Cortines on returning to LAUSD a third time: ‘They called my bluff’

ray cortines

Incoming school Supt., Ray Cortines

No one was more surprised that Ray Cortines became the latest LA Unified superintendent than Ray Cortines.

“I hadn’t been planning to return, and I didn’t negotiate with the board,” he told LA School Report today. “The only caveat I put out was that it would have to be a unanimous vote, and I didn’t think it would be. I was taken aback: they called my bluff!”

Cortines, 82, a former school district leader in New York, San Francisco, Pasadena and twice before in Los Angeles, was named today as the interim replacement for the resigning John Deasy – the result of a unanimous vote by the board to bring him back. He served as LA Unified superintendent briefly in 2000, then again from 2009 to 2011, when he retired and one of the deputies he hired, Deasy, succeeded him.

What Deasy leaves to his former mentor is a district with improving student academic metrics but also whirlwinds of problems, not least a teachers union, UTLA, that had a balky relationship with the district under Deasy. These days, the difference in their bargaining positions for a raise in teacher salaries amounts to $188 million a year.

“Ray Cortines has more experience, skill and expertise at running a large urban public school district in the nation and maybe the world,” said board member Steve Zimmer, explaining why the seven board members turned to Cortines. “There simply is no one who could immediately step in and stabilize our district while continuing to build a collaborative trust needed for us to keep our momentum moving forward.”

Cortines said he’s ready to jump in, already with plans for two meetings on Monday, his first official day on the job: a session with the district’s labor negotiating team, followed by a meeting with the union’s counterpart.

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BREAKING NEWS: Deasy expected to step down

 John Deasy, the beleaguered superintendent of LA Unified, the nation’s second-largest school district, is expected to step down as soon as Thursday, according to five district and school board sources with knowledge of the situation.

After weeks of negotiations between lawyers for Deasy and the seven-member board, he submitted his resignation and signed a separation agreement that brings an end to his employment, well before the 30-day grace period he would have had in a case of dismissal by the board, sources told LA School Report.

The district is expected to make the announcement, perhaps as early as tomorrow morning. It is also expected that one of his chief deputies, Michelle King, will be named the interim superintendent while the board begins a search for a permanent replacement. Deasy, who succeeded Ramon Cortines in 2011, is LA Unified’s fourth superintendent since 2000.

The board several weeks ago had authorized its lawyers to begin negotiating a separation agreement with lawyers for Deasy. The final terms of the agreement were reached in the last day or so, with Deasy in South Korea on an cultural visit, said sources, all of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issues and legal restrictions against discussing a private matter.

Deasy was scheduled to return to Los Angeles by the end of this week. He did not attend the most recent board meeting yesterday, which included closed-door discussions of his employment status.

He was unreachable tonight for comment.

Deasy’s resignation after three years as superintendent brings to an end a volatile but productive period in the district with his tenure marked by dramatic improvement in student academic measures yet traumatic developments in programs undertaken by his administration, all at a time budget restraints have limited the district’s ability to support more personnel and programs.

He has made no secret of his growing frustrations with a board that has often been at odds with his approach to public education, more so since the school board elections of 2013 and last August reduced the number of members who supported his vision.

That vision — the belief that quality public education is a civil right — came to include his championing of a program to deliver an iPad to every district student. More than anything else, problems with the iPad distribution came to symbolize the collision between vision and reality, starting a drumbeat for his dismissal.

Nor was he helped by testy relations with the teachers union, UTLA, which has been a steady critic from the start of his tenure, most recently over his unwillingness or inability to raise teacher salaries to levels they are seeking in negotiations for a new contract.

 

 

Teachers, loss of grants, personnel shifts — and MiSiS — played roles in mess at Jefferson, officials say

Jefferson High School Walk outs LAUSD

Students at Jefferson High School stage a walkout to protest scheduling problems on Aug. 25, 2014. (Credit: Vanessa Romo)

The scheduling mess at Jefferson High School emerged for many more reasons than a troubled new computer system, district officials and school administrators told LA School Report today.

Contributing factors included the loss of several key grants, which created a shortage in teachers, money and available class periods; the teachers’ refusal to make scheduling changes and a reshuffling of Jefferson’s administrators just weeks before school started.

“This is definitely not a MiSiS issue,” Tommy Chang, Superintendent of Intensive Support and Innovation Center for LA Unified, said in an interview. “It’s also a master schedule issue. Scheduling issues caused by MiSiS only exacerbated the situation on this campus.”

District officials, teachers and administrators have been meeting for days to craft an action plan to eliminate further disruption at Jefferson. Their result of their collaboration is scheduled to be presented to the district school board when it meets tomorrow.

Jefferson’s daily schedule is almost unique among LA Unified high schools. It includes two teacher conferences a day rather than the more typical one. When Jefferson teachers were given an opportunity earlier this year to vote to change to a more traditional daily schedule, which district officials said would have alleviated many of the problems that have left students with empty class time, they refused. Continue reading

LAUSD says teacher contract demands unaffordable, union disagrees

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsIn the latest disagreement between contract negotiators for LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, the district says the teachers’ latest salary demand would cost way more than the district can afford while the union president charged that the district could afford it, if the district had the right spending priorities.

The new demand of 10 percent a year for one year came last week, superseding the union’s previous demand of 17.6 percent over two years.

Rob Samples, Assistant Director of Labor Relations for LA Unified, said UTLA’s proposal plus its request for an annual stipend of $1,000 per educator to cover out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies, would run about $250 million a year while the annual stipend would cost the district about $43 million per year.

“All together that adds up to $876 million over three years,” he told LA School Report.

In a statement, district officials said that “when combined with other projected deficits, the total impact is at least $1.35 billion over three years.” The statement did not discuss other contributors to the projected deficit.

In any case, the district said, the union demands would force the district to make numerous cuts in other areas in order to pay for the salary proposals.

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Teachers union accepting nominations for House members

UTLA Rally for 8 percent teacher raise LAUSD teachers

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl (left) and former president Warren Fletcher at a recent UTLA rally

The nominating period for United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) House of Representatives is currently open and will last through Nov. 3.

The House of Representatives is a 350 member body that meets eight times a year to debate policy and vote on motions. Any UTLA member in good standing can nominate themselves by filling out a form and delivering it via mail or in person to UTLA’s headquarters at 3303 Wilshire Blvd. 

The form can be found on page 20 of the UTLA’s September newsletter.

If more nominations are received than available seats, UTLA will hold elections.

UTLA highlights contract demands on ‘Big Red Tuesday’

Big Red Tuesday UTLA

United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl speaks on “Big Red Tuesday” at Thomas Starr King Middle School

To commemorate “Big Red Tuesday,” United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) President Alex Caputo-Pearl used a sidewalk press conference at Thomas Starr King Middle School this morning to outline yet again the union’s contract demands from LA Unified.

UTLA encouraged teachers and supporters all around the district to wear red to campuses, and as he spoke, Caputo-Pearl was flanked by several dozen supporters wearing red clothing, including UTLA-issued garb, sweaters, button-down shirts and even an Anaheim Angels T-shirt. (See the embedded video below for highlights form the press conference.)

“All across the city today, our educators from Chatsworth to the harbor, from the beach to east LA, are in red in a show of unity behind the demands of the Schools LA Students Deserve,” Caputo-Pearl said.

Before turning the podium over to other speakers, Caputo-Pearl outlined the key items the union is seeking in a new contract and in its Schools LA Students Deserve campaign, which includes lower class sizes, more support staff like nurses and librarians and a pay increase for teachers. In his recent State of the Union speech, Caputo-Pearl said “Big Red Tuesday” would be the first of union actions meant to put pressure on the district and Superintendent John Deasy as the union looks to project unity during contract negotiations.

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UTLA plans ‘Big Red Tuesday’ and monthly ‘escalating actions’

UTLA big red tuesdayAs part of a plan to increase pressure on LA Unified as it negotiates for a new contract, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is planning monthly “actions” to take place on campuses around the district.

In preparation for the actions, which are to begin in October, UTLA is dubbing Tuesday, Sept. 30 as “Big Red Tuesday,” when union members are all being encouraged to wear red clothing as a sign of unity.

In his recent State of the Union speech, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl outlined the idea behind Big Red Tuesday.

“It seems small, but [LA Unified Superintendent John] Deasy will ask his administrators — you best believe he will — to count the shirts to measure our resolve. And when they see them from the harbor to Chatsworth, and East LA to the beach, it’s going to send a message to our networks of communication and our resolve across the city,” Caputo-Pearl said.

Sept. 30 also happens to be the same day the school board is meeting in a closed-door session to discuss Deasy’s upcoming annual review.

Red is one of the official colors of UTLA and many of its T-shirts are printed in red. The organization has often encouraged members to wear red when taking part in a protest or gathering, as it did in 2010 when members staged a protest outside of the Los Angeles Times.

Caputo-Pearl also told the crowd to “[k]eep your eye out for the first of a series of monthly escalating actions starting in October at school sites.”

Details on what the October action might entail have not been released by UTLA. Earlier this week, the union issued a press release that covered Big Red Tuesday and the October action but gave no more details than the hints Caputo-Pearl dropped in his speech. The release did encourage parents and community members to wear red on Sept. 30 to “show Deasy and LAUSD that we are united in our fight for Schools LA Students Deserve.”

UTLA and LA Unified are meeting periodically over a new contract, but the two sides remain far apart.

 

Teachers union hiring 6 in ‘groundbreaking’ plan to organize

Alex Caputo-Pearl at a news conference teachers union

Alex Caputo-Pearl, President of UTLA

During his first State of the Union speech at the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) leadership conference last week, President Alex Caputo-Pearl promised that the union was “gearing up for this fight” as he works to negotiate a new contract with LA Unified.

Near the end of his remarks, as if to prove he wasn’t just talking tough, he announced that UTLA is hiring six new people in leadership positions as part of an internal restructuring made possible through a cost-sharing agreement with state and national teachers unions.

Caputo-Pearl described the cost-sharing agreement as “groundbreaking.” The organizations participating in the agreement are the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and the California Teachers Association (CTA).

“We went to our state and national affiliates…and we said to them that everything is affected by what happens in LA across the state, across the country,” Caputo-Pearl said at the conference. “We asked them because of this, our affiliates invest in UTLA and invest in our strategic vision. To invest to help us organize to win key things for our schools, educators and communities, to shape the national debate and to move forward a conversation about UTLA’s long-term stability.”

Caputo-Pearl said UTLA has already hired four people as part of the new agreement and is looking soon to hire a political director and a strategic researcher. The four recent hires are Jeff Good as Executive Director, Brian McNamara as Field Director, Esperanza Martinez, as a community organizer, and Sharon Delugach, who works directly for AFT as a parent coordinator but will now be dedicating three quarters of her time to working with UTLA, according to Caputo-Pearl.

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2 percent bonus arrives for school principals, plus others

LAUSD principals and teachers get two percent bonusMore than 13,000 LA Unified employees of labor groups that struck new contract deals with the district are receiving a 2 percent lump sum payment this week.

Among those that found the extra bump in their bank accounts are members of the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA), which includes school principals, assistant principals, administrators as well as maintenance, operations and food services managers.

According the district, school administrators can expect a check ranging from $1,100 to $2,700 depending on their pay.

“Both AALA bargaining units negotiated the 2 percent bonus and are pleased to have received it,” union president Judy Perez told LA School Report. “While 2 percent is not ideal, we appreciate the fact that we did reach an agreement with the district on compensation for the next three years.”

The California School Employees Association and Teamsters Local Union 572 reached the same salary agreement with the district. All four groups also received a 2 percent raise in August, plus a 4.5 percent increase over the next two years.

In all, LA Unified officials report the cost of the bonuses is $12.4 million.

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Teachers union changes tactics, urges board to ‘evaluate’ Deasy*

UTLA wants to fire deasy

Superintendent John Deasy

*Correction
In an earlier version of this post we mistakenly reported that UTLA is “urging the school board to fire” superintendent John Deasy. This is incorrect. We try our hardest to write with accuracy, but on this one, we missed the mark – and we regret the error. What follows is UTLA’s letter to us (in part) and our corrected post:


 

Our September 15th news release does not state that UTLA is urging the school board to fire John Deasy. …You may speculate on what you think the statement means, but to report that as fact coming from UTLA is simply wrong. … We also did not state we want the school board to downgrade Deasy’s performance to “unsatisfactory.” We stated that the board has the opportunity to evaluate Deasy “ to determine if his work is satisfactory.” As a long-time journalist I believe you realize that both the headline and the story posted by LA School Report on September 16th are misleading.
UTLA requests an immediate retraction so that your readers and the LAUSD school community will be informed of UTLA’s actual position on this issue.
Sincerely ,
Suzanne Spurgeon,  Director of Communications, UTLA


 

The Los Angeles teachers union has given up one of its oldest and loudest refrains, calling on LA Unified chief John Deasy to resign. Instead, UTLA appears to be changing tactics; it is urging the school board to ‘evaluate’ the superintendent.

In a press statement, UTLA says it wants the board “to evaluate the Superintendent to determine if his work is ‘satisfactory’… and hold Deasy accountable” at his annual review to take place behind closed doors on October 21. A less than satisfactory review would effectively spell the end to the superintendent’s contract which – at his own insistence – stipulates he meet performance targets set by the board.

“Deasy must be held accountable for the iPad fiasco and MiSiS crisis……[he] holds teachers accountable for their classroom programs, yet he cries foul when serious questions are raised by his supervisors,” UTLA said in a statement yesterday.

But amidst a fast-moving saga that features a fractured seven-member school board and a superintendent increasingly under fire, the landscape without Deasy may not be a silver bullet for the union.

Not only could firing the superintendent become a campaign issue for the four school board members up for election next March, but it could have an impact on negotiations between the union and the district, currently at the bargaining table over a contract on behalf of 31,000 employees.

“It’s likely to have a disruptive effect on the negotiations,” cautions Chris Tilly, Director of UCLA’s Institute for Research and Labor Employment.

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Reps for LAUSD, teachers union talk about computers, not salaries

UTLA contract talks computersAnother bargaining session came and went today and still no contract agreement between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA.

The district said in a press release, “union leaders weren’t ready to talk about raises at the table,”  leaving the sides to focus, instead, on issues with the student-tracking system known as MiSiS, for My Integrated Student Integrated System.

The union did not engage in salary talks, according to the district.

“Teachers certainly deserve a bigger paycheck,” Superintendent John Deasy said in a statement. “Finally, after years of severe budget cuts, we can afford to provide some relief that our teachers well deserve. We want to give raises.”

Chief Labor Negotiator Vivian Ekchian added, “While discussions around MiSiS implementation are very important, it shouldn’t preclude us from spending at least equal time on discussing salary increases.”

The union did not have an immediate response to the district’s characterization of the session.

The District has offered UTLA members an 8.64 percent salary increase over three years, which includes a one-time lump sum for 2013-14. It’s effectively the same deal the district has offered to all its other labor groups — the one-time payment and annual raises of 2 percent, 2 percent and 2.5 percent.

The union is seeking a 17.6 percent salary increase over two years, an amount the district said in the release it cannot afford “without a return to layoffs, dreaded unpaid furlough days, a shortened school year, reduced summer school and repeated deep cuts in staff and services needed to balance recent budgets.”

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Oct. 2

Caputo-Pearl Q&A: Running LAUSD like a business?

Logo_LATimesVia the Los Angeles Times | By Patt Morrison

It’s a funny world, and a small one. Alex Caputo-Pearl, the new head of United Teachers Los Angeles, went to school in the same Maryland school district where John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was once superintendent.

They missed each other there, but now they’re in the same place, at the same time, on opposite sides of the table and sometimes on the issues. Caputo-Pearl, who was elected with 80% of the vote, was an ardent labor activist at Crenshaw High School, which he says got him ousted from the school after 13 years there. It was Deasy who decided the poorly performing school needed a clean sweep of faculty. Watch for big headlines as contract negotiations unfold.

Read the full story here.

Progress (or lack of it) with teachers comes to LAUSD board

Galatzan and Ratliff

Unlikely Co-sponsors: Galatzan (left), Ratliff (right)

The LA Unified School Board returns tomorrow with a full agenda although a lot of the juicy stuff will be discussed in closed session.

In addition to the usual topics — personnel issues and ongoing litigation — the board will review labor negotiations, which at this point is down to the on-going talks with the teachers union, UTLA.

The union submitted its initial proposal to the board late last week and in it, UTLA called for discussions of various subjects, including salaries, teacher evaluations and discipline at future bargaining sessions. The proposal is the first item of business on the agenda for the board’s open session. However, the board will not publicly discuss the demands contained within the document nor any details of negotiations, such as they are.

Although an update on the student data system, MiSiS, is not officially on agenda it is inconceivable there wouldn’t be a lengthy discussion about it either in closed session or by a public speaker later in the day. Problems with the program have made it next to impossible to get an accurate count on the number of students enrolled in each school and in the right classes, according to school principals and school administrators. That has set schools back in making necessary teacher hiring adjustments.

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Teachers union submits initial contract demands to LA Unified

UTLA contract proposal to DeasyAfter months of bargaining talks with LA Unified, the teachers union, UTLA, today submitted its first contract demand within the course of current negotiations.

In a document submitted to the board this morning, the union called for discussions of various subjects, including salaries, teacher evaluations and discipline at its next bargaining sessions, according to a district staffer who read the two-page letter to LA School Report.

Chief Labor Negotiator Vivian Ekchian, said in an interview she was “very pleased to have received their initial proposal.” She declined to discuss any of its content.

The letter, sent by UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl to the board, did not elaborate on salary demands, which the district contends it has not formally received. Caputo-Pearl says the union made it clear to the district long ago what it wants.

“UTLA’s salary proposal of 17.6 percent was formally presented to LAUSD under former President Warren Fletcher,” Caputo-Pearl told LA School Report. More recently, the union has clarified that the 17.6 percent salary increase demand is for two years.

The proposal comes on the heels of the district’s new deal with the Lieutenants and Sergeants School Police unit, whose contract was approved last night in a unanimous vote by unit members.

LA Unified has also completed negotiations with six other labor groups, most of which agreed to a similar salary increase package: a raise of 2 percent for 2014-15, 2 percent in 2015-16, and another 2.5 percent in 2016-17. Each annual pay bump is contingent on funds available.

While some groups also received a 2 percent lump sum payment for the 2013-14 school year, others tailored the additional payment to suit different preferences.

The raise UTLA is seeking over the next two years is nearly double what other groups have received over the span of three years. Superintendent John Deasy and other district officials say that could ultimately bankrupt the district.

Further, a “me too” clause included in most of the signed agreements allows a union the opportunity to re-open salary negotiations should the school board approve a higher general percentage increase for another group.

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Deasy on his critics: Constant attacks are ‘politically motivated’

Deasy comments on education politics

Superintendent John Deasy

Under withering criticism over the iPad program, a new student-tracking computer system and discordant relations with the teachers union, LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy said today that the attacks feel politically motivated at the expense of his agenda to improve the lives of district students.

“I serve at the pleasure of the board,” he said today in a wide-ranging interview with LA School Report. “If the board is not pleased, they can get rid of me at their pleasure.”

Asked if he would relieve them of that action by stepping down, he said, “I’m not prepared to answer that question.”

His tenure aside, Deasy said when he considers the acid tone of criticism over a confluence of issues, “I think it’s a troubling sign to me that the agenda is possibly no longer students. I had always assumed that the agenda was lifting students out of poverty. The agenda appears to be lifting Deasy out of LAUSD.”

The drumbeat of criticism is threatening to end a period of apparent comity and collegiality between Deasy and the school board that began last fall, shortly after it appeared that Deasy was resigning from a post he held since 2011.

Over the last 10 months or so, board meetings have played out with little of the tension that characterized previous meetings. Board President Richard Vladovic, especially, has shown a willingness to work closely and productively with Deasy.

But apparent unity could be cracking under the weight of problems with the iPad program and the bumpy implementation of a computer system that principals, teachers and parents rely on to track the progress and whereabouts of students.

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UTLA holds morning rally to insist Deasy be thrown into ‘jail’

UTLA Rally Alex Caputo-Pearl speaking at a news conference 9-3-2014

Alex Caputo-Pearl speaking at a news conference 9-3-2014

UTLA is calling on Superintendent John Deasy to lock himself in teacher jail while he’s under any investigation over iPads, computer systems or anything else.

At a rally earlier today union President Alex Caputo-Pearl told a crowd of teachers, “We are saying that he has to play by his own rules… He must not report to work here, he must report to teacher jail or report to home.”

Caputo-Pearl also called on “whoever is at the head of this district to be focused on schools and students and the day-to-day operations, and not scrambling to try to get out of investigations.” Assuming that’s Deasy, Caputo-Pearl did not explain how he might do that from “jail.”

The union claims that since Deasy took over, the district has escalated the practice of removing teachers accused of misconduct from the classroom and reassigning them to the central office where they often do nothing but continue drawing a paycheck. And many teachers who have been reinstated after a stint in teacher jail complain they were never informed of the charges against them.

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LAUSD, Teachers union talking AM/FM on new contract

LAUSD and Teachers Union argue over contractAs a further indication of how far off a labor agreement is between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, the two sides met yesterday and each focused on an entirely different matter — the district, salaries; the union, the problematic student data base system, MiSiS.

In a statement released by UTLA shortly after the failed bargaining session — just the third since Alex Caputo-Pearl won the UTLA presidency — the union said the meeting “was devoted entirely to the MiSiS Crisis, because it is taking such a toll on students, parents and educators.”

While a district press release, expressed frustration about not making any headway on teacher salaries.

“Teachers deserve more money, and LAUSD wants to see that they get it now,” Vivian Ekchian, the District’s chief negotiator said in the statement.

The district has proposed giving teachers a three-year deal with raises of 2 percent over the first two years and a 2.5 percent increase in the third year, with raises conditional on the financial state of the district.

But without improving the district’s most recent offer, which UTLA has called a “non-starter,” the union says there wasn’t much to discuss.

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Deasy planning to hire his own liaison for MiSiS project

John-Deasy-computer-glitch-problems

Superintendent John Deasy

As LA Unified teachers continue their complaints about the district’s new student data management program, MiSiS, Superintendent John Deasy said today he plans to hire an independent liaison to  keep him informed of corrective actions.

“This is not my area of expertise so I have to be sure, when I think something is not optimal, that I have my own person working on this to tell me if we are doing this smartly,” Deasy told LA School Report. “I want a third party who is knowledgeable about changing student informations systems, to give insight into are we making enough changes, are we making our changes correctly.”

Deasy said the person he will hire — within a week or so — will report directly to him and will not require board approval. He also said he intends to meet next week with a new court-appointed monitor charged with overseeing the development of a district-wide student tracking system. The previous person serving in that role died.

Since 2012, the person directly in charge of MiSiS is Bria Jones, according to Bria Jones. On her LinkedIn profile, she identifies herself as head of a small Arizona company hired by the district as “IT Project Director.” She claims she “Provide[s] day-to-day project direction and management of the MiSiS team.”

How she came to the district as the only candidate for the job was among questions that board member Tamar Galatzan included last week in a written request to Ken Bramlett, the district’s Inspector General, seeking an examination of the MiSiS program.

Efforts to reach Jones through the district and her LinkedIn account drew no response.

In an eight-minute telephone interview today about Jones’s role in the MiSiS launch and subsequent problems, Chief Information Officer Ron Chandler told LA School Report that “there are several project managers on the project…her role is to oversee different parts of the development of specifications and code development.”

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Teachers union talking strategy for combatting teacher jail

Teacher Jail LAUSDWhile officials from the teachers union, UTLA, are contemplating salary demands in a new labor contract with the district, they have not lost sight of another key issue, how to deal with teachers housed in what union officials derisively call “teacher jails.”

The union’s Committee for Unjustly Housed Teachers was meeting today, for the first time this school year, in a strategy session to determine how to tackle what they view as the district’s abusive use of the “teacher jails.”

“We need to develop a plan for getting the district to follow the policies that they have in place for housed teachers,” committee point chair, Colleen Schwab told LA School Report before the meeting. “That’s our goal, at the minimum. To get them to do what they said they would.”

Schwab, who’s co-lead of the committee since its inception a year ago, stressed that the teachers union has no intention of calling for the complete elimination jails.

“Obviously, we need a place for teachers who could harm students while the district conducts its investigations,” she said. “But there has to be a better solution than what is happening right now.”

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Teachers union blasts Deasy again for new computer system

UTLA logoThe LA teachers union today intensified its attack against LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy and the administration over the management of the district’s new student data computer system.

For the second time in less than a week, the union put out a press release critical of Deasy and what UTLA says are his attempts to gloss-over the bungled roll-out of MiSiS, short for My Integrated Student Information System.

“When will Superintendent Deasy step up and admit the buck stops at his desk?” UTLA said in a statement released late today. “It is time for the school board to demand accountability from the Superintendent.”

So far, the only high ranking district administrator to take public responsibility for the debacle, which has left thousands of students un-enrolled and without the proper class assignments, is Chief Information Officer, Ron Chandler. Although he has acknowledged problems with the new program, which was designed to consolidate student data, Chandler has repeatedly downplayed the severity of them.

But UTLA has called out Matt Hill, Deasy’s Chief Strategy Officer, for his role in launching MiSiS before it was ready. In an internal memo sent Thursday afternoon to a list of undisclosed recipients, Hill said, “I realize at this point, apologies are not sufficient, so I will just say that your colleagues in IT are working as hard and fast as they can to get this system performing the way it should.”

The union’s demand for the school board’s intervention comes days before the swearing in of newly elected board member, George McKenna, who many believe with be a sympathetic vote for union-favored issues that come before the board.

McKenna’s addition to the board appears to shift the balance to a majority of teachers union-backed members, which could have a significant impact on labor contract negotiations as they resume later this month.

Board member Tamar Galatzan last week called for an investigation by the district’s inspector general’s office into the development and launch of MiSiS.

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