Thursday, July 24, 2008


By George B. Sánchez, Staff Writer | LA Daily News

24 July 2008 -- Los Angeles voters support another school bond, but don't trust Los Angeles Unified School District leadership, according to a limited poll conducted for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The survey of likely voters found that 60 percent to more than 70 percent of respondents were willing to support bonds in amounts of $3.2 billion, $6 billion or $10 billion.

(The school board has yet to decide on an exact figure.)

The poll also found that 73 percent believe the school board is doing a poor or "just fair" job overseeing the district, while 55 percent rated Superintendent David Brewer III as poor or just fair.

The mayor's survey also found that 53 percent feel the city is "pretty seriously off on the wrong track."

The poll questioned 100 voters in Los Angeles on July 11. It was conducted for the Mayor's Committee for Government Excellence and Accountability, Villaraigosa's political action committee. It was provided to the Daily News by a source outside the Mayor's Office.

The survey was conducted as the school board is scheduled to vote July 31 on whether to place a multibillion-dollar bond measure on the November ballot.

A spokeswoman for Villaraigosa said the poll clearly indicates the public is tired of large bureaucracy and wants to send their children to smaller schools - one of the goals of the bonds.

Spokeswoman Janelle Erickson said the 53 percent who feel the city is on the wrong track are simply reflecting national economic problems.

"Like all Americans, Angelenos are suffering the effects of the national mortgage crisis, high fuel and food prices, and are anxious for our national leaders to help hard-working families and not just the large Wall Street banks," Erickson said.

More than half of the respondents said they supported the mayor's new role overseeing 10 of LAUSD's lowest-performing schools.

Fifty-four respondents identified themselves as Democrats and 18 as Republicans. Only 29 said they had children under the age of 18.

The poll also indicated 60 percent to 65 percent support for a specific bond that would "convert existing middle and high schools into campuses of 525 students or less" as well as "expand charter school facilities."

Brewer said he was not surprised to hear of the public's lack of faith in LAUSD leadership.

"That's consistent with all polls," Brewer said. "That's nothing new."

He said that despite low levels of support for district leadership, he was heartened by support for another bond.

"That's most important to me. What we want is people to support the bond, and 71 percent support is a good sign."


  • "The poll also found that 73 percent believe the school board is doing a poor or "just fair" job overseeing the district..."
  • The mayor has managed to elect a majority (57%) of the current board -this poll seems a repudiation of that leadership.
  • This is a poll of 100 voters - and one suspects that exactly zero are from outside the City of LA - even though the school district comprises twenty-eight municipalities and jurisdictions in addition to the City of LA. CORRECTION: The Daily News got it wrong - the poll was of 936 likely voters - though from the language  of the questions one must surmise all 936 were from the City of LA.
  • Welcome to the bandwagon, "convert(ing) existing middle and high schools into campuses of 525 students or less" is district policy. Only one high school in the District does not have a plan in place to convert to Small Learning Communities.
  • The real work of converting to Small Learning Communities / Personalized Learning Environments and/or Small Schools is not about facilities and bricks-and-mortar - not driven by bonds or construction or polls and politics; it's institutional - driven by a complete paradigm shift in mindset and instructional policy.

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