Monday, March 16, 2009

LIVE FROM AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION: The Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles, the governing body of the Los Angeles Unified School District

From the meeting of March 10th,2009 — following testimony from parents who were ushered in and out of the room one by one to speak to the lack of parent involvement in budget and reduction in force (layoff) discussions.

Note: The board, by policy, does not respond directly to public comment

transcribed from KLCS – the cast, in order of appearance

Ms. LaMotte

Pres. Garcia

Supt. Cortines

Ms. Canter

Ms. LaMotte: "I just want to know the extent to which parents were involved in the process based on some of the comments we've heard."

Pres. Garcia: "Mr. Superintendent?"

Supt. Cortines:  "Um, I've sent them information, I've gone to their meetings - I mean I've asked for meetings - to meet with the parents.  We've notified them of all the communications on television as"

Ms. LaMotte: "Is there any group of parents that we have identified for things like this where we can say..'hey - this is a body that needs to sit at a table with us and understand what we're doing'?"

Supt. Cortines: "Yes. That's where Mrs. Reilly and I were yesterday with representatives of all of the district parent groups and giving them the budget - telling them that we would be back all during this process - every other week.   So I don't understand when people say if I'm not doing, I guess, what they want me to do - they're not involved."

Ms. LaMotte: "What I'm hearing is they want involvement — not a report and maybe that is something that we can or you and your staff can look at and some way we can have a crucial body of parents who are involved at the ground level so that they feel a part of this and have "buy-in" into it.  I don't know how you do it, but I'm just saying that's what I'm hearing."

Supt. Cortines:  "I will look at that.  I will have to tell you that we've spent very little time talking to them - we've spent time engaging with them...ah...talking..."

Ms. LaMotte:  "...and what has already been done, though?"

Supt. Cortines: "What?"

Ms. LaMotte: "In what has already been basically decided upon?  Is that not correct?  Did they have an opportunity for input?"

Supt. Cortines:  "Yes."

Ms. Canter:  "We haven't decided yet.  We haven't voted..."

Supt. Cortines:  "No, we...we..."

Ms. LaMotte: "No - what has been decided by the Superintendent and senior staff for our recommendation?"

Supt. Cortines:  "How else would I do it if I don't tell them what I'm thinking?"

Ms. LaMotte: "And that's what I'm saying...ah...

Supt. Cortines: "I've been criticized..."

Ms. LaMotte: "You - you're the smart one.  So if you could just maybe think about how we can - and Yolie can answer for us, too - but some kind of way.  We need to find out what they want and see if we can deliver.

Supt. Cortines:  "Yes...ok."

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