That’s the story we’re sharing in this new limited series presented by CASBO and WestEd. Each episode, our host Jason Willis welcomes education leaders and practitioners to discuss funding, educational improvements and advancing resource equity across all levels of California’s public education system. We’ll explore their motivations, the tools they’re using, and what’s working and what they’ve learned. Join us to tap into the experiences of guest experts and colleagues who are doing the work every day of ensuring a more equitable allocation of resources. It’s valuable insight you won’t want to miss!

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Episode 7: The Locus of Local Control: Revisiting the LCFF (Part Two)

In part two of our focus on California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), we examine more closely the concept of local control, especially as it relates to educational equity. Host Jason Willis and special guests consider vital questions, including:

  • How does the state’s shift to local control impact equity?
  • How do we strike a balance between local autonomy, innovation, compliance and accountability?
  • How effective are Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) that all districts must adopt with stakeholder input?
  • What role can school boards in particular play in the LCFF-LCAP process?

Plus, we delve into the practical, hands-on experiences of a veteran chief school business official who has implemented LCFF in her small, rural school district. She shares valuable strategies that school district leaders and business officials can draw on when implementing LCFF.


  • Heather Naylor has served as CBO for Gridley Unified School District in Butte County for 17 years. The district serves approximately 2,100 students, 75% of whom qualify in the “unduplicated” student count. Gridley Unified was recognized in a 2019 Learning Policy Institute study as a “Positive Outlier” for its promising practices and outcomes in closing opportunity gaps for students of color and all students.
  • Christopher Edley, Jr., J.D., serves as interim dean for the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Education, and as professor and dean emeritus at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law.
  • Maria Echaveste, J.D., serves as president and CEO of The Opportunity Institute. She previously served as White House deputy chief of staff.
  • Mike Kirst is a former president of the California State Board of Education and current professor emeritus at Stanford University. He was the chief architect of the LCFF under Gov. Jerry Brown.
  • Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez serves as a school board member for Azusa Unified School District, and as deputy director for Californians Together, a statewide advocacy group. She is the immediate past president of the California School Boards Association.

More resources

Episode 6: Revisiting the LCFF, California’s Landmark School Funding Reform 

The Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, ushered in a new era of school funding in California when it was adopted in 2013. It’s regarded by many as the most significant resource equity reform the state has ever enacted. But how has the LCFF worked? Has it accomplished what it was intended to? And how are inherent tensions between local and state decision making authority, oversight and accountability being navigated?

In this episode, host Jason Willis and guests Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, Richard De Nava and Mike Kirst explore key elements of the LCFF.

Additional Background
As part of the LCFF, all Local Education Agencies receive a per-student funding allocation known as a base grant, plus targeted additional funding depending on the needs of certain students (known as supplemental and concentration grants). Districts must also engage stakeholders before adopting a Local Control and Accountability Plan. While the new law has shifted more discretion for budgetary decisions to local school districts, it has also brought to the surface inherent tensions between local and state decision making authority.

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Episode 5On the Road to Equity and Becoming a CBO 

In this episode, hear Marguerite Williams, assistant superintendent/CBO for Griffin Technology Academies, describe the challenges of her new role, what motivated her on her journey, and how her own understanding of school business leaders has evolved. Join us to hear the practical strategies she’s used to advance equity during her career while drawing on her past service as the Association of California School Administrators’ first senior director for equity and diversity. 

Episode 4 – The Time and Space to Innovate

How can school communities make the most of this moment to innovate towards a greater equality of outcomes for all students? That’s the question we explore in this episode. Education reform experts Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn share powerful ideas and insights from their work. Both have advised school systems in California and throughout the world. They’ve co-authored many books and papers, including their latest, “Right Drivers for Whole System Success.

Episode 3 – Collaborating and Planning for Change: More Resource Equity Learning From a School District Leader Advancing the Work

In this third episode of our new limited series, Sanger Unified School District Superintendent Adela Madrigal Jones highlights approaches and actions her district has taken to advance equity. It’s chock-full of practical guidance, real-life experiences and candid reflections from a lifelong educator who has helped lead successful work in this Central Valley district.

Episode 2 – It Starts With Data and Listening to the System – Practical Ways to Approach Equitable Resource Allocation

Veteran school district CBO Jayne Christakos joins us to help build our practical understanding of equity and resource allocation in educational systems, and to identify some good places to start. She emphasizes the crucial importance of embracing a districtwide culture that is comfortable using data, asking questions and “listening to the whole system.”


Episode 2 Companion Brief: Using Data to Advance Equity

Episode 1 – Introduction: Getting Our Resource and Educational Equity Bearings

Advancing equity continues to be a major focus for California public education at all levels of the system. Yet, as education leaders and school business officials, it’s not always easy to press your way forward into the noisy, bustling, sometimes uncomfortable intersection where equity meets educational resources.

In our first episode,  host Jason Willis, director of strategic resource planning and implementation for WestEd and a former chief business official in several California school districts, invites several guest policy experts, advocates and school district leaders to share how they think about and define resource equity in education. It’s our way to help you get your “resource equity bearings.”

Guests in this episode:

  • Christopher Edley, Jr., J.D., interim dean, U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Education; co-founder and president emeritus of The Opportunity Institute; professor and dean emeritus, U.C. Berkeley School of Law; former professor, Harvard Law School; and co-chair, National Commission on K-12 Excellence & Equity
  • Maria Echaveste, J.D., president and CEO, The Opportunity Institute; and former White House deputy chief of staff
  • Jayne Christakos, former chief business officer, San Bernardino City Unified School District
  • Marguerite Williams, Ed.D., assistant superintendent of educational services, Adelanto Elementary School District; and former senior director of equity and diversity, Association of California School Administrators
  • Adela Madrigal Jones, superintendent, Sanger Unified School District
  • Michael Kirst, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University; and past president, California State Board of Education