Parents representing some of the most important advisory committees to the LA Unified school board lodged a litany of complaints this week about a lack of connection with the district.
Long distances to meetings, inconvenient times, police intimidation near meeting sites and a lack of consideration of the parents’ advice were some of the complaints brought up in more than an hour of public comment at the Early Childhood and Parent Engagement Committee Tuesday. The parents said they often felt their advisory committees were held merely to comply with some legislative requirement and that the ideas they advised went nowhere, adding to the difficulty of getting parents to volunteer for the committees.
The three school board members listening to the complaints seemed surprised and dismayed and said the parents’ issues would be addressed. The parents had been invited to Tuesday’s meeting by committee chair Ref Rodriguez, who had asked to hear their concerns.
Some of the dozen speakers were community leaders and officers of major advisory committees to the school board. The Parent Advisory Committee, for example, has 47 parents who meet monthly downtown and come from all over the district, said Chairwoman Rachel Greene.
“We have people coming from Porter Ranch and San Pedro so it is difficult for some to get to the Central Area. But there are there are pros and cons for meeting centrally there are certain record-keeping requirements for [the Parent, Community and Social Services] to comply with that can be accomplished more easily there. And they do provide food and beverage for members there. If they start moving to Porter Ranch, the people from San Pedro will have something to say about it, and vice versa. But having some moving around is something to consider. Having a joint meeting with some of the other committees so we could hear others’ input could be good but could also be a burden. But as Mr. Mangandi mentioned, the lack of childcare is a problem.”
She said the parents who attend the meetings “were usually at some point stymied by LAUSD, or something went wrong with the district or their school down the street or the one that our children take hours to ride buses to get to. We want to work with you, I don’t think there is any other group of human beings who want to see this district succeed as much as we do.”