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The white West Contra Costa Unified School District building with blue trim and a blue sign attached to the front, with the name of the district and "administration building 1108."

WCCUSD poised to miss budget deadline amid LCAP controversy

on June 28, 2024

The West Contra Costa Unified School District board veered into uncharted territory Wednesday when it rejected the Local Control and Accountability Plan, a parent-led proposal that sets the course for the next year’s spending. 

Without an LCAP, the board could not pass the 2024-25 operating budget, which is supposed to go into effect on July 1. If the board misses that deadline, the Contra Costa County Education Office will step in to help craft a budget. 

“This is really serious to go forward without a budget,” said Javetta Cleveland, a financial adviser assigned to the district by the County Education Office, asking the board to reconsider. “The district cannot operate without a budget or establish priorities without a budget.”

Board members Mister Phillips and Leslie Reckler, who both voted against the LCAP, declined to reconsider. Board President Jamela Smith-Folds voted in favor of it, with Otheree Christian abstaining and Demetrio Gonzalez-Hoy absent. 

“I can’t make sense of it,” Reckler said of the LCAP. “And this document seems to be less transparent than ever before.”

Administrators are working with the county office to address the board’s concerns, Kim Moses, the district’s chief business officer, said in an email Friday. But, she added, the district will not meet the July 1 budget deadline. 

Moses said WCCUSD will continue to function, though it has to revert to its last adopted budget, which was an interim report from May 29. She stressed, “West Contra Costa Unified School District is not subject to losing local control of our budgetary functions as a result of the recent inaction by the Board.”  

WCCUSD’s proposed LCAP covers $64.8 million in spending. The district can’t move forward with its goals until both the LCAP and budget are approved. If that doesn’t happen by Aug. 15, the County Education Office may impose a budget, Moses said. 

The state requires every district to draft an LCAP every three years, outlining how state dollars will be spent, especially on the most vulnerable students. LCAPs are updated annually. WCCUSD is set to start a new three-year LCAP in the 2024-25 school year. 

The rejection wasn’t unexpected, considering that members of the LCAP committee suggested that the board reject the plan when the LCAP was presented on June 12, saying the process was broken, parents feel they have not been heard and the committee was not given the data to make informed decisions. Reckler asked Superintendent Chris Hurst then if the board had the option to reject the LCAP. Hurst said he wasn’t sure. 

At both the June 12 and June 26 meetings, Smith-Folds said she would like to have LCAP updates become part of the regular board meetings.

The next scheduled board meeting is July 17.

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