Morning Read: Governor backs new CA teacher dismissal bill

New teacher dismissal bill deal has Governor’s support
Asm. Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) says she’s brought the California Teachers Association and the school reform group EdVoice together on an issue that’s split the education community for years: How to allow districts to quickly fire teachers accused of sexual abuse, child abuse or serious drug crimes. Capital Public Radio

Centinela appoints interim replacement for highly paid schools chief
pending an investigation of Supt. Jose Fernandez, who was paid $674,559 last year. Fernandez was placed on paid leave last week. For now, the Centinela Valley Union High School District will be managed by Bob Cox, who had been serving as the assistant superintendent for human resources. The board announced its action after meeting nearly three hours in closed session. LA Times

Modesto teachers to meet as vote looms on split from statewide union
Teachers will gather Wednesday for one last discussion with Modesto Teachers Association management before a pivotal vote May 6 on whether to split from the statewide union. In the run-up to balloting, teachers say tensions are rising, and a legal filing by the California Teachers Association accuses Modesto City Schools of meddling in the fight. Modesto Bee

Vigil planned for Dorsey High student Jennifer Bonilla
A candlelight vigil is planned for Wednesday to honor Jennifer Bonilla, a student from Dorsey High School who was among those killed in a bus crash in Northern California last week. The vigil will begin at 5 p.m. at Dorsey High School, 3537 Farmdale Avenue in the Crenshaw area. LA Times

Too late to apply to LAUSD magnet schools? Try this instead

Gifted and Talented GATE LAUSDThink your child may be gifted but missed the magnet application window last fall?

Now’s a chance for LAUSD parents to act: the SAS program, which stands for “Schools for Advanced Studies,” is accepting applications until April 30.

SAS programs are, in essence, gifted programs that reside within a traditional school. Offered at dozens of schools district-wide (see list here), they are considered a well-kept secret, perhaps because performance numbers are not broken out from the host school so their track records are hard publicize.

“What some parents don’t know is that kids don’t have to test to get into these programs,” says Angel Zobel-Rodriguez, a mother of two, who started a website called,  Magnet Angel (and runs another called Ask a Yenta) to help parents navigate the complicated gifted-magnet application process.

Instead, students can be referred by schools if they meet the academic criterion (see description here). And unlike with the magnet process, students can apply to as many SAS schools as they want and don’t need “points” — an accrual system that is used for the gifted magnets.

According to the new LAUSD Gifted/Talented website, the programs are “an intensive academic articulated program in which both innovative and traditional courses are taught.” The SAS programs are open to students from neighboring areas (pending available space) who have been identified as high performers, and the SAS teachers are required to go through extra professional development training.

In general, you can expect “classes will be taught at a higher level,” says Zobel-Rodriguez. “Think of them as gifted magnets but without a bus.”

For more information:
LAUSD Gifted/Talented website
Ask A Yenta
Magnet Angel
Great Schools

Morning Read: Settlements to help LAUSD homeless, pending

Settlements pending for Los Angeles schools, homeless
Pro bono organization Public Counsel has inked two class action settlements that would reinstitute funds to struggling schools and homeless residents in the Los Angeles area affected by California’s budget crisis. Under one tentative settlement, reached April 3, Los Angeles Unified School District would allocate $60 million in funding over three years to 37 struggling middle schools that suffered unusually high teacher turnover and student dropout rates following layoffs prompted by the budget crisis. National Law Journal

State among the worst in degrees to Hispanics may surprise you
With a population more than twice as Hispanic as the national average, California has a lower-than-average proportion of Hispanics with college or university educations, and no institution among the top five for awarding them degrees, according to a new study. Hechinger Report

At an East San Jose high school, students react to new Common Core test
The students in John Daniels’ U.S. history class at James Lick High School in East San Jose are a smidgen of the tens of thousands of juniors who are taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium field test this spring. And their views of the new test on the Common Core State Standards are but a snapshot of many that the creators of the test and the state Department of Education will receive over the next two months. EdSource

Must be a combined effort to effectively reform schools
Commentary: The recent guest commentary “Teachers aren’t to blame for most of schools’ problems” addressed a number of important educational issues. Focusing on the Vergara v. California case currently in the courts, the author also points to “misleading and false statements that only serve to distract us from the real problems facing our schools.” Contra Costa Times

SEIU 99 decides not to endorse a candidate for District 1 board seat

SEIU99SEIU Local 99, the service employees union, which represents more than 30,000 cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, special education assistants and other school support staff at LAUSD, has decided not to endorse a candidate for the district’s vacant District 1 Board seat.

The local is the largest labor unit within LA Unified that chose not to get behind any of the seven candidates in the June 3 special election.

The decision not to endorse followed what the union described in a press release as “a lengthy endorsement process,” which included conversations between the candidates and members of SEIU Local 99, a review of candidate questionnaires and a formal town hall meeting where SEIU members interviewed the candidates.

“We recognize that there are many candidates in this race who share our goals for improving education inside and outside the classroom and who believe that when parents have good jobs, their children have the economic stability at home that they need to thrive in school,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Courtni Pugh. “Our decision not to endorse one candidate is, in great part, a reflection of the strong field of contenders in this race.”

Pugh said the union would continue to follow the election and, if a run-off is necessary, would re-evaluate the candidates to consider an endorsement.

Among the other large unions with LA Unified employees, the teachers union, UTLA, endorsed three candidates — Rachel Johnson, Sherlett Hendy-Newbill and Hattie McFrazier. The union representing principals and other administrators, AALA, endorsed George McKenna.


Morning Read: Bus crash investigations moves to LA

Deadly bus crash: Bulk of investigation shifts to Los Angeles
The investigation into what caused a FedEx freight truck to cross a median and slam into a charter bus in Northern California, killing 10 people, is shifting to Los Angeles. On the itinerary for investigators: meeting with Silverado Stages, the company that owned and operated the bus involved in the collision, and interviewing student survivors of the accident, mainly in the Los Angeles area. LA Times

More non-profits teaching parents to read with children
Uriel is one of nearly 100 children in East Palo Alto who receive free books and private tutoring through the nonprofit 10 Books A Home, in exchange for a commitment from his mother: She reads with him every day. Programs such as 10 Books a Home, which focus on improving early reading skills by engaging parents, are spreading in California. EdSource

Mobile classroom rolls out to teach students about L.A. River
The contrast between nostalgia for the Los Angeles River and the reality of it today could not be sharper than at its confluence with the Arroyo Seco, a big, desolate flood-control channel strewn with trash and hemmed by freeways, power lines and railroad yards. LA Times

All schools should have good teachers
Commentary: It’s nice to know that tens of millions of extra dollars will go to 37 low-income schools after the Los Angeles Unified School District settled a class-action suit on behalf of students. But the lawsuit, undertaken by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, was never about money; it was about policies that require teachers with the least seniority to be laid off first when there are staff reductions. LA Times

L.A. teachers union president ready to step aside for challenger

Los Angeles Times logoVia the Los Angeles Times |  By Howard Blume

Los Angeles teachers’ union president Warren Fletcher said he will no longer actively campaign for reelection, clearing the path for challenger Alex Caputo-Pearl to become the next leader of United Teachers Los Angeles.

In the first round of voting in March, Caputo-Pearl received 48% of the votes and Fletcher 21%. The runoff election takes place this month with ballots set to be counted April 29.

In an interview Sunday, Fletcher said he has not formally suspended his campaign, and that he would serve again if he won. But the one-term incumbent emphasized that he has accepted the near inevitable.

Read the full story here.




Bus crash update: LAUSD offers no names of dead and injured*

LAUSD Supt. John Deasy Bus Crash


LA Unified officials had no additional information by mid-day on the fate of 19 students from 16 LAUSD high schools who were on the bus involved in a fatal crash yesterday, heading to Humboldt State University.

Superintendent John Deasy met with reporters at a noon press conference but couldn’t offer much beyond reports of earlier in the day.

The authorities confirmed that 10 people died, five of them students, but LAUSD has been unable to say whether any of them were from the district’s schools.

The district identified the students’ high schools as San Fernando, Grant, Dorsey, Fremont, City of Angels, Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Manual Arts, Banning, Carson, Chavez, Diego Rivera, Belmont, Wilson, Chatsworth, Jefferson High and Middle College.

The district has set up a support fund to help LAUSD families affected by the crash. The website is here.

*Adds information on family support fund.

With post-trial briefs in, Vergara 90-day clock starts ticking

Judge Rolf Treu Vergara

Judge Rolf Treu

Just in case Judge Rolf Treu might have missed anything during the two months of Vergara v. California, a battle over teacher employment protections that concluded last month, the parties filed their post-trial briefs yesterday, each making one last effort to influence Judge Treu’s decision.

At issue are five state laws that govern tenure, dismissal and seniority. Defendants want to keep them. Plaintiffs want them struck down. He now has 90 days to decide who wins.

Each side echoed the same themes from closing arguments:

“In two months of trial, Plaintiffs proved that the Challenged Statutes are creating vast and unjustified inequalities in the educational opportunities being afforded to students across California,” lawyers for the nine student-plaintiffs wrote.

“It is remarkable that after a month of testimony from twenty-two different witnesses, Plaintiffs have been unable to answer the most basic questions surrounding their theory that the Challenged Statutes cause the hiring and retention of ‘grossly ineffective’ teachers in California public schools,” said lawyers for the state.

“After a lengthy trial, Plaintiffs are entirely unable to prove their unprecedented equal protection claims,” said lawyers for the intervenors — the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) — who joined the state in defense.

The entire 30-plus page filings can be found here (plaintiffs), here (defense) and here (intervenors).

Morning Read: LAUSD students in fatal California bus crash

California bus crash: 5 students among 10 killed; at least 30 injured
Los Angeles Unified officials said Friday that 19 of its students were aboard the bus that collided with a FedEx freight truck in Northern California. At least 10 people were killed in the fiery crash. Officials have not released the identities of those killed in the crash, which occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. Thursday when the FedEx truck crossed a grassy median on Interstate 5 and slammed into the bus packed with students en route to Humboldt State University. LA Times

High-paid South Bay schools superintendent is put on leave
A South Bay schools superintendent who attracted scrutiny for his $674,559 pay was placed on administrative leave this week, pending an internal investigation. The Centinela Valley Union High School District board voted 5-0 to suspend Supt. Jose Fernandez during an abruptly called, closed-door meeting at the Centinela Valley Center for the Arts in Lawndale on Wednesday evening. LA Times

Legislation to strengthen reporting by California teachers makes gains
Two bills — one to strengthen teachers’ mandated reporting requirements and the other to provide additional funding for new state education standards — were approved by the Assembly Education Committee. Both pieces of legislation were authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and are now headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. San Jose Mercury

Why academic credentials matter
Commentary: Los Angeles Unified school board candidate Genethia Hudley-Hayes recently was accused of falsifying academic credentials on her resume in her quest to fill the seat vacated after member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte died in December. The seriousness of these allegations cannot be overstated, particularly in a race for school board in the district where the majority of Los Angeles’ black students attend public school. LA Wave

LAUSD should let this science teacher teach
Commentary: In February, Los Angeles Unified School District officials suspended a teacher after two of his students turned in science projects that administrators thought looked like guns. Even granting that school officials have a right to be hypersensitive these days about anything resembling a weapon, their decision to remove him from the classroom was a harmful overreaction. LA Times

Sacramento City Unified won’t renew NCLB waiver

947ff2df8b9acd4f6b4187e5b1d44046Via EdSource | By John Fensterwald

Faced with intense opposition from teachers, Sacramento City Unified announced Wednesday it would not join other California districts in reapplying for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Its defection leaves seven of eight districts seeking to extend a waiver from the federal accountability law through the California Office to Reform Education, a nonprofit that they formed. The waiver they got last year was the first for school districts, as opposed to a state department of education.

The CORE districts applied because California was one of only four states that either didn’t seek a waiver or had its request rejected.

Read the full story here.

Morning Read: Glitches slowing use of Common Core tests

As testing gains steam, help center ‘inundated’ with teacher calls
It’s week three for California’s new web-based standardized tests and some schools are reporting hair-pulling moments. “Our students are becoming frustrated,” said Bonnie Tanaka, principal of Madrid Middle School in El Monte. She said screens are freezing up, and – unlike what was promised – tests don’t resume where a student’s left off after a break, and students can’t review previous answers. KPCC

Report: Part-time, fractured LA school board unacceptable
Los Angeles Unified School board members are taking issue with a report that suggests one way to improve district schools is to give the mayor control. “The implication is that there’s much success in other places and the evidence to that just doesn’t exist,” board member Steve Zimmer said. “We have mayoral control in New York and Chicago, and they are still struggling.” KPCC

Science teacher’s suspension spurs petition drive
A popular Los Angeles high school science teacher has been suspended after students turned in projects that appeared dangerous to administrators, spurring a campaign calling for his return to the classroom. Students and parents have rallied around Greg Schiller after his suspension in February from the downtown Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts. LA Times

Measure backed to pay half of school transit costs
A bill that would increase state support of school transportation to at least half of a district’s costs won the approval Wednesday of a key legislative panel, which rejected a second proposal to pay 100 percent of a district’s bussing costs. The Senate Education Committee also endorsed two major pieces of legislation aimed at boosting California’s commitment to increasing learning opportunities for children from birth through age five. S&I Cabinet Report

California teachers union blinks on discipline bill
Commentary: The threat of a ballot initiative did the trick, persuading the California Teachers Association to negotiate a new process for teacher dismissal. EdVoice, an educational advocacy group based in West Sacramento, titled its proposed initiative: “Stop Child Molesters, Sexual Abusers and Drug Dealers from Working in California Schools Act.” Merced Sun-Star

Morning Read: LAUSD to spend $837M on low-income students

LAUSD plans to spend $837 million on disadvantaged students
Disadvantaged students in L.A. Unified stand to benefit from a multimillion-dollar infusion for more tutoring, counselors, English language coaches, nurses, librarians and other support under a budget plan presented Tuesday. In the opening salvo in a two-month process under the state’s new school finance system, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy presented the district’s first detailed blueprint for spending $837 million specifically aimed at boosting services for students who are low-income, learning English and in foster care. LA Times

2 Santa Monica students arrested after a fight with teacher
Two Santa Monica High School students arrested after a violent confrontation between a student and teacher are due in court Tuesday. A video that captured the incident shows teacher Mark Black, who is also the wrestling coach, pinning a student to the ground. Students said he was trying to confiscate something drug-related from a student when the incident occurred. KABC

For many teens, formal sex education comes too late, CDC report says
Health experts have some simple advice for reducing the teen birthrate in the U.S. — make sure teens learn about abstinence and birth control before they start having sex. It sounds obvious, but it’s obviously needed, according to a report released Tuesday by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. LA Times

Faced with an initiative, teachers union blinks on discipline bill
Commentary: The threat of a ballot initiative did the trick, persuading the California Teachers Association to negotiate a new process for teacher dismissal. EdVoice, an educational advocacy group based in West Sacramento, titled its proposed initiative: “Stop Child Molesters, Sexual Abusers and Drug Dealers from Working in California Schools Act.” Sacramento Bee

Vergara teacher tenure case: point counterpoint

EdWeekEdweek has done a nice job providing opposing perspectives on the potential outcome of the Vergara v. California case, a lawsuit challenging the state’s teacher tenure and job protection laws.

Below are the two articles, the first of which claims that the case is a lose-lose for the plaintiffs and defendants, while the second lauds it as a revolution in education equality.


Why Vergara Is a Loser for Both Sides
Via Education Week | David Menefee-Libey and Charles Taylor Kerchner

The two contending sides wrapped up their cases last week in Vergara vs California, the education lawsuit being tried in Judge Rolf Treu’s Los Angeles Superior Courtroom. Treu has ninety days to make his ruling.

But from our perspective this is a case that the plaintiffs can’t win and the defendants will lose regardless of the outcome.

Vergara went to trial in January, with Beatriz Vergara and eight other school children suing to overturn the state’s teacher tenure and job protection laws.  Represented in court by former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson and a team of star attorneys not accustomed to losing cases, the plaintiffs argue that those laws play out in classrooms and schools in ways that violate students’ rights to access equal education under the California constitution.
Read the full story, here.

Former LAUSD Leaders: Vergara Case a Turning Point in Education Equality
Via Education Week | Marlene Canter and Roy Romer

In all our years and roles in education, we’ve experienced firsthand almost every challenge facing our public school students. We’ve also seen many educational reforms that purport to solve those challenges come and go with varying levels of success.  Roy led the first ever National Goals Panel on education in the 80s, and focused on education as chair of the National Governors Association before becoming Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).  And Marlene, who was a special education teacher in LAUSD, co-founded a firm that became a very successful provider of teacher training materials, led the LAUSD Board through major transition just a few years ago, and is now the Board Chair for Green Dot Public Schools.

There is no “silver bullet” for education–one idea that will instantly fix everything–but we’ve become involved in something recently that perhaps comes the closest to a silver bullet as we’ve seen in our long careers.  A lawsuit currently pending the court’s decision has the potential to dramatically improve educational outcomes for every single student in California, especially our neediest students, and potentially in other states.

Read the full story, here.

LIVESTREAM coverage of today’s LAUSD school board meeting: budget a top priority

Community rally on school funding, April 7 2014

Community rally on school funding, April 7 2014

This morning, the Los Angeles Unified School Board meets to discuss a wide variety of issues including what promises to be a charged debate about a budget plan unveiled by Superintendent John Deasy last week.

Community groups have held a series of meetings and rallies, including one last night, advocating for a say in the budget process – which includes the use of new ‘Local Control’ funding.

To download the superintendent’s budget and presentation click here.
For the school board agenda, click here.

The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m.

To watch it via LIVESTREAM click HERE.


Morning Read: Hundreds of students protest LAUSD budget

Groups protest LAUSD spending priorities
Several hundred students protested Los Angeles Unified’s proposed budget Monday, claiming poor pupils and schools will receive too little funding. Protest organizer Marqueece Harris-Dawson, president of the Community Coalition, said the district’s spending plan is too vague and does too little for kids who need help the most. LA Daily News

Districts develop goals for foster youth
As districts set their goals for the next school year and allocate funding under the new California school finance system, they have to consider for the first time a small, highly at-risk subset of students: youth in foster care. Under the new Local Control Funding Formula, districts must develop Local Control and Accountability (LCAP) plans, and they must give particular consideration to the needs of English learners, students from low-income families, and students in foster care. EdSource

L.A. Unified students want one of their own on school board
The board is expected to vote Tuesday on a proposal to allow a student advisory member on the board. The student, who would be elected by his or her peers, would not have actual voting power or be allowed in closed-session meetings. Instead, the student would provide guidance on issues and cast an advisory vote just before the official vote. LA Times

Santa Monica school official apologizes for remarks on teacher in fight
Santa Monica’s school superintendent has apologized for comments she made after placing a popular science teacher on leave for getting into a physical altercation with a student. In a statement sent to the “community” over the weekend, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon acknowledged that her remarks about the teacher and wrestling coach have “caused great anger.” LA Times

To curb school lunch waste, ease the fruit and vegetable rules
Commentary: No one should have expected that putting more vegetables in front of elementary school students would instantly turn them into an army of broccoli fans. Plenty of food has been thrown out since new federal rules took effect in 2011 requiring students in the subsidized school lunch program to choose a fruit or vegetable each day. Nevertheless, studies find that continued exposure to produce is resulting in more children eating at least some of it. LA Times

Long-term impact of childhood trauma worse for low-income kids

images-3A new study by the California Department of Public Health has found that childhood trauma has a long-term impact on a child’s life, and the consequences are far more prevalent among children from low-income families.

It is an especially acute issue for LA Unified, which has among the highest concentrations of low-income students in the state, with more than 80 percent living at or below the poverty line.

Results of the study were released this morning at a California Assembly committee hearing at the Los Angeles Central Library, led by Roger Dickinson, a Democrat representing Sacramento and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development.

The data presented linked exposure to childhood trauma with increased risk for a wide range of health problems. It was based on a survey of more than 9,500 adults, the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted in California on this issue.

The researchers found that, compared with those who did not suffer childhood trauma, California adults with repeated traumatic experiences in childhood were:

  • 500 percent more likely to suffer depression
  • 350 percent more likely to smoke tobacco
  • 90 percent more likely to engage in binge drinking
  • 63 percent more likely to have a heart attack
  • 60 percent more likely to be obese

Continue reading

Morning Read: Less than 40% of Students are College Ready

College-Readiness not keeping up in California
Fewer than 4 in 10 California high school students are completing the requirements to be eligible for the state’s public universities, fueling worries of a shortage of college-educated workers when the value of a bachelor’s degree has never been higher.To meet entrance requirements, high school students must complete 15 classes with a grade of C or better, including foreign language, lab science, intermediate algebra, and visual or performing arts. KNBC

Teacher, student fight caught on camera

A Santa Monica High School teacher and wrestling coach caught on cell phone videos fighting with a student Friday was placed on leave pending an investigation into the incident, the school district superintendent announced.According to a letter sent to parents by Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra Lyon, no one was injured in the classroom confrontation between teacher Mark Black and a student whose name has not been released. KNBC

Common Core has students writing — on just about every subject
Much to the delight of writing enthusiasts, the curriculum standards known as the Common Core stress the importance of students’ putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) across all subject areas. The standards also specify that students — even those in the youngest grades — should cite evidence from readings as they write, and not just invent stories or opine based on prior knowledge. The Common Core, adopted by most states, does not constitute a federal curriculum or mandate specific readings. Hechinger Report

Common core or SMARTER Balanced? Maybe it’s neither
As the state steps back to revise its assessment of the school accountability system with the advent of common core and SMARTER Balanced assessments, there is an opportunity for legislators and officials to reconsider policies related to testing students with disabilities. S&I Cabinet Report

Under new law, school nurses aim to stop rise in vaccination opt-outs
In her 33 years as a school nurse, Robyn Ettl has listened, sometimes quietly, sometimes not, to parents in rural Nevada County explain why their children don’t need vaccinations against contagious and potentially fatal diseases, including polio, diphtheria, measles and pertussis. Now, with nearly a half a million 5-year-olds and soon-to-be-5-year-olds registering for kindergarten in the fall, school nurses like Ettl are more invested than ever in a delicate task: trying to change the minds of parents intent on opting out of school-entrance immunizations. EdSource

Deal announced on teacher dismissal bill that governor would support

Joan Buchanan, Source: Ed Source

Joan Buchanan, Source: Ed Source

Via Ed Source | by John Fensterwald

Signaling the resolution of an acrimonious issue, Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, introduced a bill Friday to make dismissing teachers charged with severe misconduct quicker, easier and cheaper.

“I want to thank the education community for its willingness to continue to work on this critical issue,” Buchanan said in a statement. “We share a common goal of keeping our children safe and providing a fair and efficient process.”

Buchanan praised the compromise that was reached, and said that Gov. Jerry Brown, who vetoed her version of the bill last year, would sign it. Brown spokesman Jim Evans confirmed in an email, “As introduced, the Administration supports Assemblymember Buchanan’s approach.”

In a further sign of movement, Bill Lucia, CEO of EdVoice, an advocacy organization, said he would withdraw a proposed ballot measure dealing with teacher dismissals if the bill, as proposed, becomes law by mid-June. In an unusual alliance, Lucia and the California Teachers Association, who have clashed over teacher evaluations, charter schools and, until now, teacher discipline and dismissals, issued a joint statement praising the compromise and each other’s efforts.

Read full story here.


CA Federation of Teachers a big contributor to Leland Yee

Leland Yee

Leland Yee

Leland Yee, the former state senator from central California who was arrested last month on federal bribery and corruption charges, was a Sacramento favorite of COPE, the political arm of the California Federation of Teachers.

The union was one of the biggest contributors to Yee’s campaign for California Secretary of State. His arrest prompted him to drop out of the race.

According to financial disclosure filings, Yee had raised more than $800,000 for his campaign. As one of his single biggest contributors, COPE donated $13,600 to help fund his run — $5,000 in December of 2013 and $8,600 in February of this year.

Yee has long had a strong relationship with labor: In 2012, he was cited as one of only five Senators to receive a perfect score from the California Labor Federation based on his voting record.

Another large contributor to Yee is a committee sponsored by the California Faculty Association, which also gave his campaign $13,600. See the full list of contributors here.



Morning Read: Teacher retirement fund faces $74B deficit

Funding gap threatens retirement for California teachers
The pension fund for public school teachers in California faces a long-term shortfall of $74 billion, threatening its ability to pay for the retirement of nearly 1 million teachers and administrators in the nation’s most populous state, officials said on Thursday. The gap is growing by about $15 million per day, the California State Teachers Retirement System said in a written statement, and the system could run out of money in 32 years. Reuters

LA schools enjoy steep increase in revenues from film shoots
The Los Angeles Unified School District has found an unusual solution to at least some of its budget woes – selling more licenses to film production companies. Filming fees are up 40 percent for the district, according to figures released by school administration Thursday. The district has grossed approximately $8,924,000 since 2010, when its most recent contract with FilmLA went into effect. KPCC

Charters seek compromise on governance transparency
Charter schools, which often operate as both a private non-profit and a publicly-funded agency, reside in a sort of legal no-man’s land as it relates to the state’s open meeting and good governance laws. Efforts to simply extend the Brown Act, the Public Records Act and the Political Reform Act to charters has failed in the past – largely because the rigid requirements don’t mesh well with fundamental tenants of the charter movement that give the schools freedom and flexibility. S&I Cabinet Report

Officials discuss facilities maintenance in new spending plans
The Center for Cities and Schools at UC Berkeley hosted a webinar today to address how districts should meet the healthy school facilities’ goal in the new Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP), which are mandated under the state’s new funding formula. More than 100 people across the state, including district administrators, registered for the discussion. EdSource

Why Vergara is a loser for both sides
Commentary: The two contending sides wrapped up their cases last week in Vergara vs California, the education lawsuit being tried in Judge Rolf Treu’s Los Angeles Superior Courtroom. Treu has ninety days to make his ruling. But from our perspective this is a case that the plaintiffs can’t win and the defendants will lose regardless of the outcome. EdWeek