Saturday, December 19, 2009

THE BEST SCHOOL DISTRICT SOME BILLIONAIRES CAN BUY? Some Qs, fewer As, more Qs, some outrage and an org chart

Excerpted from the AALA Update – with  smf's 2¢

4LAKids is publishing the following excerpt - with our 2¢ worth - from the Dec 14 edition of the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Update. The whole thing - complete with contract negotiation rhetorical outrage (hyperbole of another color) is here:

Dec 14 - In mid-November, AALA President Judy Perez asked the Superintendent the following questions:

1. a. What monetary loss does LAUSD suffer when a District school is taken over by an independent charter?
b. How much will implementation of the Public School Choice Resolution cost the District?
2. Will this potential loss of funds affect your decisions regarding the selection of school proposals during the Public School Choice process?

LAUSD Chief Financial Officer, Megan Reilly, provided some answers to the first question, and the Superintendent responded to the second. Here is a summary of their written responses:

  1. The District loses significant funds when District schools become charters, but the amount varies from school to school. In the case of Birmingham High School, which converted to charter status in July 2009, the District lost a minimum of $15 million.

Mrs. Reilly did not provide an answer to the second part of Question #1 because the District has not calculated the costs associated with implementation of Public School Choice.

smf: This, if correct, is the smoking gun in the PSC debacle. "The District has not calculated the costs…" is an either an accusation or a confession of fiduciary incompetence, possibly malfeasance.

  1. On Dec. 10, 2009, the Superintendent wrote in a memo to Judy, “I do not believe that I will be considering a funding loss in selecting plans for implementation of the Public School Choice Resolution. I do not believe it is about dollars but it is about the best education for students going forward in those schools that are engaged in the Public School Choice.”

smf: The superintendent's concern about the 'best education for students going forward' is well placed …but it needs to be for all the students of LAUSD. The very real concern here is that PSC is advantageous to the schools that are engaged in PSC at the expense of the rest of the schools.

Considering the answers we have received so far, here are further questions for the Superintendent:

  1. In this time of financial crisis, how can the District embark upon a potentially expensive course of action without determining the cost in advance?
  2. How much of the District’s deficit would be eliminated if all focus and new schools under Public School Choice remained District schools?
  3. Given the District’s budget crisis, is it wise or prudent to bleed the District of funds that could be used to help mitigate our enormous deficit?
  4. What “strings” are the Broad, Walton and Wasserman Foundations pulling at Beaudry?

The Update continues:

We are questioning the continuing personnel additions that are floating through and around the 24th floor.

AALA’s concerns are especially heightened when matched with the Superintendent’s threats to cut large numbers of administrators, teachers and classified staff.

As reported in a memo to the Board of Education, dated December 13, 2009, Matt Hill, Administrative Officer, stated that 13 Senior Staff members have been hired. Their positions are funded by the Broad, Wasserman, and Walton Foundations.

Perhaps the District is in the throes of a “takeover” by the Wasserman, Walton and Broad Foundations.

If so, that would explain the potential selling off of schools and the Superintendent’s threats of layoffs of loyal, hardworking District employees.

Let’s try and understand senior staff’s motivation! The Superintendent has repeatedly said the District needs to support the schools by providing available resources to local sites. Yet administrators, teachers and classified staff at schools have been reduced in force and the aforementioned foundations are funding numerous additions to the Superintendent’s staff. Further, it is reported that these new foundation-funded employees receive District-provided health benefits.

Here is an Org Chart for the new hires.


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