Friday, July 02, 2010



Charters, teachers vie to take over L.A. Unified schools

The district is inviting bidders to run poorly performing and new campuses with 35,000 students. More than 80 groups submitted letters of intent for new or low-achieving schools for fall 2011.

By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

July 2, 2010 -- The nation's second-largest school system is once again inviting bidders to take over poorly performing and new campuses, in a school-control process that is, once again, pitting teachers and their union against independently operated charter schools, most of which are nonunion.

Teachers working for the Los Angeles Unified School District put in bids for every school. And charters are vying for all but one.

At stake is the education of more than 35,000 students who will attend those schools.

"Teacher-led plans offer the best chance to achieve genuine student improvement," said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

"We're here again to fight for our children," said Corri Tate Ravare, president of ICEF Public Schools, which operates 15 local charter campuses. "Our track record absolutely speaks for itself."

In the first round in February, groups of teachers, frequently allied with district administrators, won 29 schools; charter schools were given four, and three went to the education nonprofit controlled by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Some campuses were split into several schools.

The mayor got most of what he wanted, but charter schools prevailed in only a fraction of their bids. And they were criticized for mostly preferring new campuses over struggling schools.

This time nearly every existing school attracted charter bids. ICEF is going for five: Muir, Mann, Harte and Audubon middle schools and Woodcrest Elementary, all of them south or southwest of downtown. Green Dot Public Schools put in for Clay and Harte middle schools. The Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools submitted for Clay and Huntington Park High School. Only Los Angeles High School lacks a charter bid.

The mayor's nonprofit, which controls 15 schools, is seeking no additional ones. Instead, Villaraigosa has sided with charters and suggested last week that he would lean on allied school board members to do likewise, something he did not do in the first round. Ravare, of ICEF, made her comments standing at the mayor's side.

All told, more than 80 groups submitted letters of intent for new schools or low-achieving ones for fall 2011. A few bids came from outside groups that aren't charters, including Youth Policy Institute, a social service nonprofit, and MLA Partner Schools, which manages two district high schools while honoring district union contracts.

Six new high schools are up for bid. Each probably will be divided into smaller academies that could be managed by different operators.

Central Region High School No. 13 in Glassell Park attracted 16 bidders, including three long-established charters, teams of district administrators and teacher groups from four existing high schools — Marshall, Roosevelt, Franklin and Crenshaw. The new $231-million, 23-acre school will enroll students living in areas served by Marshall, Franklin and Eagle Rock high schools.

Final proposals are due in December. L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines will then recommend who should run individual schools to the Board of Education, which is expected to vote in February.

In the earlier round of bidding, applicants had to put together their proposals in weeks. This time, they will have the better part of a year. Officials also are trying to improve the process by which employees, parents, high school students and community members take part in nonbinding votes for their favored proposals.

LAUSD campuses attracting bidders

Daily News Wire Service

2 July 2010 -- More than 80 teams of teachers, staff, charter- school groups and nonprofit organizations submitted letters of intent in hopes of taking over management of eight troubled campuses and nine new schools, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced Thursday.

The various groups, which submitted the letters as part of the LAUSD's Public School Choice program, have until December to submit final applications outlining their plans for managing the schools.

The letters of intent were submitted by a wide range of hopefuls, ranging from teacher coalitions to charter school operators to alumni groups. The LAUSD teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, submitted letters for all 17 campuses.

About 20 groups or individuals submitted bids for two new San Fernando Valley high schools scheduled to open in September 2011.

Valley Region High School No. 4, which will open in Granada Hills, drew the following bidders:

Granada Hills Charter High School; Partnership to Uplift Communities Valley; applicant team from Cleveland High School; applicant team from Crenshaw High School; applicant team from Monroe High School; United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA); Community Day School, West Hollywood; Youth Policy Institute; and applicant team from Local District 1.

Valley Region High School No. 5, which will open in the city of San Fernando, drew the following bidders:

Applicant team from Sylmar High School; applicant team from San

Fernando High School; applicant team from San Fernando Elite Medical Academy; applicant team from Foothill Arts Academy; applicant team from Monroe High School; applicant team from Social Justice Humanitas Academy; Community Day School, West Hollywood; UTLA; applicant team from Local District 2; Youth Policy Institute; and applicant team from Business & Leadership Academy Charter.

Six school operators apply to run new Carson-area high school

By Melissa Pamer – Daily Breeze Staff Writer

2 July 2010 -- Six applicants - including three charter groups - have signaled their desire to run a new Los Angeles Unified School District campus that will serve students from Carson and Banning high schools.

The district on Thursday published a list of groups that had met a Wednesday evening deadline to submit letters of intent to run the campus, which is now under construction in Long Beach, just over the Carson border.

The school is one of nine new and eight troubled, existing campuses up for bid in the second round of the district's unusual Public School Choice process, which lets groups inside and outside the district bid for educational control.

More than 80 groups submitted nearly 200 letters of intent to apply to run the schools, the district said. Final applications are due in December.

For the new South Bay campus, three of the applicants are nonprofit charter organizations: ICEF Public Schools, Magnolia Schools and MATTIE Academy School of Change.

Los Angeles-based ICEF runs 14 schools, most in South Los Angeles, with two in Inglewood.

Magnolia runs eight campuses in the Los Angeles area, including a middle school that opened in 2008 in Gardena and is now in Carson.

MATTIE Academy is a proposal from a group that ran a charter campus in Long Beach for one year until the school district there closed the campus in 2008 following allegations of fiscal mismanagement.

MATTIE Executive Director Denice Price said Long Beach Unified School District shared responsibility for that failure. Conversations during the school's unsuccessful appeal to state education officials persuaded MATTIE to keep trying, Price said.

"It was a good program," she said. "We're encouraged to go ahead and try again. "

United Teachers Los Angeles also submitted a letter of intent, as it did for all campuses up for bid.

Gardena-based Local District 8 also applied to retain control over the campus.

Local District 8 Superintendent Michael Romero said his office is selecting a group of teachers, community members and parents to serve on a panel drawing up an application in coming weeks.

"It'll be a plan that uses data to drive decision-making," Romero said.

A sixth letter of intent was received from Dangil Jones, who is apparently an English teacher at LAUSD's downtown Santee Education Complex, according to the school's website.

The planned Carson-area campus received fewer applicants than the five other new high schools up for bid, which were the subject of eight to 16 letters of intent.

The school is currently known as South Region High School No. 4.

In the last academic year, the district put San Pedro and Gardena high schools through similar processes. But no outside groups applied to run the campuses.

Instead, a group of teachers and district staff at each campus proposed reform plans, which were approved by the Board of Education in February.

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