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Los Angeles Unified Commits to Modern Budget Transparency for Student Achievement (06-18-24)



Contact: Alexandria Castellanos (213) 608-5897


Los Angeles Unified Commits to Modern Budget Transparency for Student Achievement

LOS ANGELES, CA ( JUNE 18, 2024) — The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education has unanimously approved the Modern Budget Transparency for Student Achievementresolution, authored by Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin and co-sponsored by Board Member Nick Melvoin. This resolution will create a public budget tool for the community that is customizable, clear, comprehensive, language accessible, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and aims to connect investments to student outcomes. The tool will feature an FAQ section along with on-going training and support to assist user navigation in preparation for the 2025-26 budget cycle.

LAUSD is dedicated to providing the highest-quality instructional experience, which requires utilizing resources equitably, efficiently and strategically. The resolution highlights the importance of timely, easy-to-understand budget information to make better decisions that result in improved student outcomes. The community will play a crucial role in designing and refining the budget tool, ensuring it meets the needs of all stakeholders.

The budget tool will have the ability to customize data and compare planned budgets and actual expenditures across years, programs and student demographics. It will also feature AI capability to accurately respond to user questions and explain budget and policy decisions.

“By leveraging advanced technology and community feedback, this new budget tool will transform how we understand, allocate and adjust our investments to result in improved student outcomes,” said Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin. “Our goal is to make the budget transparent and accessible to everyone, ultimately leading to better decision-making so all students are prepared to thrive in college, career, and life of their dreams.”

“I have always been a firm believer in transparency in budgets and governance,” Board President Jackie Goldberg said. “LAUSD budget information is available online, but we can do better at making it more accessible and relatable. I support Board Member Ortiz Franklin and Board Member Melvoin’s Resolution to create a clearer pathway to this information, with more customizable ways to view it.”

"One of my first resolutions after joining the Board in 2017 was to create an Open Data portal, with the goal of creating a public set of facts about the District's budget and other data that would lead to more productive conversations about how best to serve kids,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “We've come a long way since then, but I'm proud to cosponsor this resolution to continue the work of implementing the type of transparent budget process that is easily accessible and answers the questions that our families and stakeholders may have."

“We’ve seen the efficacy of comprehensive tools that digest and analyze massive amounts of data,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Congruent with our goals set forth in the 2022-26 Strategic Plan and the Local Control Accountability Plan, we support resources that ensure financial transparency and meet our promise to engage our school communities on every decision that impacts student outcomes.”

“Everybody wins when we act with integrity and transparency,” Board Vice President Scott M. Schmerelson said. “Many community members are asking questions due to confusion around what is getting funded and the cost. I support this resolution so it can be absolutely clear that our LAUSD community can easily search for the investments the district is making. Nobody should have to shuffle through volumes of pages just to see if a classroom is being funded appropriately.”

“Budget transparency is vital, and it is also vital that the information be presented on a platform that is thoughtfully developed and user friendly for the entire Los Angeles Unified community,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said.

“A plan for an AI-powered budget tool promises strategies to enhance transparency and community engagement in the District's financial decision-making process,” Board Member Dr. Rocío Rivas said. “Aiming to provide stakeholders with accessible and comprehensive budget information, this aligns with the District's commitment to equity, collaboration, and operational effectiveness.”

“With over 18 billion dollars at stake, it’s critical that we ensure our budget is clear and accessible to our families, staff, and community members,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Today’s action will provide a new tool to help ensure that stakeholders can find the budget information important to them and help provide input into how they want public dollars spent.”

"Prudent, equity-based decision making requires transparent, accessible budget data. The Modern Budget Transparency for Student Achievement Resolution helps make this possible for LAUSD,” said Day Son, Senior Manager of K-12 Policy at Catalyst California. “We applaud the resolution’s inclusion of community feedback,  particularly from historically marginalized groups, and encourage LAUSD to have an intentional outreach plan for these communities. Current and historical data must be readily available and easily understandable for all stakeholders."

“This resolution is a significant step towards accountability and community involvement,” said Deycy Hernandez, Chief External Officer for the Partnership for LA Schools. When our community understands where and how funds are being used, we can work together to prioritize spending that directly impacts student learning and success. We look forward to continuing to support the infrastructure for student, family, staff, and community engagement in providing feedback in budgetary decisions in the future.”

“We are excited to endorse the Modern Budget Transparency for Student Achievement Resolution as part of our ongoing commitment to enhancing meaningful partnerships and collaboration among schools, the district, and highest-need families in South Los Angeles,” Miguel Dominguez, Director of Development for Community Coalition said. “Students and parents are critical stakeholders and should have access to data and information to ensure successful implementation of community-centered policies like the Student Equity Needs Index and the Black Student Achievement Plan. We look forward to continuing to partner with the district on this effort.”

By October 2025, the team will share a plan for the budget tool to clearly connect to student outcomes, illustrating how specific investments impact strategic plan goals. This valuable information will guide budget decisions for the 2026-2027 school year. As the budget tool and student achievement metrics are made available, regional, school site, and district leaders will use this information multiple times per year to make budgetary decisions.

Board Member Ortiz Franklin is a member of the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education representing Board District 7, where she was previously a student, teacher, teacher-educator and advocate. She is committed to ensuring all students graduate fully prepared to thrive in the college, career and life of their choice. Los Angeles Unified Board District 7 includes the diverse communities of South Los Angeles, Watts, Gardena, Carson, Lomita, Harbor City, Wilmington and San Pedro.


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