LAUSD superintendent search moves ahead quickly — application deadline is March 14
* Updated Feb. 28 The LA Unified school board is moving forward quickly to find a new superintendent and has set a March 14 deadline for applications. The board will start reviewing applications after the search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates has vetted the applicants and expects to make its selection in April....
By Mike Szymanski | February 27, 2018
As the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools turns 10, a new report shows this unique turnaround model is driving big gains at struggling campuses
Maria Ruiz worried about her three sons’ education in Boyle Heights, a low-income Los Angeles neighborhood where she felt the public schools were dangerous and neglected. But when the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools took over leadership of her sons’ low-performing campuses, she witnessed a transformation — in her boys as well as their schools....
By Mike Szymanski | February 21, 2018
From principal to Partnership, Joan Sullivan sees good leadership as the key to success for low-performing schools
Joan Sullivan walked into a tough crowd at 20th Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles in May 2016. Three dozen teachers and staff in yellow spirit shirts stood at the back of the room, most of them with their arms crossed, while in the audience nearly 200 parents with their children sat divided, holding signs...
By Mike Szymanski | February 21, 2018
LAUSD approves expensive health benefits contract but vows to be tougher in negotiations going forward
*Updated Feb. 15 Despite parents’ pleas to deal now with a coming deficit that could require huge cuts, a narrow majority of LA Unified’s school board on Tuesday approved a new contract that commits the district to paying for its employees’ generous health benefits at current levels for the next three years. The contract passed 4-2, with...
By Mike Szymanski | February 14, 2018
12,000 kids will leave LAUSD this year: Los Angeles school board weighs options for how to fill looming financial hole
As LA Unified continues to lose 12,000 students every year, administrators will be notified of expected job losses, restrictions could be made on how to spend one-time funds coming from the state, and labor partners will be called on to be part of the solution. Next year’s projected enrollment decline was reported Tuesday by Chief Financial...
By Mike Szymanski | February 7, 2018
These parent volunteers are bringing school libraries back to life with color, comforts, and — most of all — books
* Updated Feb. 9 Kids rarely stepped foot in the library at Washington Elementary in Compton. “It was dusty and damp in there, it was not very welcoming for kids at all,” Principal Diana Phillips said. “We had a lot of very old books that children were not interested in and none of the modern...
By Mike Szymanski | February 5, 2018
Exclusive: LAUSD plans to use same search firm to find a new superintendent — and it gets a break on the cost
The LA Unified school board is set to confirm the same search firm that helped them pick Michelle King as superintendent in 2016, which will save the district at least $160,000. In the contract signed last time with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates of Rosemont, Ill., there was a two-year window clause that says, “If the Superintendent departs...
By Mike Szymanski | February 1, 2018
LAUSD board seeks ‘disruption’ from next superintendent
In the context of the search for its next superintendent, LA Unified’s school board is asking existential questions about how hard it should be pushing to disrupt the status quo in a system that serves more than 700,000 students. While none of the conversations came particularly full-circle in a special meeting of the board on...
By Mike Szymanski | January 31, 2018
California schools could see the most money ever, but it won’t keep LAUSD from falling off its fiscal cliff
* Updated Jan. 25 The California governor’s new budget proposes giving more to schools than ever before — $78.3 billion — but it’s not going to keep LA Unified from driving off its fiscal cliff in three years, according to the district’s chief financial officer. With steady enrollment declines and crushing pension debt, the...
By Mike Szymanski | January 24, 2018
LA schools have a tentative deal with labor partners on health benefits — but watchdogs warn it’s not aggressive enough in reining in costs
A tentative agreement on health benefits marks the first time an LA Unified labor contract has directly taken on the district’s soaring healthcare costs. But watchdogs say the deal doesn’t go far enough in tackling the district’s standing debt — and some school board members warn it may actually make the next round of negotiations...
By Mike Szymanski | January 23, 2018