cancel the 2020 Dashboard. “I do believe that the Legislature will need to help us with removing these requirements for this school year,” she said. 

Kazanis also acknowledged the high level of anxiety from LEAs about reporting local indicators this year, seeing as the Dashboard has not yet been waived.

Anticipating a one-year hiatus of assessment data and indicators, the CDE said, if approved by the State Board, the 2021 Dashboard will use 2021 data to calculate status and 2019 data to calculate change; the calculation for change would be 2021 status minus 2019 status. “There is nothing in the law that says we have to use two consecutive years of data,” said CDE division administrator Jenny Singh, reacting to concerns that there would not be a Dashboard published until 2022 if the 2020 version is cancelled.

Because the state’s federal waiver also voids the requirement to identify new schools eligible for additional support under the Every Student Succeeds Act, Kazanis said schools currently eligible for Comprehensive Support and Improvement and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement will remain in place for 2020–21.

Many of these changes are outlined in a newly posted
frequently asked questions page related to the COVID-19 pandemic and accountability.