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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Long-awaited LAUSD report calls MiSiS ‘grossly inadequate’

computer-errorThe long awaited Inspector General report on LA Unified’s botched MiSiS program found the development and implementation of the student data management system “grossly inadequate,” lacking sufficient resources, oversight and management.

While the report, requested by board member Tamar Galatzan, took three months to complete, the overall findings by the district’s Inspector General, Ken Bramlett, largely echoed observations made in an analysis by Arnold Viramontes, issued two weeks ago.

Bramlett’s report did, however, exceed the Viramontes’ work by providing many more details of flaws and mistakes, occasionally revealing facts unknown before.

For example, Bramlett said that in July, Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill attempted to postpone the rollout by a year, after he “became sufficiently alarmed by the problems that surfaced from the rollout at the summer schools and Bell High School.”

But by that point, “it was concluded that by then it was too late to switch back to the legacy system for the August school opening,” Bramlett wrote.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines said in a statement late this afternoon Bramlett’s report “validates concerns over rolling out the student record system . . . and lays bare the work ahead for the District.”

He added, “Though seeing improvement, the problems will take more time to fix, perhaps the rest of the school year. That period is required to create the system that L.A. Unified deserves. Toward that goal, we continue to make steady progress.”

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LAUSD board votes to add Ethnic Studies to schools’ curriculum

Supporters of Ethnic Studies rally outside LAUSD headquarters (Credit: Twitter user @ManuelCriollo)

Supporters of Ethnic Studies rally outside LAUSD headquarters (Credit: Twitter user @Manuel Criollo)

The LA Unified school board last night took the first step in making ethnic studies a required course for graduation by 2019, making it the second district in the country to adopt such a measure.

The resolution, proposed by board members Bennett Kayser, George McKenna and Steve Zimmer passed with Tamar Galatzan casting the only vote against the measure, after a lengthy and (somewhat) confusing discussion on what the addition of the new subject might entail.

It was a rousing victory for hundreds of students, teachers, and community activists who were at the board meeting supporting the resolution even as the final version of the proposal passed with little specificity.

What the board did agree on is that the curriculum will be phased in over the next three years, beginning with a pilot program in at least five high schools. It will become compulsory for the class of 2019. The board also charged Superintendent Ramon Cortines with overseeing a committee responsible for making recommendations on how to implement the curriculum, as early as next semester.

Among the questions that remained unanswered is how much it will cost to implement the course across all 124 high school campuses in the district; how it fits into the existing curriculum; which ethnic groups will be studied; and, what if any existing required courses it may displace.

“My concern is that there’s no money attached to the resolution,” Board Member Monica Garcia said before she voted in favor. “Whether it’s $3.4 million or $30 million, an action without a budget is nothing.”

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Cortines tells LA Unified board MiSiS fix needs another year

Ray Cortines Oct 21, 2014LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines told the school board today that the beleaguered MiSiS program will need at least another year of remediation before it functions properly.

“The MiSiS project isn’t going to be a quick fix,” he said, as if that came as much of a surprise. “It’s estimated that it will take a minimum of a year to fix it.”

Cortines said he has taken steps to expedite work on the issues, including bringing in a squad of experts from Microsoft and dozens of retirees to help out in schools. He also said he would make efforts to seek help from “all who use it,” such as teachers and administrators.

The MiSiS program, a student data tracking system rolled out this year with considerable difficulty, has resulted in students placed in the wrong classes or no classes at all. It has also morphed into a big issue with the teachers union, UTLA, whose president, Alex Caputo-Pearl, blasted it in remarks before the board, calling it one of former Superintendent John Deasy‘s “autocratic decisions.”

Caputo-Pearl said MiSiS was “looking sexy but hurting students.”

Ratliff resolution for more school police money meets resistance

LA Unified board member Monica Ratliff

LA Unified board member Monica Ratliff

Board member Monica Ratliff’s effort to quantify how much LA Unified spends on legal defenses to redirect the funds toward student safety improvement programs, ran into a barrage of opposition this morning as the district board began a long day of meetings.

Ratliff introduced two resolutions in an open session meeting. One seeks to add an adult to every district classroom and the second would add police officers to any school that requests extra security. But it was the latter of the two met with heavy criticism from several community groups.

“This resolution is extremely troubling for us,” Zoe Rawson, a lawyer with the Community Rights Campaign told the board. The non-profit group has worked closely with the district to implement restorative justice programs.

“This is a step backwards in terms of the work that we have done together over many many years…It’s a passive response to school safety to just assign a police officer to an elementary campus when we know that there’s more proactive intervention strategies,” she said.

Manuel Criollo, an organizer with the same group, said he is confused by Ratliff’s motion. “Just last year she was against expanding the budget for school police,” he said, referring to her efforts to block an increase in school police funding and reallocate the money to expanding the district’s janitorial staff.

The board will take up the vote when it comes back from closed session later today.

‘Good Food’ guidelines on LA Unified board meeting table

LAUSD students eating lunchBoard Member Steve Zimmer has food on his mind.

When the LA Unified school board gathers again tomorrow, Zimmer will be seeking a detailed and comprehensive look at how the district spends more than a $100 million to buy food and deliver meals to students throughout the district.

He is proposing a wide ranging resolution to adopt “Good Food” purchasing guidelines that “can support a regional food system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially responsible.”

“Of all the issues that I’ve brought to the board, this is in the top five,” Zimmer told LA School Report.

“It’s probably the first time that we will, with meaningful implications, say that we are going to hold ourselves to the highest standards for the ethical treatment of the people who work on the food chain from beginning to end, the humane treatment of animals, and the extent of the stomping of the environment that we do as a result of serving this many meals every day,” he said.

The district spends upwards of $120 million a year on feeding students. The board renews food procurement contracts every five years.

In 2012 the board adopted a resolution co-sponsored by Zimmer and former board member, Nury Martinez, establishing “Good Food” guidelines, but he says, at the time, “there wasn’t this imminent major procurement process. Now it’s game on. It’s where the rubber hits the road.”

Under the new guidelines the district would seek to negotiate with local, small to mid-sized agricultural and food processing operators, source from environmentally sustainable food producers that use little to no synthetic pesticides or hormones, pay employees a fair wage, and provide healthy and humane care for livestock.

“I expect it to be a pitched battle,” he said.

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Commentary: More study needed on LAUSD ethnic studies


By Tamar Galatzan | Via Los Angeles Daily News

At first glance, the proposal to increase the number of ethnic studies classes in Los Angeles Unified schools sounds like a good idea. After all, students would undoubtedly benefit from a deeper understanding of their neighbors and themselves.

However, the resolution scheduled for a school board vote on Tuesday would also make Los Angeles Unified only the second district in the state — after tiny El Rancho Unified in Pico Rivera — to require ethnic studies for high school graduation. While this would be a big deal for students, the district has yet to study its impact on schedules, hiring or even its always-precarious finances.

Two years ago, the school board reduced the number of credits needed to graduate to 210, a change that ramped up the difficulty of academic courses and slashed the number of electives. With 150 credits now required for academic courses, 20 credits for physical education and five credits for health, there’s room in a typical schedule for just a handful of electives — the kinds of classes that many kids say are the main reason they stay in school.

Read the full commentary here.

LAUSD report says nearly 5,000 students affected by MiSiS issues

MiSiSThe outside consultant hired by LA Unified to help fix the district’s new data tracking system is reporting that, through yesterday, nearly 5,000 students had been affected by flaws in the MiSiS computer system.

In a breakdown the district released today, the Viramontes Group found that 2,580 students were without schedules, 1,251 had duplicate IDs and another 1,136 were missing their district IDs — for a total of 4,967 students suffering issues linked to the system.

In addition, the report identified 229 “programming bugs” through Nov. 10, a list of problems affecting more than two dozen categories of data, such as attendance, grade books, state reporting and transcripts.

The seven page report also includes a section of “observations,” which lists problems found, steps taken to eliminate them and further work that needs to be done.

The report lists 30 issues to be dealt with, 29 of which require additional work.

LAUSD cuts ties with lawyer after remarks about a student

W. Keith Wyatt* UPDATED

LA Unified said today that one of its long-time outside lawyers, W. Keith Wyatt, would no longer represent the district in legal matters after comments he made regarding a student’s sexual relationship with her math teacher.

“As a school district building and maintaining a strong sense of mutual trust with our students and their families is at the core of being able to provide a safe and productive learning environment,” LA Unified chief counsel, David Holmquist, said in a brief statement issued by the district. “Respect and empathy must be at the core of how we approach these cases, and Mr. Wyatt’s remarks did not reflect that commitment.”

Wyatt’s remarks were made in interview with KPCC referring to a civil suit brought by a 14-year-old student who claims the school district was negligent in not protecting her from former Thomas Edison Middle School teacher Elkis Hermida, who was convicted of committing lewd acts and sentenced in July 2011 to three years in prison.

Wyatt was quoted as saying that “making a decision as to whether or not to cross the street when traffic is coming, that takes a level of maturity and that’s a much more dangerous decision than to decide, ‘Hey, I want to have sex with my teacher,’”

The comments received wide attention from media outlets around the country.

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For Cortines and UTLA, class size reduction is LAUSD priority


Protesters outside LAUSD headquarters on May 13, 2013. (Credit: UTLA)


As contract negotiations plod along between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, the issue of class size reduction has taken on a new urgency for Superintendent Ramon Cortines, who plans to shrink the number of students in middle school and high school classrooms by the end of the year.

“I’m not going to tolerate this second semester,” Cortines told LA School Report, before launching into an anecdote about not being able to get through the door of two separate classrooms at Jefferson High School “because they were so crowded.”

“That’s just unacceptable,” he said in frustration.

Teachers have been calling on district leadership to reduce class sizes for years, even as billions of dollars were slashed from the budget and the number of desks per classroom sometimes doubled. It’s been one of UTLA’s core objectives in striking a new deal with the district, a pivotal component of the “Schools LA Students Deserve” platform that President Alex Caputo-Pearl ran on in the recent election.

Data gathered by the district last month shows there are currently more than 1,500 middle school and high school classes enrolling 40 or more students throughout the district. More than 300 enroll 50 or more students. Those figures exclude homeroom, physical education, choir, band and any unfilled sections, all of which tend to be larger in class size.

While 40 sounds like a large number of students for one class, it’s actually within the prescribed ratio of LA Unified classes for non-academic periods in grades 6-through-12 and for academic periods in grades 11 and 12. For academic periods in other grades, the ratios are smaller: 24 to 1 for K-through-3; 30.5 to 1 for grades 4, 5 and some 6; and 34 to 1 for the remaining grade 6-through-10.

Although the data reflecting current ratios comes directly from the district, Lydia Ramos, communications director, explains that “these are very raw numbers” and may contain errors caused by the new student data management system, MiSiS, as well as by unfinished “balancing,” the process of determining how many students are assigned to each teacher.

Still, even ruling out classes that are obviously MiSiS created mistakes — San Pedro Senior High, for instance, appears to enroll 566 students in something called “College Class” — the most notable findings in an analysis of the data by LA School Report include:

  • About 1,100 high school classes enroll 40 or more students, in line with prescribed ratios; more than 300 enroll 50 or more students per class.
  • More than 120 middle school classes enroll more than 35 students, the current target maximum for students in grades 6 to 8.
  • 14 classes show 90 or more students enrolled, most of them in “Advance Conditioning,” which are phys ed or athletics related.
  • Approximately 60 algebra classes — including algebra 1A through algebra 2 — enroll more than 40 students, 30 algebra classes have 46 to 49 students, and six have between 51 and 65. Foshay Learning Center has one class of 71 students.
  • About 87 Advanced Placement courses enroll 40 or more students. Grover Cleveland Charter High School has the biggest class: AP US History with 67 students

UTLA President Caputo-Pearl has called the numbers “shocking,” and told LA School Report, “This is an issue of improving student learning conditions and educator working conditions.”

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Cortines lifts LAUSD ban on Parent Trigger enacted by Deasy

parent triggerThe head of Parent Revolution said today that LA Unified has reversed course, lifting the ban on using the “Parent Trigger” law this year to overhaul failing district schools.

“As one of Superintendent Cortines’s first moves, it’s a sign that the district will be respectful of the law,” Ben Austin, founder of the group that helps parents organize and enact the take-over of a failing campus, told LA School Report.

“It indicates that Cortines wants to work collaboratively with parents and parent unions,” he added.

The state Parent Trigger law allows parents to make changes at their children’s school if a majority of parents sign a petition demanding improvements. So far, it has been used for only a handful of schools in California.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines and Deputy Superintendent Michelle King met with Austin last week to discuss the moratorium. In an interview with LA School Report a day later, Cortines confirmed the district’s change in policy.

“I believe in parent choice, and I mean parent choice. There is no ban,” Cortines said, adding that he had already notified the author of the law, former Senator Gloria Romero, about his position.

However, several district officials said they know of no such change. When asked about it last week General Counsel David Holmquist said he had been unaware of Cortines’s decision.

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17 in the running for four LAUSD school board seats next year

School BoardIt’s shaping up to be a furious campaign next year. With a few late additions at Saturday’s filing deadline, four incumbents plus 14 other people are now competing for the four LA Unified school board seats coming up in 2015.

The latest to enter the race are two more challengers in District 5 — James C. O’Gabhann III, a teacher, and Benjamin Luis Jimenez, a storekeeper — and one more in District 3 — Mario Burrell, a teacher — making those two districts the most populated for the March primary.

To sum up: George McKenna has one challenger in District 1 Tamar Galatzan has six in District 3; Bennett Kayser has four in District 5, and board President Richard Vladovic has two in District 7.

The complete list is available here.

Previous posts: School board races coming into view as filing deadline approaches

Cortines seeking more outside help to resolve MiSiS issues

Ray Cortines

Ray Cortines

LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines, in his latest weekly update on MiSiS, told district staff today that he has reached out to Microsoft, the U.S. and California Departments of Education and other agencies as part of his effort to fix the district’s new student data tracking system.

And while he assured that district officials are “feverishly working to rectify issues,” he warned, “We do not have a timeline as of yet when the entire system will be fully functional.”

Straightening out MiSiS has been Cortines’s top priority since he returned to the district last month in his third tour as superintendent. He has restructured the Information Technology Division, jettisoning a few of its leaders, and he may do more. The district’s Inspector General report on MiSiS is expected to be a finger-pointing autopsy of the system’s flawed implementation, almost certainly leading to more personnel changes.

For now, Cortines is being guided by issues raised in a report from Arnold Viramontes, a consultant the district brought in to analyze structural mistakes in the MiSiS rollout so far. Viramontes’s report was released yesterday, and Cortines told staffers that “some changes” recommended have already been made.

He said weekly reports from Viramontes will inform further actions to fix MiSiS problems.

In one bright note for people working on the system, Cortines said he was “committed to providing compensation for any time that is spent addressing this issue above and beyond the regular workday.”


LA Unified students behind state peers in physical fitness test

gym class, physical educationWhile this year’s students fared better than last year, LA Unified kids scored below the state average on the California Physical Fitness Test.

According to figures released yesterday by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the LA Unified fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders who participated in the six-part test during the 2013-14 school year are significantly behind their state peers in physical fitness.

More than 1.3 million California students took six separate tests that measure aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength and flexibility, according to Torlakson’s office.

Students who performed at the highest level in all six tests reach the Healthy Fitness Zone, and this number increased both in the state and the district this year. Statewide, 26.6 percent of fifth graders, 33 percent of seventh graders, and 38.1 percent of ninth graders reached the Healthy Fitness Zone, compared with 19.8 percent of LA Unified fifth graders, 22.3 percent of seventh graders and 29.6 percent of ninth graders.

The numbers for LAUSD are slight increases from the 2012-13 school year, which showed 18.7 percent of fifth graders, 21.4 percent seventh graders and 28.4 percent ninth graders reaching the Healthy Fitness Zone.

“It’s encouraging to see our students becoming more fit and healthy,” said Torlakson in a statement. “Students have to be healthy and alert to succeed in the classroom, in college, and in their careers, but also to lead a more fulfilling life. That’s why it is so important that all of us—teachers, parents and community leaders—teach our children the importance of eating right, and exercising regularly and following healthy lifestyles ourselves so we can serve as role models.”


MiSiS system ‘not feasible unless modified,’ says analyst for LAUSD

Misis Logo* UPDATED

In a scathing critique of LA Unified’s implementation of its new student data tracking system, a team of independent analysts found problems from the beginning, including an overall “lack of communication or understanding of application stability” critical to the project’s success.

In short, Arnold Viramontes, an outside expert hired by former superintendent John Deasy, found that in rolling out the new MiSiS system, “red conditions” arose early and should have signified “No Go.” But they were ignored by the system’s management team, leading to months of frustration, anger and disruption at schools across the district.

In its seven-page Oversight Report, shared with the district board members this morning, Viramontes found: “There are many reasons why the current project plan is not feasible unless it is modified to reflect the dynamics of the implementation.”

Already, that effort has begun. This week, Superintendent Ramon Cortines announced several high-level changes to reorganize the team responsible for fixing MiSiS, which stands for My Integrated Student Information System. The reshuffling included the departure of the head of the Information Technology Division, Ron Chandler, and an outside consultant, Bria Jones.

In a brief statement late this afternoon, Cortines said, “I am well aware of some of the impediments MiSiS has created and how they have affected our students, teachers and support staff. I want you to know that we have already made some changes to address the issues in this first  report, and will continue to work to resolve the problems until we have a fully functioning student information system to serve the students, parents and employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District.”

Board member Tamar Galatzan said the report highlighted the gap between what should have been done and what was actually accomplished as MiSiS was launched.

The report, she said, “gives us a high-level overview of the time and money it will take to get MiSiS fixed. His job isn’t to play the blame game. It’s to get in there right now and fix what we can while we’re rolling down the track.”

Apart from kind words for the “hard work and tireless hours” put in by employees trying to fix the problems as they came, the critique had little good to say about the MiSiS project, which had been expected to be fully operational by next month.

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LA Unified wants ‘gag order’ for Miramonte sex abuse trial

Judge Rolf Treu affirm vergara decision

Attorneys for LA Unified asked the judge in the civil trial against the district involving the sex abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School for a gag order, which would prevent anyone involved with the case from talking publicly about it, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Jury selection in the case is expected to begin later this month. The case stems from the child abuse scandal involving former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt, who pleaded no contest last year to 23 counts of lewd conduct on a child between 2005 and 2010. The judge is expected to rule on the motion on Nov. 14.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued against the gag order in court while Sean Rossall, who is a public relations specialist hired by the law firms representing LA Unified, said in a statement the request for a gag order is to “ensure that the case is argued in court, instead of through outside press conferences,” NBC reported.

So far, the district has settled 65 claims for about $30 million over the alleged abuse. About 70 others are still waiting to go to trial. The case starting this month has three plaintiffs who are former Miramonte students.


Microsoft sending LAUSD help for MiSiS: One technician

MiSiSAfter Tuesday’s two-hour MiSiS meltdown, Superintendent Ramon Cortines called for Microsoft to send in the cavalry and the Seattle-based company responded by sending a total of one — count ‘em, one — expert to help with the glitch-plagued student data program serving 650,000 students.

The system crashed when too many teachers logged on to update student grades and attendance records in advance of Friday’s deadline. Subsequently, all unsaved data input into the system during window was lost. That has lead the district to delay report cards for elementary school students by a week, to Nov. 14 from Nov. 7.

Almost immediately after learning about the district-wide failure, Cortines reached out to Microsoft’s top executives for help, but he said he has been underwhelmed by the response.

“Microsoft [sent] one person from their headquarters…one,” Cortines told LA School Report. “But I’m writing a letter to the head of Microsoft telling him, in a nice way, that one person is not enough.”

The district developed the current MiSiS system using software and programs it licenses from Microsoft.

“We have spent millions of dollars with them and, I’m not pointing the finger or blaming, I just need some help to fix it,” he said.

For now, there is no indication the company plans to provide any additional man-power or other resources.

The week-long extension for teachers to submit grades and attendance records has given rise to another complication: Parent-teacher conferences, which have already been scheduled for next week, will take place without the vital information.

In a letter to parents, apologizing for the untimely set back Cortines wrote, “I encourage you to talk to your child’s teacher about his/her attendance, grades, and any other issues during this time.”

Despite the superintendent’s recent efforts reorganizing the MiSiS leadership team and an investment of more than $10 million to get the system functioning at a basic level, Cortines admitted he’s considered dumping the entire program.

“I have explored shutting down MiSiS and going back to the old system but that’s impossible,” he said.

MiSiS system crashes for 2 hours and Cortines apologizes


Despite efforts by Superintendent Ramon Cortines and LA Unified‘s Information Technology team to get MiSiS back on track — or at the very least, semi-functional — it seems that the data management system remains unreliable.

The system went down between 2 pm and 4 pm yesterday, he said in a memo to staff. It is unclear what caused the “unexpected outage,” but any data entered into the system during that window that was not saved and will need to be re-entered.

In the memo, Cortines apologized for the disruption and for “putting you through these unforeseen challenges.”

He advised employees working in MiSiS to be “extra vigilant” and regularly save their data “every 15 minutes in the event that another unforeseen incident takes place.” Further, he’s instructed them to maintain backup records for any information that is inputted into the system for the duration of the 2014-15 school year or until further notice.

In the meantime, he has reached out to Microsoft’s top executives to provide assistance with assessing problems with the MISIS, which was developed by the district using the company’s licensed software.

Employees working overtime to address the issue will be compensated.

LAUSD board getting full MiSiS report in a closed meeting

MiSiSAfter weeks of review, investigation and analysis, the LA Unified school board tomorrow will start getting answers to questions about what went wrong with MiSiS and a long-term plan for fixing it.

A report prepared by independent consultant, Arnold Viramontes, is expected to be thoroughly discussed during the closed board meeting with Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

“At that time, we will go through it, see what [Viramontes] suggests, and I’ll share with the board the rest of my plans [for MiSiS],” Cortines told LA School Report earlier this week. “But I have to discuss it with them first.”

The report will be available to the public immediately following the meeting, Cortines said, adding “I’m all about transparency.”

Also on the agenda is Cortines’ first evaluation by the board. In his first two weeks, the three-time superintendent has not hesitated shaking things up; he has totally revamped the MiSiS leadership team, hiring and firing people once perceived as integral to the development of the system.

The board will also take up a review of the district’s Inspector General, Ken Bramlett. Bramlett’s office has been under mounting pressure to churn out more investigative reports than ever before with no additional support or resources. He recently requested a departmental budget increase.

In addition to demands for a new investigation into the iPad emails, Bramlett’s office has been asked to launch an investigation into the MiSiS rollout, which is expected to be released “very soon” according to Cortines. 

Unrelated to the board meeting, the district’s labor team will also meet tomorrow with the teachers union, UTLA, for another bargaining session. It’s unclear what specific issues will be discussed — UTLA declined to comment — but it’s possible that class size will be among the talking points.

Late last week Chief Labor Negotiator, Vivian Ekchian, issued a memo to Cortines and Chief Deputy Superintendent Michelle King, explaining a variety of factors impacting class size, apparently in response to a union request for more information.

Smaller class size is one issue within the package of demands UTLA has taken into negotiations this year. It’s unclear, however, if union leaders have made any progress on any of them.