Saturday, August 07, 2010


By EGP News Report   Eastside Sun / Northeast Sun / Mexican American Sun / Bell Gardens Sun / City Terrace Comet / Commerce Comet / Montebello Comet / Monterey Park Comet / ELA Brooklyn Belvedere Comet / Wyvernwood Chronicle / Vernon Sun

Aug 5, 2010 - The ‘Leadership in Entertainment and Media Arts’ (LEMA) Pilot School at Lincoln High School held an open-house last Saturday to inform students and their families about the school’s new program, even though the school’s future at the time was in the hands of a judge whose decision in response to a UTLA lawsuit could keep them from opening as scheduled.

Many of the parents and the students at the meet-and-greet event said they are excited about the new pilot school and its promising options, though some admitted to being unaware that a legal challenge was pending.

Incoming freshman Brandon Flores, 14, told EGP he is excited about LEMA and hopes to have a career as a game-designer. His mother, Lilia Flores, told EGP in Spanish that she hopes the school will help her son develop his skills and achieve his dream.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) were in court on July 29 for a hearing on a lawsuit brought by the teacher’s union to block the school’s conversion to pilot school status on the grounds that LAUSD had not followed required procedures. The next court date was set for Aug. 31, two weeks into the new school year.

Yesterday, Principal Roberta Mailman and LEMA teacher Beth Kennedy told EGP that the judge had denied a preliminary injunction sought by UTLA.

However, as of press time, EGP was unable to verify the judge’s ruling with the court.

The lawsuit also involves the San Fernando Institute for Applied Media at San Fernando Middle School; both pilot schools were approved during round one of the Public School Choice (PSC) initiative.

UTLA claims the schools’ design teams violated the union’s Memorandum of Understanding with LAUSD, which requires a 67 percent favorable vote by teachers at the impacted school site, as well as approval by the Los Angeles Pilot Central Steering Committee. LAUSD lawyers argued that there is no basis for UTLA’s argument, and that the petition should be dismissed.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Brien is tasked with deciding whether the schools violated the agreement and ultimately defining whether these pilot schools are ‘conversion schools’ or ‘new schools.’ His interpretation of the decision could have an impact on other proposals for pilot schools during the District’s second round of school choice applications.

  • It is unclear when the judge will make his ruling, but a conference to set a trial is scheduled for Oct. 1.
  • LEMA’s first day of school is Aug.17.

Information from City News Service was used in this report.

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