With 2 votes, LA Unified board moves beyond usual boundaries

George McKenna LA UnifiedLA Unified lawyers will start taking on student deportation cases on a pro-bono and volunteer basis, making it the first school district in the country to represent immigrant children.

Under the new legal program called AYUDA — that’s Spanish for “help” — district lawyers will provide legal aid to a small number of unaccompanied minors at their deportation proceedings, beginning in April. The cases will be pre-screened by outside organizations with expertise in immigration law and will not interfere with the day-to-day duties of the district’s attorneys.

Approval of that program and a resolution involving farm workers in the Central Valley, highlighting an otherwise routine board meeting yesterday, demonstrated the members’ eagerness to assume a more holistic approach to issues affecting students and families even if it has no direct bearing on improving standardized test scores, closing the achievement gap or boosting high school graduation rates.

Nonetheless, the district made clear that it was not hesitant to step in policy areas generally left to other government agencies when the issues intersect with the lives of those living within its boundaries.

But concerns were raised, as well, prior to each vote of approval. Board member George McKenna was especially eloquent, asking where to draw the line when opportunities present themselves to aid students and their families. While expressing support for the immigration help, he wondered it the district were over stepping its responsibility to students, setting an untenable precedent.

“There have been numerous times in the past when our children and their families have needed support and this is the first time I have heard of this district representing itself as being the respondent to legal services pro-bono,” he told the board.

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LA Unified board has pro-bono work, food on its meeting plate

after school supper program LAUSD* UPDATED

Why put off until tomorrow . . .well, you get the idea.

In the case of the LA Unified school board, the answer is that sometimes you don’t have the votes. Which is exactly what happened last month on a resolution to allow district lawyers to work pro-bono on student deportation cases through a program called AYUDA.

What initially seemed like a slam dunk, do-gooder proposal, was quickly derailed by questions regarding exactly how the volunteer program would work. So rather than take a vote, the board put it off to tomorrow’s monthly meeting. But it’s unclear if the resolution has picked up any support from resistant board members in the intervening weeks.

The LA Times Editorial board weighed in on the issue late last week, advising the board to take a hard pass, writing, “To set itself up as a de facto immigration legal service constitutes a troubling level of mission creep…Better for L.A. Unified to let lawyers decide what kind of pro bono work they want to do instead of making value decisions about which ones it will allow.”

Board member Steve Zimmer and President Richard Vladovic are bringing back a food contract they want to see suspended because they say the company is not in compliance with the state’s Fair Labor Practices for agricultural vendors.

They contend in their resolution that Gerawan Farming, one of the country’s largest suppliers of peaches, plums and other fruit, is under consideration for new contacts but according to lawyers for the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board it has cheated employees of “many millions of dollars they are owed” and refused to sign a new union contract issued by the ALRB.

Dan Gerawan told LA School Report today that the district has portrayed the situation incorrectly. He said his company currently has no contracts with LA Unified nor is seeking any. He also said his company has not been found to have violated any rules or regulations regarding its relationship with workers and the district’s resolution is being driven by the United Farm Workers, a union he insisted his employees do not want.

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LA Unified seeking new CIO, knowledge of MiSiS helps

Help-WantedHelp wanted: LA Unified is seeking a new Chief Information Officer to fill the post previously held by Ron Chandler, who resigned in October under intense pressure following the disastrous rollout of MISIS.

All you have to be is “a dynamic, results oriented technology leader with an exceptional background to lead our Information Technology Division.”

And all you have to do is straighten out the MiSiS mess, more or less.

According to a district press release this week, the ideal candidate will “be a forward-looking leader capable of influencing and galvanizing others in a shared view of the future.”  Applicants should have experience in large public, private, government, or non-profit organizations, while experience in public education is “a plus.”

What’s less clear is whether the new CIO will report to Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill or vice versa. About a month ago, Hill was put in charge of overseeing the Information Technology Department under a wide spread restructuring of the district’s top level management by Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

The district didn’t return a message seeking clarification.

How much does the vacant post it pay? Well, it’s not chump change: It tops out at $223,186, which is about five times what a school board member makes.

Click here to apply and lotsa luck.

LA Unified deficit recedes, but enrollment drop portends trouble

Megan Reilly

LAUSD CFO Megan Reilly

It turns out LA Unified’s money woes aren’t so bad — for now, anyway.

Shortly before the end of the calendar year, Superintendent Ramon Cortines and other district officials were forecasting a deficit of $320 million, sometimes closer to $350 million. But that was before Governor Jerry Brown proposed his new budget.

Now, the district’s revised estimated shortfall is a quarter of the original — about $88 million.

Megan Reilly, Chief Financial Officer for the district, told school board members yesterday much of the difference is being made up by an increase of $240 million in Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) revenue, which aims to return district funding to 2007-08 levels.

“LCFF makes up 76 percent of our total general fund,” she said.

That means per pupil funding next year will go up to $9,322 from $8,403 this year. Still, that falls far below the goal of just over $11,000 per student. And it leaves the district 18 percent shy of the overall budget target.

“And remember, having a target or meeting the target is not the same thing as having adequacy,” Reilly said.

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Deasy to work for Broad Center as ‘superintendent-in-residence’

John-Deasy

Former LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy

Former LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy will be working as a consultant for The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems as a “superintendent-in-residence.” The center is a leadership academy for school administrators, which is funded by Eli Broad, a longtime Deasy supporter and powerful financier of California education reform efforts.

Deasy resigned in October under pressure due to mounting criticism of his managerial style and several bungled technology initiatives. Since resigning, criticism of his three-and-a-half year tenure has continued, in particular since the FBI seized files in December related to his $1.3 billion iPad program as part of a federal grand jury investigation. Deasy continued to be paid by the district through December.

Deasy’s role with the Broad Center was announced in a press release on its website and was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The center’s mission is to “raise student achievement by recruiting, training and supporting leadership talent from across America to transform urban school systems,” according to its website.

However, the Broad Center and related Broad Academy are viewed with great skepticism by some in California education. As the Times pointed out, the academy “is regarded with suspicion by some, especially union activists, who have long speculated that Broad wanted leaders better trained to outmaneuver and weaken unions representing school employees, especially the teachers union.”

The Broad Center’s press release announcing his new role touted Deasy’s accomplishments.

“John Deasy’s long history of boosting opportunity and achievement for all kids is a testimony to his relentless drive for social justice and fundamental belief in what’s possible when school systems are organized around what is best for students,” said Christina Heitz, managing director of The Broad Academy, in the press release.

Deasy oversaw a rise in graduation rates and student test scores along with a fall in dropout rates during his tenure at LA Unified. It’s unclear whether he would be held accountable by the federal grand jury investigation into possible bid rigging with the iPad program, which sought to put an iPad in the hands of every LA Unified student and teacher.

Federal grand jury proceedings are secret, but the files seized in October were related to the program’s procurement process, for which Deasy was criticized for the perception that he may have tilted the bid in favor of Apple and Pearson, the company that provided educational software for the iPads.

Deasy halted the program in August when emails were publicly released showing a high level of communication Deasy and a former deputy had with Apple and Pearson.

 

LA Unified board to considering helping fight off deportation

(Photo: Immigration and Customs Enforcement website)

(Photo: Immigration and Customs Enforcement website)

LA Unified doesn’t track how many undocumented students are enrolled in the district, but a new resolution could pave the way for providing legal aid to a small number of unaccompanied minors at their deportation proceedings.

The school board will vote tomorrow to approve a program called AYUDA – Advocating for Youth Unaccompanied in Deportation Actions. If passed upon request from the district’s legal department, the measure would authorize LA Unified attorneys to handle a limited number of deportation cases for unaccompanied minors residing within district boundaries, on a pro bono basis.

“Only some attorneys, those who want to, will be taking on these cases,” Monica Carazo, a district spokesperson told LA School Report.

District lawyers will have the chance to volunteer for the assignments, working an average of two to three hours per week on individual cases, she said.

“It’s going to be a small, manageable amount of time for each attorney, and it won’t interfere with their regular work load,” she added.

At most, the district will represent five to ten students, according to Carazo. Few, if any, of the district’s lawyers have a background in immigration law, so they’ll be getting extra assistance from local legal organizations.

Currently, there are more than 900,000 undocumented students who live in the United States and are under 18 years of age.

LA Unified is not the first agency to offer unaccompanied minors legal help. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors plans to set aside more than $2 million for legal aid for minors and families over the next two years. And Governor Jerry Brown, last year, introduced a bill aimed at allocating $3 million in legal aid for unaccompanied children.

Ex-LAUSD board president Young taking over Magnolia charters

Caprice Young

Caprice Young

* UPDATED

Magnolia Public Schools, which has fought bitterly with the LA Unified school board to keep several of its schools open, has turned to an old LAUSD hand to take over its leadership.

Caprice Young, a long-time education reform advocate and former school board president has been named Magnolia’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Young confirmed her appointment in a text message to LA School Report.

Young served four years on the LA Unified school board, from 1999 to 2003, and worked closely with then superintendent Roy Romer in helping the district make gains in student achievement and in launching an ambitious program of school facilities renewal. She served as board president in her last two years.

During her first year on the board, Young and her colleagues launched a complete overhaul of the district’s organizational structure.

Young plans to continuing working part-time through April in her current post as President of the National Charter Resource Center. Then, she intends to start full-time with Magnolia, which operates 11 schools across the state. Many of them have been subject to recent scrutiny over management practices.

But her resume could serve as a chronology of the education reform movement, making her an ideal choice to lead the group. After leaving the district, she founded the California Charter Schools Association and served as its first president. It has grown to become one of nation’s most powerful state associations and accelerated the growth of charter schools throughout the state.

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‘Good Food’ resolution may be bad news for some food companies

LAUSD-students-eating-lunch-e1411425345457

With the passing of the LA Unified school board’s “Good Food” resolution in December, a number of giant vendors the district does business with will be forced to change their practices or lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts.

Tyson Foods in particular, which supplies much of the district’s chicken in a five-year $754 million contract with eight other major food companies, is not currently in a position to meet the district’s new standards for antibiotic-free chicken, according to a report by Reuters. A new five-year chicken contract, along with beef and other items, is scheduled to be negotiated by the school board this spring.

“The effects of this could be quite far reaching. We do intend to use the contracting process to leverage important changes in the large agricultural industry,” said LA Unified board member Steve Zimmer, who co-sponsored the resolution along with Bennett Kayser and Richard Vladovic.

The Good Food resolution partners LA Unified with five other districts — New York, Dallas, Chicago, Miami-Dade County and Orlando County — as part of the Urban School Food Alliance. Alliance members will use their purchasing power together to “drive quality up and costs down while incorporating sound environmental practices,” according to its website.

Aside from antibiotic-free chicken, the Good Food resolution requires the district to emphasize certain priorities when negotiating food contracts with vendors, including finding locally-sourced food that offers “generous portions of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains; reducing salt, added sugars, fats, and oils; and by eliminating artificial additives.” It also calls for using vendors that meet certain environmental standards and are proven to provide a safe environment for workers and a cruelty-free environment for livestock.

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Heavy rains caused little disruption across LA Unified

rainLA Unified escaped major disruptions because of the rainstorm that swept across the region last night and this morning.

Mark Hovatter, the district’s Chief Facilities Director, told LA School Report today that power was reported out in only four schools, and three were back to normal by mid-morning with one remaining to be rectified by this afternoon.

He also said the district got 203 calls about leaky roofs, which the district immediately placed into three categories: emergency, for those needing immediate repair; urgent and routine.

He said the 40 calls classified as urgent have been repaired, the 121 “urgent” calls would be addressed by the end of the day, and the 42 “routine” problems would be fixed within 30 days.

One benefit to the rain: Fixing roofs, Hovatter said, “is one of our priorities, on the top of the list.”

Cost to modernize every LAUSD school? Think $40 billion

Crumbling building* UPDATED

Members of an LA Unified board committee were told today that the district would need 10 times current funding to address the capital needs of all district schools.

The board’s Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee was shown a power point presentation that said the cost of capital improvements necessary to modernize every district school would exceed $40 billion.

Impossible, of course, leaving LAUSD officials an alternative approach, developing a priority list of needs. Those highest on the priority list would include schools with “failing” buildings systems and those that need improvements to insure earthquake safety.

The presentation — from Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter and Krisztina Tokes, Director of Asset Management — showed that more than a quarter of the needed spending of $4.3 billion, 26 percent, would be earmarked for buildings in “critical condition” and 21 percent for those in need of earthquake upgrades.

In the first group, the problems in need of attention are anything from replacing air conditioning systems to upgrading fire safety equipment to constructing permanent buildings in place of portables.

Hovatter said the money for the upgrades would come from the $7.8 billion in bond authority the district has, based on the $7 billon Measure Q sale and the unsold bonds remaining from measures Y and R.

“It is not exactly ‘money in the bank’ because we have not sold the bond yet and we haven’t collected taxes from our tax base to pay off the bonds, but we do have voter authority to sell the bonds as long as we fall within our debt ceiling capacity,” he told LA School Report. “We are currently projecting it will take us 10 to 15 years to sell all of the bonds we are currently authorized to sell and still be within our debt capacity limits.”

Aging but operational buildings would likely not addressed under the plan, the committee was told.


* Corrects upgrade needs to $40 billion. A previous version said $80 billion.

LAUSD invests in teacher prep, MLK Jr. Elementary at 100 years

school report buzz

At its meeting this week, the LA Unified board directed Superintendent Ramon Cortines to expand the teacher prep Career Ladder program, which helps supports district employees who want to become teachers.

The resolution opens the program by another 300 participants, beginning next July. According to statistics cited in the resolution, enrollment in teacher preparation programs across California has been declining, to fewer than 20,000 in 2012-13 from a high of 77,700 a dozen years ago. This had led to a shortage of bilingual, mathematics, science and special education teachers.

“This is how we build the next generation of teachers and of leaders, and who our teachers are matters. It is just as important to know your student as it is to know your subject and nothing, nothing is as important as shared experience,” board member Steve Zimmer, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said in a district press release.

 

State gets D+ grade in teacher prep

And speaking of teacher preparation … just as LAUSD is looking to invest in teacher prep comes a report from the National Council on Teacher Quality that gives California a D+ grade in teacher preparation.

Among the problems the “State Teacher Policy Yearbook” found is that “with no minimum GPA or test of academic proficiency required for admission to teacher preparation programs, California sets a low bar for the academic performance of the state’s prospective teachers.”

Click here to read the full report.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School celebrates 100 years

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Exposition Park is celebrating its 100-year anniversary today at 1:30 p.m. with an event that includes student speeches and performances, alumni presentations, attendance of former teachers and administrators and school board member George McKenna, according to a LAUSD press release

The school, formerly called Santa Barbara Avenue Elementary School, was renamed in 1984 a year after the street was also named after the famed civil rights leader.

 

LA Unified seeks volunteers for Young Men of Color initiative

LA Unified is hosting a dinner and training session for potential volunteers looking to join the district’s Young Men of Color Initiative. The event starts at 4:30 p.m. today at the auditorium in the LAUSD Parent Community Services Student Services building at 1360 West Temple St.

Another training session is scheduled for Jan. 20.

According to a district press release, volunteers will meet monthly at a local high school with younger men who need help to succeed in class, and in life. For information, call LA Unified’s Parent Community Services Branch at (213) 481-3350.

 

LAUSD hires outside lawyers to help with grand jury probe

grand juryLA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines said today the district is hiring outside lawyers to assist in any matter that might arise out of the grand jury investigation of the district’s procurement of digital devices.

Cortines said the lawyers would provide legal advice should the authorities seek to interview or subpoena district officials as part of the investigation.

“I am advised that such investigations typically take a very long time and that we may not hear back from the federal agencies for months,” Cortines said in a brief statement, issued by the district. “However, when we hear back, they may request to interview individuals or subpoena them to testify before a grand jury.  They also may decide not to proceed if they determined that there were no grounds to move forward.

Grand jury investigations are generally conducted with great secrecy, which means it remains unclear whether the focus of the probe is LA Unified or any of the companies involved in the procurement process.

 

LAUSD offering Chromebooks as iPad option, but not a test run

Google ChromebookIf the LA Unified School Board tomorrow approves another $13 million in bond money for digital devices for Smarter Balanced exams next spring, school principals are likely to get a choice of Apple iPads or Google Chromebooks.

Chromebooks are about $100 cheaper, and some principals may prefer them. But there’s one problem: Even as Superintendent Ramon Cortines is urging school leaders to decide which device is better for their students, the district has done little to educate principals on the benefits of the Chromebook, let alone offer training.

“I’ve never even held a Chromebook in my hands,” Steve Martinez, principal at John Burroughs Middle School in Hancock Park told LA School Report.

Martinez is one of 27 principals who were promised iPads in Phase 2B of the one-to-one program, only to be told twice that they’d have to wait a little longer. He says he’s received ample professional development training on “all of the capabilities of the iPad” both in the classroom and for the Smarter Balanced test.

But he can’t say the same for the Chromebook, leaving principals to make a choice between a product they know and one they don’t.

“I need a demo. The district needs to have a demo day so we can see the differences between the products in action,” he said, adding that if that doesn’t happen, he plans to buy one or two Chromebooks using the school’s discretionary funds. “That can give us a little extra time with them before we have to make our decision. We only get once chance at this.”

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JUST IN: LA Unified increases salary offer to UTLA

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract Negotiations* UPDATED

LA Unified today increased its salary offer to the teachers union, UTLA, offering a one-year deal with a 6 percent increase.

The district said in a press release the money would be distributed through a 2 percent ongoing salary increase retroactive to July 1; a 2 percent lump-sum payment based on 2013-14 earnings; and a 2 percent one-time payment for the 2014-15 school year to be paid at the end of this school year.

The union did not directly respond to the district proposal, which is not far off its original offer of a three-year package that included the lump sum of 2 percent for last year, 2 percent for this year and next and 2.5 percent for the following year, with the last two years contingent on the district budget. The contingency was later dropped.

Both versions were flatly rejected by the union, which moved from a 17.6 salary raise demand over three years to a one-year deal at 10 percent.

The new wrinkle in today’s district proposal is that the combined 6 percent would be paid within a period of a few months, with an agreement to continue negotiating raises for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

As UTLA pointed out on its website, “the District is still only offering a 2% salary increase.”

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LAUSD reaches tentative agreement with Teamsters 572

UTLA contract proposal to DeasyLA Unified and Teamsters Local 572, the union which represents school administrative assistants and several other school supervisory staff groups, have reached a tentative new agreement.

The three-year agreement includes a number of items, including changes to some food service practices, allowing employees to participate in a semi-monthly pay cycle, the creation of an advisory committee on “respectful treatment” and inclusion of religious creed language to the non-discrimination article, according to a LA Unified press release.

“This supplemental agreement provides important job protections and opportunities for the members of Unit S,” said Vivian Ekchian, chief labor negotiator for LA Unified, in the release. “Both teams worked diligently and efficiently to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion.”

The two sides had previously reached an agreement on salary. The new agreement still needs to be approved by unit members and the school board.

“We are looking forward to presenting this tentative agreement to our members for ratification,” Adriana Salazar Avila, business representative from Teamsters Local 572, said in the release. “Although we did not reach an agreement on every proposal, the committee members were confident they are working with an organization that is committed to continue working on these items without the need for a contractual requirement to do so. We are confident that our membership will feel the same.”

 

LA Unified makes new hires — despite an on-going hiring freeze

LA Unified's Ruth Perez

LA Unified’s Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Ruth Perez

While LA Unified officials yesterday dealt with the FBI probe into the district’s controversial iPad program, the school board approved a wave of new instructional hires and promotions despite an on-going hiring freeze.

The personnel changes continue a shake-up at the highest levels of the organizational chart that began when Superintendent Ramon Cortines arrived just over a month ago.

Justo Avila, Chief of Human Resources, described it as a “realignment” of the instructional and curriculum arm of the district under the leadership of Ruth Perez, who was also recently hired. Her post sat vacant for more than seven months, following the abrupt resignation of Jaime Aquino.

“[Perez] is organizing her staff in accordance with a plan she has to deliver better instruction to the kids,” Avila told LA School Report.

In all, the board approved six changes, doling out raises ranging from $4,700 to nearly $25,000 annually — this, despite the hiring freeze announced by Cortines at the end of October.

At the time Cortines wrote in a memo, “Although initiating a more stringent hiring freeze is not something that I wish to do, I feel that it is not only necessary but a prudent approach to an inevitable reality.”

He cited a “significant deficit” as the reason for the freeze, which was set to begin Dec 1 and continue through Jan 30.

But when asked if the recent hires conflict with Cortines’s edict, district spokesman Thomas Waldman said no.

“These are not new hires, which is what Mr. Cortines addressed in his statement about a hiring freeze,” Waldman said.

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LA Unified board returning momentarily into public view

Richard Vladovic elected as LAUSD board president for 2014-2015 yearThe LA Unified school board, gathering again tomorrow, will appear in open session long enough to hear the introduction of a largely symbolic measure, a resolution to support President Obama’s executive order on immigration.

Then, the members will disappear into a closed meeting to review the usual subjects of closed meetings — personnel moves, litigation and the status of labor negotiations, which is now largely focused on the teachers union, UTLA, which remains without a contract.

So far, it’s hard to discern whether the district and UTLA are making any progress toward a new agreement, which would be the first since George W. Bush was still president. For the most part, negotiating sessions have been defined by position-taking, with little effort by either side to find a middle ground.

With that as a backdrop, union president Alex Caputo-Pearl has been asking his members, “Are you ready for a fight,” which taken to its logical conclusion would suggest a strike. A strike would appear to remain some distance off, inasmuch as the district and union have not gotten down to the business of “bargaining” in the conventional sense.

But a strike would seem a perfect denoument to this academic year in LA Unified, already buffeted by the languid pace of digital device distribution, the inept rollout of the student data tracking system known as MiSiS and a turnover in the superintendent’s office.

Anyway, negotiators for the union and the district are scheduled to meet up again on Thursday. One can only hope for the best. Or, at least, progress.

 

For LAUSD, more Chromebooks, iPads means more confusion

la-1418303-0426-me-0428-lopez-ipads1-mam-jpg-20130426Announcing the next phase of the digital device program to buy more iPads and Chromebooks was the easy part. Carrying it out is another issue.

While LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines was pretty clear on how he expected it to proceed, others in the district are not so sure.

The district’s Chief Facilities Director says the choice of devices might not be so wide as Cortines suggested, and at least one board member is uncertain how it will all play out.

Last week Cortines gave the go-ahead to spend capital improvement funds to outfit 27 schools with tablet devices and 21 schools with laptops — the so-called Phase 2B. The so-called Phase 2A authorized devices for 11 schools.

In a written statement, Cortines said school principals “will be key in determining which educational tools are best for their school communities” and added that this round would include “more options than previous phases.”

But Mark Hovatter, the facilities director whose department oversees the procurement of devices, says school leaders will only have two choices: iPads pre-loaded with Pearson curriculum or Chromebooks with content developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“Those are the only two that are within the budget that the board has authorized,” Hovatter told LA School Report. “They already approved Phase 2B under that contract.”

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Just In: LAUSD settles Miramonte civil cases for $139 million

LA UnifiedThe Los Angeles Unified School District has just announced a settlement today in civil cases stemming from the actions of a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School. The school district resolved the remaining Miramonte litigation at issue for a total of $139,250,000.

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of the students we serve,” said Superintendent Ramon Cortines. “Our goal from the outset of these appalling revelations has been to spare the Miramonte community the anguish of a protracted trial, while at the same time being mindful of the financial consequences stemming from settlements. Given these circumstances, we believe we struck a balance between those objectives.”

Check back with LA School Report later for more details.

LAUSD bond panel OKs another $25 million for MiSiS, devices

Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill

Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill

The LA Unified Bond Oversight Committee today agreed to approve another $25 million in bond fund spending to help the district fix MiSiS problems and equip schools with computers for standardized testing in the Spring.

A team of district officials, including Superintendent Ramon Cortines, made lengthy presentations to the nine member committee, insisting that in both cases the district would fail to comply with state and federal mandates without the additional financial help.

About $12.1 million of the money approved today is intended to provide a series of temporary “band aids” for MiSiS that will cover the costs of fixing bugs, stabilizing district servers so they can handle high volumes of traffic, and adding customer support and help desk staff. It will also pay for the implementation of MiSiS at the district’s charter schools, which the district has delayed doing despite a legal obligation.

“That part has been really difficult to do,” Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill told the committee, referring to computer systems that would prove incompatible with MiSiS. “What we found is that the charter systems have bolted on other applications and tools to their data management systems and given the number of charters we have, it’s very difficult to get them into MiSiS.”

Hill estimates it will cost about $1.3 million to integrate them into the student data management system.

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