ANTIOCH -- With about a week to go before a deadline on district spending plans under a new state funding formula, questions remain about how Antioch Unified will provide extra help for its high-needs students.

Under the new so-called Local Control Funding Formula, districts with more than 55 percent of students who are low-income, English learners and foster youths receive grants for extra services. Roughly 67 percent of Antioch Unified students fall under that category.

Concerns about where that money will be doled out, and whether those students may be shortchanged, took center stage during a study session Wednesday night, as about 20 Antioch parents from a coalition of community-based groups requested more district transparency.

"We don't have enough identification of where the funds are going. That's the big question that needs to be answered," parent Hussein Bey said.

After the comments, trustee Gary Hack asked why no money figures were attached to the plan.

Superintendent Donald Gill said that until this week, the district had been following guidelines by the county Office of Education not to put specific dollar amounts in the document because of potential auditing issues. County officials said they have been relaying that message from state officials to local districts.

"For some reason, (the county) is now saying that we should, and we could. So we will," said Gill, adding that the state's direction in implementing the plans keeps changing.


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Those figures will be calculated and brought back Wednesday, when Antioch Unified trustees will consider adopting the plan.

Antioch Unified held 27 input meetings at various sites with other stakeholder groups, between March and May.

Coalition members, including the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, Todos Unidos, Parents Connected and the local branch of the NAACP, submitted their own version of a local control and accountability plan last week. They lauded district staff for blending much of that document into its plan.

Another discrepancy raised at the study session is the amount slated to go to high-needs students.

Antioch is receiving $8.4 million beyond its base local control funding in supplemental and concentration grants to serve high-need students next year.

Tim Forrester, associate superintendent of business services, said that much of the supplemental money in the district's draft plan and budget is already factored into its planned expenditures.

"We were trying to be upfront and show where the money was already being spent," Forrester said.

Patrice Guillory, an Antioch resident and representative of the advocacy organization Education Trust-West, was among those Wednesday who requested the district provide more information about how the grant funding will be spent, adding that it does not qualify for use on structural deficit reductions or salary increases.

"We are keeping a close eye, because the law intended that this brings about equity for our most underserved students," Guillory said.

The so-called Local Control Accountability Plan is part of the district's overall budget. Antioch Unified will hold a study session on its operating budget Monday night.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.