South LA holding its own forum for LA Unified superintendent input
Mike Szymanski | November 12, 2015
As many as 200 parents, teachers and students are expected to attend a community forum, starting at 5 p.m. today at Santee High School, to provide input into the LAUSD superintendent search.
The meeting was scheduled to reach people that the organizers say weren’t included in the search firm’s recent compilation profile from surveys and other community meetings.
Many of those expected to attend are in a “forgotten” part of south Los Angeles, said the meeting’s organizer, activist Jose Lara, who is also a member of the LA teachers union board. He described the area as an unusual section of the city because it’s where students attend a school in board member Mónica García’s district but live in districts represented by Ref Rodriguez or Richard Vladovic.
“None of the input sessions have been held in this part of south LA, which is always ignored,” Lara said. “So we decided to host our own town hall.”
Staff members from Mónica Ratliff and Garcia’s offices plan to attend the meeting, gather the information and report the findings directly to the school board, which is hoping to hire a new superintendent before the end of the year.
“Mónica García has taken a special interest in this school and the input from this area because she used to teach within walking distance of the school,” Lara said.
Lara said he invited members of the search firm, Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, but hasn’t heard if any plan to attend. The search firm said it was open to having private and public meetings with any group requesting them, but Lara said he did not request such a meeting because he wanted input from this area sent directly to members of the school board.
“We will send our findings directly to the school board,” he said. “And I hope they will be listened to. All of the LAUSD search firm’s input sessions have been poorly attended.”
School board president Steve Zimmer told LA School Report that community input and feedback did not end with the two weeks of community forums and surveys. He said the board will welcome input throughout the process, although the list of final candidates would be kept secret.
Today’s forum expects to have many more attendees than the search firm’s forums because of the involvement of community leaders. The event will be in Spanish and English and will include a survey of open-ended questions.
A panel scheduled to explain the search process and the duties of the superintendent includes: Martha Sanchez, of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and an LA Unified parent; Holly Jackson, a teacher at Mack Elementary School and an LA Unified parent; Jorge Nuño, chief executive officer of Nuevo South and an LA Unified parent; and Ingrid Villeda, a member of the UTLA board and parent of an LAUSD graduate.