By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News | http://bit.ly/1pYHanQ
Posted: 10/28/14, 7:39 PM PDT :: Los Angeles Unified this week suspended all out-of-town travel and off-campus training as well as the former superintendent’s credit card.
According to the district, John Deasy’s final charge came Saturday at a Hilton hotel in Milwaukee, where he put $189.92 on his district-issued American Express card while representing LAUSD at the Council of Great City Schools’ fall conference, which ran Wednesday through Sunday. After the school district disclosed that it had canceled the card, spokeswoman Monica Carazo said in an email that Deasy’s travel expenses will be reimbursed by the Wasserman Foundation, a philanthropic educational organization.
The card was suspended “because it was his last trip,” Carazo said in a written statement. Carazo did not expand on her statement nor specify when it was decided that it would be his last trip. Deasy did not return calls to his cellphone or an email seeking comment.
Newly installed Superintendent Ramon Cortines sent an email Monday to the district’s 644 campuses announcing that all out-of-town conferences and off-campus training are suspended until Jan. 30.
“There are critical issues that must be addressed now to guarantee student success. These challenges require the focus and attention of all school and office-based staff members,” Cortines wrote.
On Monday, LAUSD dispatched retired counselors and principals along with staff typically stationed in district offices to high schools across LAUSD to identify erroneous transcripts before students were denied college admission or financial aid.
According to Cortines’ memorandum, requests for substitutes to step in while teachers take time away for professional development have “increased dramatically” in the past two years. The requests rose by 24 percent in October and 16 percent in September, compared with the same months last year.
Cortines singled out two Fridays as examples of exorbitant uses of substitutes. On Oct. 17, the district received 770 requests for substitutes to take charge of classrooms from instructors who wanted to take time for professional development. This past Friday, the requests numbered 735.
At least some of the increase, Carazo said, may have been due to teachers learning new instructional techniques associated with Common Core. The district did not respond to questions about how the ban on professional development days and travel would impact efforts to train teachers on the district’s new record-keeping software MiSiS and other initiatives, such as efforts to make iPads part of learning.
Requests for exemptions to the travel suspension must be made to Cortines’ second-in-command, and those for professional development days would need to be approved by another high-ranking district official.
The teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, did not respond to requests for comment.
Deasy stepped down Oct. 16 as part of a secretive deal struck by the school board, placing him on “special assignment” and agreeing to pay him through the end of the year. According to the Council of Great City Schools’ website, Deasy is a member of the organization’s executive committee. The site Tuesday listed his position as superintendent of LAUSD.
Council of Great City Schools spokesman Henry Duvall said the organization waives conference fees for one or two representatives, typically a superintendent and board member, from each of 67 member districts.
LAUSD did not answer questions about how many staff members attended or how much the trip cost the district.
- The headline : LAUSD travel spending suspended after John Deasy’s final credit card bill arrives implies causation, which opens a correlation vs. causality can o’ worms best not gone into. My daughter is teaching Rhetoric up at Oregon State – maybe she wants to go there with her freshman students? Not I. Are they freshpersons? What would Title IX say?
- The smoking gun here is the line: “The district did not respond to questions about how the ban on professional development days and travel would impact efforts to train teachers on the district’s new record-keeping software MiSiS and other initiatives, such as efforts to make iPads part of learning.” Every report I’ve read on the CCTP (The iPads 4 All Project – not to be confused with CCCP, USSR in cyrillic) and the MiSiS Debacle faults the District and/or Administration for not offering adequate training to the rank-and-file. Can the District rollout of the Common Core Curriculum fare any better with PD banned?
- WTF was Deasy doing representing LAUSD at the Council of Great City Schools anyway? Had he forgotten he resigned? Was this junket to Milwaukee an added perk in his separation agreement? Was there nobody in the Office of the Superintendent to represent LAUSD at the CofGCS? Has the Wasserman Foundation paid the expenses of the superintendent tat CGCS confabs in the past? Do they pay the expenses of the Board of Ed representative?