LAUSD administrative staff jumps 22 percent even as enrollment drops
Despite projected budget deficits reaching nearly half a billion dollars and steep enrollment declines, LA Unified’s certified administrative staff has increased 22 percent in the last five years, according to a superintendent’s report. The number of teachers has dropped 9 percent in the same period. And teachers and certified staff are aging toward retirement, heading toward...
By Mike Szymanski | May 18, 2016
High stakes over ‘parent trigger’: Closed session discussion tries to avoid 20th Street lawsuit
The LA Unified school board broke into a surprise closed session for several hours Tuesday afternoon in the middle of their public meeting in order to head off a potential “parent trigger” lawsuit over 20th Street Elementary School. All morning, the school board was in closed session to discuss employee actions, contract renewals and pending litigation....
By Mike Szymanski | May 11, 2016
‘We can’t do this alone.’ LAUSD board votes to seek outside help to fund successful schools
Almost without comment Tuesday, the LA Unified school board voted unanimously to seek help from outside the district to replicate high-achieving schools. The resolution was introduced by Monica Garcia and Ref Rodriguez and asks the district staff to “seek outside support for the funding” to replicate successful school programs in areas of high need in the...
By Mike Szymanski | May 11, 2016
Apology for involvement in police weapons program not enough for protesters
The Fight for the Soul of the Cities, which has disrupted school meetings with calls to end the militarization of school police and reduce their forces, said they are not satisfied with the response from the LA Unified school board. After students and activists protested Friday afternoon outside LA Unified’s Beaudry headquarters, school board members Steve Zimmer, George...
By Mike Szymanski | April 25, 2016
LAUSD moving more kids from juvenile camps to graduation
LA Unified is expanding a Camps to College program that helps students coming out of juvenile detention camps get back into school and graduate. Since the program launched two years ago in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Mental Health Department and the Los Angeles Probation Office, it has served 1,189 students. Most of them have...
By Mike Szymanski | April 22, 2016
Board to consider pair of resolutions to expand successful schools
Members of the LA Unified school board are taking the lead in identifying, encouraging and replicating successful schools with two resolutions that will be discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting. One, sponsored by Monica Garcia and Ref Rodriguez, called Offering Families More – Promoting, Celebrating and Replicating Success Across LAUSD, asks that the district identify best strategies...
By Mike Szymanski | April 11, 2016
Parents fear for dual-language Mandarin program if charter joins campus
Angelica Lopez Moyes is amazed that her 1st-grade son can speak Mandarin. But she is concerned that his dual-language immersion program at Castelar Street Elementary School could be jeopardized if a charter is co-located on the campus. Castelar, founded in 1882 and the second-oldest school in Los Angeles, has 570 students and is at about 75 percent...
By Mike Szymanski | April 8, 2016
How LAUSD plans to dodge its financial crisis: boost enrollment but not cut staff
*UPDATE With LA Unified heading toward financial crisis within three years, Superintendent Michelle King on Tuesday kicked off a series of special board meetings to detail her plans for fiscal solvency. Topping that list is keeping kids in the district. Notably absent was cutting staff. King’s initiatives would initially cost the district — roughly $20 million. But the...
By Mike Szymanski | March 30, 2016
Restorative Justice program drastically lowers days lost to suspensions in LAUSD
LA Unified posted a 92 percent decrease in the number of days lost to suspensions as a result of its Restorative Justice program and the district’s new approach to discipline. In the 2007-2008 school year, a total of 74,765 days were lost to suspensions, but that number plummeted to 6,221 in the 2014-2015 school year, according to a...
By Mike Szymanski | March 24, 2016
One Monica in, one Monica out: How the LAUSD school board will change
UPDATED * It’s official. Monica Garcia announced Tuesday to her supporters that she will be running to retain her seat on LA Unified’s school board. Meanwhile, fellow board member Monica Ratliff surprised many education and City Hall watchers last week when she quietly took out papers with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission to allow her to run for the...
By Mike Szymanski | March 23, 2016