‘The data is miserable’: LAUSD board members rake academic officer over the coals for ‘crisis’ in test scores
LA Unified’s chief academic officer came before board members Tuesday with an upbeat-titled report called “Breaking Our Own Records,” but instead of resting on the improvement in overall test scores, the four school board members in attendance grilled her for nearly two hours throwing out terms like “frustrating,” “depressing” and “disappointing” and saying the district is...
By Mike Szymanski | September 13, 2016
More concussions reported among LAUSD athletes, but also better monitoring
Rising concussion numbers have spurred LA Unified to examine how to better monitor head injuries and ensure the safety of student athletes. “I love football,” said board member Richard Vladovic, who noted that this week the NFL for the first time recognized a link between football and brain disorders. “But I’m very concerned about long-term effects on...
By Mike Szymanski | March 17, 2016
LAUSD takes lead on asking for butane tanks to be moved
The LA Unified school board yesterday became the first elected body to ask government officials to move one of the largest above-ground butane gas facilities in the country. Located in San Pedro, the highly-flammable gas is housed in two storage tanks not far from three LAUSD school sites. School board member Richard Vladovic, who represents...
By Mike Szymanski | January 13, 2016
Rising health benefits have major impact on LAUSD finances
As LA Unified deals with looming deficits that could reach $600 million, a recent independent Financial Report attributes a large share of it to the ever-increasing costs of health benefits for present and retired employees. The district spends 14 percent of its budget on active and retired employee health benefits — which is more than it...
By Mike Szymanski | November 25, 2015
LA Unified losing $100s of millions in mandates unpaid by state, U.S.
A major contributor to LA Unified’s pending fiscal crisis is unfunded federal and state mandates that have deprived the district of hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years. The exact number is difficult to calculate because the total not only reflects the amount the district seeks in reimbursement but what percentage the governments return to...
By Michael Janofsky | November 24, 2015
LAUSD board drawn to charter-like autonomy for entire district
An LAUSD budget committee discussing the unlikely possibility of establishing an all-charter school district today found merit nonetheless in seeking waivers from state rules that grant charters a greater degree of autonomy than traditional schools have. Mónica Ratliff, chair of the Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee, said that it didn’t seem fair that the charter...
By Mike Szymanski | November 17, 2015
LAUSD increasing help for children of veterans and active-duty military
Los Angles Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced a new program that will help identify students in LA Unified whose parents are veterans or active-duty service members so that they can receive extra resources available to them. Joining Garcetti at Leland Elementary School in San Pedro, where he announced the new program, were LA Unified school board...
By Craig Clough | November 12, 2015
Search firm urges LAUSD board reach unity on next superintendent
In presenting a detailed accounting of community input for LA Unified’s superintendent search, the president of the search firm urged the seven board members to reach consensus on what they are looking for in their ideal candidate. “You do not want to make this decision on four votes,” said Hank Gmitro of Hazard, Young, Attea...
By Mike Szymanski | November 10, 2015
LAUSD board solves dilemma: Pay debts before saving for a rainy day
In what seemed to be a routine agenda item last night, the LA Unified school board found itself debating a fundamental issue: When you have a few extra bucks do you save for a rainy day or do you pay off your debts right away? The question arose when the board was trying to figure...
By Mike Szymanski | September 16, 2015
A day of pomp, circumstance and politics awaiting new LAUSD board
Get ready for some pomp, circumstance — and politics. The first half of tomorrow’s LA Unified school board meeting, starting at 10 am, will be a swearing in ceremony for four newly elected board members by people or, in some cases, groups of people, of their choice. Scott Schmerelson, Ref Rodriguez, George McKenna and Richard...
By Vanessa Romo | June 30, 2015