The Hollister School District is holding community input meetings for the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), with the next one set for Feb. 12. While parents are invited to give their thoughts on how funds should be spent within the district, some in the community would like to see more participation.
Monica Hernandez has been an organizer with Youth Alliance for two years and has attended three recent LCAP community input meetings; she said approximately 37 parents have showed up for a school district that serves about 6,000 students.
“It’s very sad that there are very few parents who show up besides the parents we bring from Youth Alliance,” Hernandez said. “It’s sad because we don’t know what is happening, why there are not more parents there from the schools. I can only imagine it’s because they don’t know what the LCAP is.”
As the name implies, LCAP is a multi-year plan designed to give residents within school district boundaries input on how the Hollister School District spends state funds, especially where English language learners, low-income students and foster youth are concerned.
CA School Dashboard, a website that measures LCAP data, reports that HSD has 5,609 students, of which 33% are English language learners, 63% are socioeconomically disadvantaged, and 0.4% are foster youth.
In response to low attendance, Superintendent Diego Ochoa said, “Part of it is it’s a challenge to get to evening meetings, the time commitment, people are busy being parents to their children and they have obligations that supercede going to an LCAP meeting. I really hope we go from 25 to 50 and from 50 to 100 and just up and up from there.”
Ochoa said that LCAP meetings are just one way the district receives input from parents.
“We sent a parent survey using our district’s email system three weeks ago to all registered parent emails and we received 145 responses to the parent survey,” he said. “Every school has a school site council, comprised partially of parents, whom will provide feedback regarding the LCAP. We also receive feedback from over 100 parents during our migrant pac meetings.”
Hernandez said the parents who have attended the LCAP meetings so far have asked that funds be used to improve the emotional climate at school by adding counselors to all school sites.
“They believe that by adding counselors everything will change because it will focus on student socio-emotional health, which is the most important to them,” she said, adding that parents are also concerned with the quality of food being provided.
Hernandez said Youth Alliance will be submitting requests in the form of a letter on behalf of parents who cannot attend or have not attended. So far, requests include:
- Investing in counselors, not police
- Restructuring disciplinary policies
- Creating school environments that welcome parents and encourage them in shared leadership
- Increasing district transparency and accountability
“If we can make changes together with the district, it would be something great for the students,” Hernandez said.
The next two LCAP meetings are scheduled for Feb. 12 and Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Hollister School District offices, 2690 Cienega Road, Hollister.