Subject: Your vote on the Flores Aguilar proposal
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009
Dear Board members:
I urge you to vote no on the proposal submitted by Ms. Flores Aguilar. I do so because I live (and vote!) in Ms. Galatzan's district and my child is currently a student at Hamilton Academy of Music, which is located in Ms. LaMotte's district.
My three children have all received excellent education from LAUSD schools through magnet programs that operate within schools that are, on paper, underperforming. If it weren't for those programs, I am sure that I would be a most dissatisfied parent and perhaps would be searching for answers. (Two older children recently graduated from Hami's Music Academy, and all three attended Lawrence's Magnet.)
I would not, however, embrace the proposal that you will voting on tomorrow because it is not a good answer. Why? Because it abdicates the responsibility that the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District has been tasked on: to provide a public education for its children.
To put it bluntly,this proposal passes the buck to anyone but LAUSD. Since the proposal has been reportedly amended to include not only brand new schools but also "underperforming" schools, how many schools will be affected? 50 more? 100 more? (The "District Profile" does not tell me how many there are.) In effect, the proposal makes it possible to eventually outsource public education to the private sector, whether it operates as a non-profit or not.
Incidentally, to claim that non-profits are not in this for the money is a myth. Case in point: the head of Green Dot was paid more than $200,000 in salary and benefits during the 2006-07 time period, during which he supervised a system of schools that served 3,100 students. These figures are not made by his foes. They were reported to the Internal Revenue Service in Green Dot's "2006 Form 990", a copy of which can obtained from the California Attorney General's website but not transparently from greendot.org. According to that legal document, he is not the only one to command such high salaries. Given that the taxpayer has no direct influence over those organizations allowed to run public schools, I feel this alone is reason enough to vote no on the Flores Aguilar proposal.
Finally, when this proposal is put in context with the recent admission by Superintendent Cortines that taxes will definitely go up in LAUSD's service area to pay for the construction of these new schools, I have to ask: why is my money being spent so that "non-profits" can profit at the expense of public education? There is much that is wrong with the answer to that question. Surely, there will be plenty of lawsuits by the usual suspects if the proposal is passed.
J. Manuel Urrutia
Parent member, School Decision Making Council
Hamilton Academy of Music
PS: I did attend the August 17 community meeting to discuss plans to possibly implement to Flores Aguilar proposal. Interestingly, scattered in the audience were many principals who attended to find out what the District is up to. Clearly, the actions of the Board are as remote to them as it is to parents. I sincerely hope that Ms. LaMotte will remember that this meeting was nothing more than political theater, if not farce.