Secretary DeVos Announces New Student-Funding Pilot Program

February 26, 2018

Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed a pilot program that awards school districts flexibility in the use of federal funds and relief from the rules that would otherwise prevent school districts from implementing a student-centered finding system. Many school district leaders have argued that inflexible rules guiding the allocation and use of federal funds made it difficult for districts to combine federal, state and local funds for creative and innovative programs that can best serve student needs. This new flexibility for school districts is intended to provide equitable, student-centered funding systems under a pilot program authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The United States Department of Education believes that this flexibility will allow school districts to combine eligible federal funds with state and local funds in order to allocate resources to schools based on the member of students and the corresponding level of need.

Schools districts that receive flexibility are expected to design and implement a student-centered funding system that meets all statutory requirements of the pilot program. Districts are also required to provide an assurance that parents, teachers, school leaders and other stakeholders are consulted in the program. All local educational agencies (LEAs) are eligible to apply, with the Department authorizing awards to 50 LEAs on flexibility only. The application is currently open and can be found here.

Fortunately, California has adopted a plan that is in line with the proposed student-centered pilot program. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), enacted in 2013, changed the way LEAs in California are funded and held accountable for student achievement. This gives California a significant advantage given our experience with a student centered funding system.

The application deadline is March 12, 2018, for those LEAs planning to implement in school year 2018 or July 15, 2018, for those LEAs expecting to implement in school year 2019. Send completed applications to

For more information, continue to The Department’s informational webinar: February 2018 Student-centered Funding Webinar

Secretary DeVos Announces New Student-Funding Pilot Program