Johnson outpacing McKenna in school board race for money

Alex Johnson and George McKenna LAUSD

Alex Johnson (left), George McKenna (right)

Alex Johnson has opened a substantial lead over George McKenna in campaign support from individual donors and groups that support his candidacy even as major backers from the education reform camp and labor unions who have given millions in previous years appear to be sitting this election out. 

The two candidates are facing each other in an Aug. 12 runoff to fill LA Unified’s open District 1 board seat.

Despite finishing a distant second in the June 3 primary (winning 24 percent of the vote to McKenna’s 44 percent), Johnson has raised almost eight times what McKenna has in individual donations, nearly $48,000, to just under $6,500 for McKenna. Half of Johnson’s contributions are for the maximum $1,100.

Meanwhile, figures this morning from the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission show that Super PACs have spent more than $140,000 on behalf of Johnson — over $110,000 more than groups supporting McKenna. Super PACs are independent expenditure committees that must operate separately from a candidate’s campaign.

The Commission reports that the lion’s share of the money spent on behalf of Johnson — about $114,000 — comes from one organization, the African American Voter Registration, Education & Participation Project (AAVREP), a group founded in 2002 by LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Johnson works for him as an education advisor.

The Project says it’s the largest organized effort targeting African American and urban voters in California, registering more than 175,000 voters over the last 20 years. Its goal is to increase political participation among African American and urban voters.

Continue reading

LA Fed’s PAC recommends Johnson for LAUSD board seat

Alex Johnson LA Federation of Labor LAUSD

Alex Johnson, candidate for district 1 school board seat


The political action committee for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor has recommended to its members that they endorse Alex Johnson, in his bid for the open LA Unified school board seat.

It’s the first step in the group’s process for endorsing a candidate. The decision by the Committee on Political Education (COPE) now goes before the union’s board of directors, and if the board agrees with the recommendation, it goes before the assembly of members who would vote next week for a final and formal endorsement.

An earlier story on LA School Report misstated the union’s process for determining the endorsement, leading to the Aug. 12 runoff election for the LA Unified District 1 school board seat.

The Federation represents over 350 labor unions and more than 845,000 workers.

“I am proud and gratified to have the strong support of the Committee on Political Education of the L.A. County Federation of Labor in my campaign for the parents, students, school staff and teachers of LAUSD District 1,” Johnson said in an emailed statement.

“These remain economically challenging times for many working women and men. That’s why I strongly supported the $15 minimum wage sought by cafeteria workers, custodians, and other school support staff represented by SEIU Local 99.”

Johnson has received endorsements from more than a dozen union locals, while his opponent, George McKenna, has won support from two unions with much closer ties to the school district — those representing teachers (UTLA) and school administrators (AALA).

The value of any endorsements remains to be seen, however, especially if they do not come with major financial backing. Even with his labor endorsements for the June 3 general election, Johnson finished a distant second to McKenna in a field of seven candidates.

Further, few, if any, of Johnson’s individual donors are members of unions, and the bulk of his Super PAC support comes from a voter education group founded by his boss, LA Country Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and the state charter schools association.

McKenna, 74, enjoys widespread name recognition in the district, largely from his decades of work as a school administrator. Johnson, 33, is drawing on his work as an education aide to Ridley-Thomas, whose political ties have helped win much of Johnson’s support.

Previous Posts: McKenna, Johnson re-launch campaigns for school board seat; Johnson’s internal poll shows gains on McKenna in runoff; SEIU endorses Alex Johnson for LAUSD school board in runoff

* This version clarifies the steps the LA Federation takes to endorse a candidate.


Morning Read: Pension fund for CA teachers looking up

CalSTRS reports a big year of earnings
Riding the wave of record high stock prices on Wall Street, the fund providing pension benefits for California teachers and school administrators reported Monday that it earned a return of 18.66 percent on its assets for the year that ended June 30. EdSource

Before buying technology, asking ‘why?’
District leaders and other advocates of personalized learning frequently say that the approach isn’t about technology. But that’s easy for an administrator to say when every child in his or her district has a school-provided computer. EdWeek

Nurses help new moms navigate motherhood
Teaching new mothers the best way to read to their infants is just one of Leal’s many responsibilities as a home visiting nurse. Nurses like Leal offer pregnancy advice, monitor child development and explain parenting techniques to women who are young, low-income, or struggling with domestic abuse. EdSource

Allegations against ex-teacher at Marlborough School investigated
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating allegations that a teacher carried out an “inappropriate physical relationship” with a student at one of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private schools. Allegations that former Marlborough School English teacher Joe Koetters was involved with a student more than a decade ago surfaced just last week. LA Daily News

McKenna, Johnson re-launch campaigns for school board seat

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With less than a month before the runoff election for LAUSD’s district 1 board seat, the race between candidates George McKenna and Alex Johnson is heating up as both both candidates are re-launching their campaigns.

Over the weekend, McKenna, 74, a career school administrator, and Johnson, 33, an education aide to LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, held separate rallies to generate community support and answer questions about their campaigns.

Jewett Walker, McKenna’s campaign manager, told LA School Report that nearly 140 people gathered at McKenna headquarters, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters, representatives for Congresswoman Karen Bass and staff from the California School Employees Association (CSEA) Local 500.

“We thought we did a good job in mobilizing the community,” Walker said. “People were very enthusiastic.”

In fact, Jewett said, the event turned into an unexpected fundraiser. Over $7,000 in campaign contributions was collected, bringing the total of runoff campaign donations to more than $46,000. The largest amount, $1,100, came from CSEA and the rest from community donors.

With only five percent of voters expected to cast ballots, Jewett said the campaign intends to do what it can to re-energize voters, reminding them of the importance of every single vote.

“We’re going to call, we’re going to walk and we’re going to mail,” he said, adding that a low turnout can only benefit McKenna.

Continue reading

Vote-by-Mail request for District 1 school board starts today

vote by mail LAUSD special election runoff 2014Starting today, residents of LA Unfied’s District 1, which covers much of south LA, stretching north to Hollywood, can apply for a Vote by Mail ballot for the Aug. 12 special election runoff for LA Unified’s open school board seat. (For an application, click here).

The election, between George McKenna, a retired school administrator and Alex Johnson, education aide to County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is expected to attract even less interest from voters than did the primary on June 3. In that election, which coincided with a statewide primary, only 13 percent of registered voters turned out to pick from a field of seven candidates.

The winner will take the board seat left vacant by the sudden death last year of longtime board member Marguerite LaMotte.

Applications for Vote by Mail ballots must be received by the City Clerk’s office no later than 5 pm August 5th. Once voters receive their ballots, they can be mailed in or walked into any polling place on election day.

California law gives all voters the option to register for a Vote by Mail ballot.

For more information, click here.

Previous Posts: LAUSD candidates McKenna, Johnson set for election runoffLabor groups split on support for McKenna and Johnson in runoff; Former opponents pick sides in LA Unified District 1 run-off

Morning Read: Duncan must improve or resign, says AFT

Another teachers union ding for Arne Duncan
The American Federation of Teachers approved a resolution this afternoon calling for Education Secretary Arne Duncan to resign if he does not improve under a plan to be implemented by President Barack Obama. Politico

L.A. teachers union leader Caputo-Pearl links activism to strike
The new leader of the Los Angeles teachers union signaled a more militant stance toward the school district, including the possibility of a strike, at a national teachers union convention held downtown this weekend. LA Times

LAUSD asks judge to OK teacher abuse settlement after family balks
The Los Angeles Unified School District on Friday requested that a judge approve a settlement agreement with the family of a student who alleged that he was molested by a one-time Telfair Elementary School teacher. LA Times

Foster children become focus of California schools
California is embarking on a first-of-its-kind attempt to improve the academic lives of foster youth by giving schools more money to meet their special learning and emotional needs and holding educators and administrators accountable. LA Daily News

Districts continue shift away from zero-tolerance
Showing up late, texting in class and violating the school dress code are all considered minor infractions, but all have led to student out-of-school suspensions or expulsions. S&I Cabinet Report

Weingarten comes out swinging: attacking Vergara, Duncan

Weingarten at AFT conventionIn a fiery speech delivered to her core constituents, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers went on the assault today, taking on the verdict of the Vergara trial, criticizing Common Core testing and singling out political figures for reprimand.

Striking a more combative tone than she used earlier this month when she shared a stage with LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, Weingarten sounded more like an opponent to Democratic leaders than an ally. She rebuked Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Mayor Eric Garcetti, for ‘praising’ the verdict of the landmark Vergara case which ruled California teacher tenure laws can be detrimental to students, saying the union would push back against any public figures that supports the Vergara decision.

The verdict, she said, “pre-supposes that for kids to win, teachers must lose and nothing can be further from the truth… we will fight it – in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion.”

But she stopped short of calling for Duncan’s resignation. In contrast to her counterpart at the National Education Association convention last week. which passed a resolution for Duncan to resign, Weingarten navigated more carefully. “We need a Secretary of Education who walks our walk, and who fights our fight… we are deeply disappointed that this Department of Education has not lived up to that standard.”

When asked by reporters after the event if she supported the NEA action, she would only say that, “I would hope he listens to what people are saying.” She said that although the leadership would not present a resolution, it could still come from the floor. “I am 1000% percent behind any action that the members at the convention [take] on this issue.”

Speaking with passion to a packed room of union delegates from all over the country, Weingarten commended teachers on their deep commitment to education and to the children they serve. “We are the front lines for children, the first responders to poverty,” she said. “We must create new coalitions and through them the groundswell needed to reclaim the promise of America.”

But she spent the bulk of her hour-long speech railing on those she said were bent on the union’s destruction, and she urging the rank and file to not sit back. “While we will never out-spend our opponents, we can out-work them and out-organize them — but we have to vote.”

‘Fiscal mismanagement’ cited in closing 2 Magnolia charters

Magnolia Science Academy logo LAUSDLA School Report has learned that ‘fiscal mismanagement’ and a host of other irregularities are the reasons behind the sudden closure last month of two LA Unified charter schools, Magnolia Science Academy 6 and Magnolia Science Academy 7, according to a letter sent from LAUSD’s Charter Division.

Both are considered high-performing schools; MSA-6 is a middle school in Palms serving about 140 students, and MSA-7 is an elementary school in Van Nuys which serve 300 students.

The document was sent by the district on June 27, to the schools’ non-profit parent organization, Magnolia Public Schools (MPS) which operates 11 schools across the state, some of which have also been subject to scrutiny.

Mehmet Argin, Chief Executive Officer of MPS says the decision by LAUSD to rescind their charters came with no warning, leaving families with few options. “Shocked. I was just shocked and surprised,” he told LA School Report.

In the letter, the district outlined the results of its recent audit that found ‘significant’ problems including what it said was a state of financial insolvency, accounting and reporting irregularities, and governance issues. In all, the district says the schools were “unlikely to successfully implement program[s]” and therefore did not meet the bar for their conditional renewal.

According to the letter, the audit revealed that:

  • The parent company, MPS, met the IRS definition of being insolvent as of June 2013 and owed money to its schools. One of the schools Magnolia 6, also met the definition of insolvent, the other, Magnolia 7, operated in a deficit mode. Continue reading

Teachers union is in town, Vergara front and center

GOP leader asks Brown not to appeal teacher ruling Republican lawmakers on Thursday asked Gov. Jerry Brown to resist union pressure to appeal a Los Angeles judge’s decision striking down tenure and other job protections for California teachers SacBee/AP

Schools’ next test is getting tenure ruling to pay off in class If the ruling stands, the challenge for California will be to craft a system that offers stability to teachers but also gives districts the ability to manage their workforce so that the best teachers reach the students who need them most. LA Times

Teachers union to rally in L.A. against loss of job protections The AFT, at its national convention, will vote on a resolution that condemns the motivation behind Vergara v. California and Harris v. Quinn, in which the Supreme Court limited the right of unions to collect dues from non-members represented by unions. LA Times

What’s on Tap for the 2014 AFT Convention Let’s begin by reviewing why the AFT’s convention has such a different feel from that of its sister union. In comparison to the National Education Association’s annual gathering, the AFT’s convention is a lot less rowdy. There’s less pomp and circumstance. EdWeek

Commentary: Grounding Vergara in the Realities of Teaching in California Whether one supports or opposes the Vergara decision the ruling raises critical issues regarding teaching quality with which California policymakers soon must grapple in order to strengthen the state’s system of teaching and learning. EdWeek

Teachers’ union convention tackles pressing school issues Union delegates from across the nation are converging in downtown Los Angeles this morning to hear California’s governor and school superintendent and education experts speak at the opening day of the American Federation of Teachers convention.Daily News


LA Unified students find their inner artist with help from CalArts

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A group of 250 high school students from LA Unified and the surrounding area are putting finishing touches on their art projects this week under the guidance of college faculty and graduate students from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), a university focused on visual and performing arts.

Administered through Community Arts Partnership (CAP), an off-shoot of CalArts, the summer program is a three week intensive study for high school students with an arts passion. They work under the guidance of 28 CalArts students, and seven CalArts faculty members on the Ramone C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts campus in downtown LA.

Courses are offered, tuition-free, in seven disciplines – theatre, dance, music, visual arts, photography, creative writing and animation.

How to find schools that teach arts education in LAUSD

KPCC Arts Access Education Map Widget LAUSDSouthern California public radio station, KPCC, just launched a new map widget that identifies the level of arts education access at LA Unified’s elementary schools for the coming year.

According to KPCC’s findings, only 70 out of more than 500 elementary schools in the district will provide all four forms of arts education required by California law.

This is the first comprehensive survey of arts access in LA Unified in recent years. We at LA School Report think this is a really neat tool, and that you should take a look.

For a look at the map, click here, and to read the full story, here.


Morning Read: Firing Centinela Superintendent could take a month

Process for firing Centinela Superintendent could take a month
Although the Centinela Valley school board has voted to fire Superintendent Jose Fernandez following an investigation into his excessive pay, the process of terminating the embattled leader could take another month. LA Daily News

California’s top political watchdog agency looking into Inglewood school spending
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission said a KPCC investigation of misuse of public funds and possible violations of election reporting laws by Inglewood school officials has raised red flags. KPCC

Will the LCAP become just another obscure acronym?
Commentary: There is a danger that the Local Control and Accountability Plans recently adopted by every California school district will experience the same unfortunate fate as the School Accountability Report Cards, or SARCs, which all schools are still required to produce each year. Edsource

Why should unions negotiate for workers who don’t pay their fair share?
Op-ed: Requiring unions to offer free representation to workers who do not want a union in the first place makes no sense. Nor does it make sense to have a system in which workers can benefit from union representation without paying their fair share. LA Times

Mystery group sues over school physical education
Two desert school districts have been named in a far-reaching class-action lawsuit over inadequate physical education, but the suit springs from a tight-lipped nonprofit with no apparent past. Desert Sun

At AFT convention, teachers union expected to fire up the base

Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten, AFT President

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) kicks off its annual convention in downtown Los Angeles tomorrow bringing more 3,500 national union delegates to the home of LA Unified, the second largest school district in the country.

On the agenda: fending off what the union sees as its biggest threats, including billionaire money, an assault on tenure, and the “pervasive fixation on testing over teaching and learning,” according to a union press release.  A proposed hike in union dues is also on the table.

It is less clear whether the delegates will seek a resolution asking for the resignation of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as its counterpart, the National Education Association, did at its convention last week.

The gathering is attracting political and union heavy weights: AFT President, Randi Weingarten will deliver the keynote address Friday morning, following a speech by Governor Jerry Brown. Other speakers include Mayor Eric Garcetti, and California State School Superintendent Tom Torlakson, a teachers union ally who is facing a November re-election fight against education reformer Marshal Tuck.

AFT is the second largest teachers union in the country, representing 1.5 million teachers, health workers and school-related personnel nationwide.

Alex Caputo-Pearl, the newly installed president of the Los Angeles teachers union (UTLA) will lead a panel on social movement unionism that will include teachers union leaders from Chicago, St. Paul, and Philadelphia.

“It will be about how to take on some of the challenges that unions are facing by building a broader alliance with parents and community all around the quality schools agenda,” Caputo-Pearl told LA School Report.

“Obviously we’ll get to talk about some of the dilemmas we face in Los Angeles, like the billionaire funded Vergara lawsuit, as well as some of the problems with Superintendent John Deasy putting forward an unacceptable offer around pay,” he said.

The union is currently in contract negotiations with the district but appears to be at an impasse. UTLA leaders flatly rejected the district’s recent proposal of a 2 percent raise for 2014-15 plus a retroactive 2 percent bonus for 2013-14, calling it “insulting.”

Meanwhile in a letter to members posted on the convention website, AFT President Weingarten explained why she is recommending a dues hike, taking members’ annual contribution from the current $213 to $225 a year by 2015.

Continue reading

LA Unified to add more dual language immersion programs

LAUSD dual immersion program

Mural handcrafted by Broadway Elementary students

The LA Unified school district plans to expand its dual language immersion program next fall, adding Spanish language programs to three elementary schools in the district.

According to LAUSD officials, that brings the total number of dual language programs offered by the district to 57, including 43 in Spanish, 10 in Korean, and four in Mandarin.

Hilda Maldonado, the director of the multi-lingual department at LAUSD told LA School Report that the new programs are a result of the schools’ and communities desire for students with different backgrounds to study and gain fluency in both English and Spanish.

“The schools solicit to begin a program,” Maldonado said. “All we do is guide them and provide professional guidance building so they can be successful.”

The three new programs have been approved at Madison, Nightingale and Hooper elementary schools.

Dual language immersion programs are still few and far between in California but are growing in popularity; according to the California Department of Education there were 313 programs in California in 2011, mostly in Spanish. They offer a curriculum in two languages to the general student population -  not just to English language learners, but to English-only students as well.

That has allowed dual immersion to side-step the controversy surrounding bilingual education, an approach embraced by California in the 1990′s, which separated students with limited English from the main student population so they could be taught math, science and social studies in their ‘home’ language. By 1998, bilingual education was being blamed for an achievement gap in the immigrant population and was banned by Proposition 227. As a result, English language learners are required to receive academic instruction in English and then ‘reclassified’ as quickly as possible to join the rest of the student population.

Since the shut-down of bilingual education, dual immersion programs have emerged on a limited basis, only if parents help get a waiver from Prop 227.

Continue reading

Morning Read: Highly paid Centinela Valley superintendent fired

Centinela Valley school board fires embattled Superintendent Jose Fernandez
The Centinela Valley school board Tuesday night voted to fire Superintendent Jose Fernandez, ending a five-month chapter that began with revelations that the leader of the tiny school district might have been among the nation’s best-compensated public servants. The Daily Breeze

Arts education in schools could grow under LCFF
A program that brings painters, dancers, poets and other teaching artists into a number of schools across the state is likely to expand thanks to a one-time $5 million boost to the California Arts Council’s budget – a gift Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled late last month. S&I Cabinet Report

Inglewood school funds were used to attack former school board candidate
Public funds meant to educate Inglewood students were instead used to benefit a board member’s re-election campaign, court testimony and interviews show. The expenditures came as the school district began digging itself into a financial hole that ended with a state takeover. KPCC

LCAP library now open for readers
The LCAP is a three-year plan, updated annually, that lays out how a district will meet the conditions for school improvement and goals for student success that the Legislature set out in creating the new school funding formula. There is now an Internet site that lets you look up hundreds of districts’ Local Control and Accountability Plans – and to add your district’s LCAP to the mix. EdSource

Pension, pay hikes prove costly for LAUSD
Los Angeles Unified will dole out an extra $24.7 million this year to pay for rising employee pension costs after a series of state mandates left school districts largely to fund ailing retirement systems. The lion’s share of LAUSD’s increased cost — $16.3 million — will cover teacher pensions under the freshly passed AB 1469. LA Daily News

Former opponents pick sides in LA Unified District 1 run-off

District 1 George McKenna, Genethia Hudley-Hayes, Sherlett Hendy-Newbill and Rachel Johnson LAUSD

From left: Sherlett Hendy-Newbill, Genethia Hudley-Hayes, George McKenna, Rachel Johnson and Hattie McFrazier

Heading into the final month of the special election run-off to fill LA Unified school board’s District 1 seat, candidates George McKenna and Alex Johnson are collecting endorsements from former opponents.

The seat, which represents much of South LA, was left vacant when longtime school board member Marguerite LaMotte died in office late last year.

Today, reality-TV personality turned special education teacher, Omarosa Manigault, who came in fifth place during the primary race, threw her weight behind Johnson.

“Omarosa’s strong support of my runoff campaign will aid my efforts to connect with key voters before Election Day,” Johnson said in a statement.

“[She] shares my feeling that now is the time for a new generation of leadership to step forward with a broad coalition of support to implement a quality education agenda that will improve our schools and advance our children’s learning and achievement,”  Johnson said.

But the list of former adversaries now standing behind McKenna is much longer; Sherlett Hendy-Newbill, Genethia Hudley-Hayes, Rachel Johnson, and Hattie McFrazier have all lined up behind the veteran educator.

“I am honored to be endorsed by these accomplished women who have been committed to improving the educational outcomes for the children of Los Angeles,” McKenna said on his website.

“Each has a track record within the LAUSD as a teacher and/or board member and they are aware of the issues involved in the day-to day operations of classrooms and school sites.”

McKenna, a retired school administrator, nearly won the primary race outright in June with 44 percent of the vote. He is also backed by his former colleagues at the school administrators union (AALA), and by the powerful teachers union, UTLA.

But several other labor unions, including SEIU Local 99, have come down in favor of Johnson, education advisor to County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Johnson has also garnered a long list of elected officials statewide who support him.

Johnson trailed behind McKenna with 24 percent of the vote in the primary election.

District 1 spans across south and southwest Los Angeles and has more than 74,000 students in 92 traditional schools and 37 charter campuses.

The special election for the school board seat is Tuesday, August 12.

Previous Posts: LAUSD candidates McKenna, Johnson set for election runoffJohnson’s internal poll shows gains on McKenna in runoffHendy-Newbill endorses McKenna in the District 1 runoff

What LAUSD’s New Minimum Wage Means for My Family

LAUSD services workers mopping hallwaysBy Raul Meza | Via: Thinking L.A., a partnership of UCLA and Zócalo Public Square

The Worst Thing About My Job as a School Custodian Has Always Been the Pay. Now I’m Imagining What a Difference $15 Per Hour Will Make.

Monday through Friday, my full-time job is cleaning restrooms at Van Nuys High School. But that work is not the hardest part of my life. The hardest part is saying goodbye to my 4-year-old son when he asks me not to go to work again. In order to make ends meet, I also work weekends and nights.

I know I’m lucky to have a full-time job as a facility attendant in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I’ve done that for 10 years, and some days are better than others, but I like the work, and my co-workers are a supportive second family. We don’t interact much with students, but those of us who do custodial work are eyes and ears for teachers and administrators. If I see a student needs help of any kind, I take pride in letting the right people know.

The one thing that hasn’t been good about the job is the pay. When I started 10 years ago, I made $8.65 per hour; now I make $9.85 per hour. But I just learned that’s going to change. SEIU Local 99, the union that represents me and more than 30,000 other LAUSD school workers, just negotiated a new contract that will raise my pay to $15 per hour by 2016. This is a big deal for the 20,000 of us who make LAUSD’s lowest wages and are covered by the raises.

Read full story here.


Raul Meza works at Van Nuys High School and lives in Pacoima

Ouch! LAUSD to pay $1.1 billion for teacher pension rescue

Teacher Pension BailoutLA Unified must come up with $16 million this year to pay an unexpected bill as a result of legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown aimed at rescuing the state’s teachers retirement pension system known as CalSTRS, but the district’s total increase is much higher, estimated to reach an extra $1.1 billion over the next seven years.

While teachers and school districts across the state will see their contribution rates increase, LAUSD, the largest school district in the state, will pay the lions-share.

The rescue, which will help address a $74 billion shortfall in the teachers pension fund, requires school districts to radically raise their contributions to the fund from the current rate of 8.25 percent, to a rate of 19.1 percent by 2020. Teachers will see a more modest step up, from 8.15 percent to an eventual 10.25 percent of their salary, over the same seven year period. The state’s contribution will rise from 3 percent to 6.3 percent.

But In real dollar terms, the pension contribution price tag for LAUSD is steep: it will eventually more than double by the end of the phase-in period, from its current payment of $213 million per year, to $493 million per year by 2020.

“It is a daunting thought,” Dennis Meyers, executive director for governmental relations at the California School Board Association, told LA School Report.  “Districts were not expecting an increase in the 2014-2015 fiscal year so to have this plan to increase employer rates start so soon was a shock.”

“This doesn’t buy any more services for kids, this is a debt. It’s not going to result in   anything new or improved services for kids,” Meyers said.

According to Edgar Zazueta, LAUSD’s chief lobbyist, school districts requested a one year delay but were turned down.

“The governor’s office and the Legislature didn’t want to go there because they said if you delay a year, it will throw off the seven-year ramp up that the governor had proposed and what they would argue is that it would cost everyone more money.”

Superintendent John Deasy said in his budget report that the district should continue to find creative solutions to address fixed cost and long term liability issues.

Continue reading