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The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)

How Does the LCAP Work?

Beginning in 2014, each district, county office of education, and charter school (each LEA) became responsible for preparing a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The plan describes the overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions that will be taken to achieve the vision and goals.

The LCAP is developed and reviewed each year in coordination with the district’s annual budget cycle. Each year the state evolves its LCAP Template, which districts use as a starting point. (They may design their own documents if they meet the requirements.)

Under the LCFF:

All districts, charters and county offices of education are required to prepare a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)


Describes how the LEAs intend to meet annual goals for all pupils, with specific activities to address state and local priorities

In their LCAPs, districts are required to develop explicit plans for distributing funding to their highest-need students. 

The LCAPs implemented in 2013-14 were the first step toward holding districts—and the county offices that approve district plans—accountable for meeting the objectives of the LCFF.

Budget overview for Parents

The intent of the LCFF Budget Overview for Parents is to facilitate a better understanding of the funding included in the LCAP. To the greatest extent possible, the LCFF Budget Overview for Parents should use language that is understandable and accessible to parents.

The LCFF Budget Overview for Parents is subject to the same requirements for adoption, review and approval as the LCAP. 

The LCFF Budget Overview for Parents must be attached as a cover to the LCAP. In addition, the document must be included in the review and approval of the LCAP, and must be posted on the LEA’s website with the LCAP as a single document.

LCAP Summary

A well-developed Plan Summary section provides a meaningful context for the LCAP. This section provides information about an LEA’s community as well as relevant information about student needs and performance. In order to provide a meaningful context for the rest of the LCAP, the content of this section should be clearly and meaningfully related to the content included in the subsequent sections of the LCAP.

The intent of the Plan Summary is to provide information about an LEA’s community, give a brief overview of student needs and performance, and highlight elements in the LCAP that the LEA believes are important. 

LEAs are encouraged to view the summary as an opportunity to tell their story in concise and easily understandable terms. Each of the summary sections must be updated each year. 

LEAs briefly describe the LEA, its schools, and its students in grades TK–12, as applicable to the LEA. For example, information about an LEA in terms of geography, enrollment, or employment, the number and size of specific schools, recent community challenges, and other such information as an LEA wishes to include can enable a reader to more fully understand an LEA’s LCAP.

Based on a review of performance on the state indicators and local performance indicators included in the Dashboard, progress toward LCAP goals, local self-assessment tools, input from educational partners, and any other information, what progress is the LEA most proud of and how does the LEA plan to maintain or build upon that success? This may include identifying specific examples of how past increases or improvements in services for foster youth, English learners, and low-income students have led to improved performance for these students.

After evaluating the California School Dashboard, an LEA must identify: (a) any state indicator for which overall performance was in the lowest performance category or any local indicator for which the LEA received a “not met” rating AND (b) any state indicator for which performance for any student group was two or more performance levels below the performance level for all students. LEAs should use available state and local data, including input from educational partners, to identify areas of greatest need.

The LEA must also identify what steps it is planning to take to address these areas of low performance and performance gaps. LEAs are required to include a goal to address one or more consistently low-performing student groups or low-performing schools. The LEA is required to identify that it must include this goal and must also identify the applicable student group(s) and/or school(s). 

Other needs may be identified using local data, including data collected to inform the self-reflection tools and reporting of local indicators on the Dashboard.

The LEA identifies and briefly summarizes the key features of the current year’s LCAP.

The Engaging Educational Partners section of the LCAP describes the consultation process the LEA had with various educational partner groups, which could include the parent advisory committee, the English learner parent advisory committee, teachers, principals and administrators, other school personnel, special education local plan area (SELPA) administrator(s), local collective bargaining units, parents, students, and any other community-based organizations identified by the LEA. 

Meaningful engagement of all educational partners is essential to developing the LCAP and to the budget process.

The Goals and Actions section of the LCAP focuses on the goals, actions, expenditures and progress indicators identified by the LEA.  The LEAs prioritizes their goals, specific actions and related expenditures with the LCAP and within the state priorities and metrics.  Well-developed goals will clearly communicate to educational partners what goals the LEA plans to accomplish, what it plans to do to accomplish those goals, and how to measure accomplishment of each goal.

When looking at measures of performance on the goals, LEAs can consider student performance on both state and local indicators, including any locally collected and reported data. At a minimum, the LCAP must address all state priorities and associated metrics.

To support the prioritization of goals, the LCAP template gives LEAs the option of developing three different types of goals:

  • Focus Goal: A focus goal is concentrated in scope and may focus on fewer metrics to measure improvement. A focus goal statement will have a firm timeline and make clear how the goal is to be accomplished.
  • Broad Goal: A broad goal is less concentrated than a focus goal in its scope and may focus on improving performance across a wide range of metrics.
  • Maintenance of Progress Goal: A maintenance of progress goal includes actions that may be ongoing without significant changes and allows an LEA to track performance on any metrics not addressed in the other goals of the LCAP
  • Required Goal: LEAS that meet certain criteria are required to include a specific goal in their LCAP.
    • Consistently Low-Performing Student Group(s) 
    • Low-Performing School(s)

For each LCAP year, an LEA identifies the metric(s) it will use to track progress toward the expected outcomes. LEAs are encouraged to identify metrics for specific groups, as appropriate, including expected outcomes that would show a narrowing of any existing performance gaps.

The information on the actions the LEA lists will be in a table form and will include all actions that have funding associated with them and all actions that qualitatively contribute to increased or improved services. Actions that qualitatively contribute to increased or improved services must be provided on a limited basis to unduplicated students and cannot have funding associated with them.

Actions for English Learners– LEAs that have a numerically significant English learner student group (30 students or more) must include specific actions in the LCAP related to, at a minimum, the language acquisition programs as defined in Education Code Section 306 that it provides to students, and professional development activities specific to English learners

Actions for Foster Youth- LEAs that have a numerically significant foster youth student group (15 students or more) are encouraged to include in the LCAP specific actions designed to meet the needs of foster youth.

This section captures the progress toward the desired outcomes for each goal in the prior year’s LCAP.

Each goal has its own analysis. The recap must include an assessment of the effectiveness of the specific actions and a description of any changes the LEA will make to the actions or goal as a result of the review.

This section details the use of supplemental and concentration grant funds in the upcoming LCAP year to meet the requirement to increase and/or improve services for the LEA’s unduplicated student groups in grades TK–12 compared to all students, proportionate to the increase in funding generated by the unduplicated student groups, and how LEA-wide or schoolwide actions identified for this purpose meet regulatory requirements. 

This section also identifies any carryover from the prior year, expressed as a dollar amount and a percentage by which services must be increased or improved.

An LEA’s descriptions in this section must align with the actions identified in the Goals and Actions section as contributing to increased or improved services for unduplicated student groups.

An LEA describes and demonstrates how the services planned in the LCAP year provide increased or improved services for the unduplicated student groups proportionate to the increase in funding they generate under the LCFF in that year as calculated pursuant to California Code of Regulations Section 15496(a)(7). 

LEAs are required to describe how the proportionality percentage is met using a quantitative and/or qualitative description of the increased and/or improved services for the LCFF student groups compared to the services provided to all pupils.

The LCAP template includes summary action tables to make it easier for educational partners to see all the LCAP actions, services and expenditures, and increased or improved services in particular, and to reduce the length and complexity of LCAPs by consolidating the presentation of information. 

The template includes a Data Entry table and the following five required summary tables: 

  • Table 1: Total Planned Expenditures table (for the coming LCAP year)
  • Table 2: Contributing Actions table (for the coming LCAP year) 
  • Table 3: Annual Update table (for the current LCAP year) 
  • Table 4: Contributing Actions Annual Update table (for the current LCAP year) 
  • Table 5: LCFF Carryover table (for the current LCAP year)

The LCAP instructions must be included in the board adopted and approved LCAP packet.

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