Theses Master's

Investing in the Inner City Through Urban Public Schools: Evaluating California’s Equitable Education Finance Policy

Peña, Madeline

High-need students are the fastest growing sector of children in the United States today, and California, who serves one in every eight public school students in the US, serves the vast majority of them. With its sheer size and breadth of diversity, California sits in a unique position to touch the lives of significant portion of disadvantaged youth in the US. Recognizing this role, California is spearheading reforms that aim to create an equitable public education system for all students. In 2013, the state overhauled its school finance system, a categorical method of funding that was used in the state for 40 years. Former Governor, Jerry Brown, adopted the system, called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which directs increased funds to the most high-need students and restores local control over how money is spent at schools. This mixed-methods study will employ a case study approach to better understand how the implementation of the LCFF and its community engagement process, the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) work in practice. This case study of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will focus on the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, to illustrate how the additional LCFF funds are dispersed locally to target the needs of high-need groups, how the community is engaged to ensure their immediate needs are met, and what opportunities and challenges to an equitable education system arise following the post implementation of the LCFF.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
O'Neill-Hutson, Moira K.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 14, 2021