LAUSD notifies 1,600 administrators of potential layoffs: Too little, too late or just a mirage?
Nearly 1,600 LA Unified administrators will be notified in mid-March that their contracts may end in June. But is this attempt at bringing administrative staff more in line with the declining number of students too late to help a looming budget deficit, as some school board members fear? Or will there even be a staff reduction?...
By Mike Szymanski | February 21, 2017 2:03 pm
Zimmer convinces school board to go for ‘clean money’ elections
Although he’s currently the recipient of campaign cash in what may be the most expensive school board race ever, LA Unified board President Steve Zimmer pushed through a “Clean Money” resolution on Tuesday but said it is not about him. Zimmer convinced his often disparate group of colleagues on the school board to unanimously approve the...
By Mike Szymanski | February 15, 2017 2:44 pm
Despite ‘Herculean efforts’ to conserve, LAUSD’s utility bill could jump $36 million
Last year LA Unified board members were shocked to learn that higher utility rates could jack up the district’s utility bill by $24 million. So they swung into action with energy-saving measures. But on Tuesday they learned they could be facing even steeper increases — up to 50 percent more. Even with a 13 percent...
By Mike Szymanski | February 8, 2017 12:58 pm
Keeping kids out of the justice system and in school: Youth services program looks to LAUSD to help fund Valley expansion
The only pre-arrest juvenile diversion program in California is seeking nearly $1 million to expand into the San Fernando Valley, so its leaders came Tuesday to the cash-strapped LA Unified to ask for about half of it. Although four of the seven school board members at the budget committee meeting spoke positively about the program, they...
By Mike Szymanski | February 7, 2017 2:57 pm
Black Girls 6 Times as Likely to Be Suspended as Whites. ‘Let Her Learn’ Looks to Reverse the Trend
High School Sophomore Wins Google Contest — and $30,000 Scholarship — With Diversity Doodle
The Political Parallels and Contradictions of the School Choice, Food Choice — Er, Food Stamps — Debate
Pilot programs are preparing district for new state science tests
About two dozen pilot programs throughout LA Unified are helping prepare the entire district for new, more comprehensive state science tests that fifth-, eighth- and 11th-graders will start taking in 2019. The new California Science Test (CAST) will replace the California Standards Test (CST). It will be taken on computers rather than on paper and...
By Mike Szymanski | January 17, 2017 2:39 pm
Charter schools score approvals in recent board decisions
Charter schools were mostly approved on consent agendas at the LA Unified school board over the past two meetings. Some charters that were rejected by LA Unified ended up being approved on appeal by the county. In one case this month — as has happened in the past — a school recommended for denial by the...
By Mike Szymanski | January 16, 2017 11:43 am
Dr. V’s prescription for a healthy school district
He doesn’t have all the answers, but Richard Vladovic, fondly referred to as “Dr. V,” said he believes he has some of the answers. This month Vladovic celebrates 50 years in education, serving as a teacher, many times as principal, a superintendent and now as an LA Unified school board member since 2007. He says...
By Mike Szymanski | January 13, 2017 10:32 am
Richard Vladovic celebrates 50 years in education, sees much yet to be accomplished
Richard Vladovic remembers the days when he was juggling his military career with teaching. “I would leave on Friday after staying to watch a school football game, jump on a plane and go to Fort Lewis, Washington, and do maneuvers in a Jeep all weekend and then come back to school by 7 in the...
By Mike Szymanski | January 12, 2017 3:40 pm
Charter schools located on multiple LAUSD campuses are down, but it’s still disruptive, families say
The number of charter schools that will be located on multiple campuses in LA Unified next year will be down from 24 to 22, and the number of schools located on three different campuses will go from eight to four. But that’s not enough and co-located campuses continue to be disruptive to the communities and the...
By Mike Szymanski | January 11, 2017 5:03 pm
The LAUSD school calendar is final — but for one year only
After flip-flopping on the school calendar a few times to try to start the school year closer to Labor Day, the LA Unified school board voted Tuesday to solidify their school calendar for at least one more year. But they’ll wait for data to approve a calendar for more years. Next year, school will start in mid-August, there’s...
By Mike Szymanski | January 10, 2017 6:45 pm