Saturday, June 30, 2012


By SI&A Cabinet Report |

Thursday, June 28, 2012  ::  Among the many things competing for attention this time of year are the federally required parental notifications for students eligible for Supplemental Education Services at Title I schools – especially where it pertains to the new state rules governing the program.

Under federal law, schools that have been in Program Improvement for more than two years are required to offer SES – tutoring – to eligible students. These schools must offer SES enrollment at least twice during the year following a grading period.

Although the California State Board of Education adopted and the California Department of Education issued new regulations governing SES more than a year ago, there continue to be reports of misunderstandings and a general unawareness of the new rules, which have changed significantly.

One change in particular is catching some district administrator unaware, that is the new rule defining the parameters of SES provider marketing and communication with parents and the community– which local educational agencies had more discretion over in the past.

Under the new regulations, “An LEA may not prohibit or limit an approved provider from promoting its program or the general availability of SES to members of the community. An approved provider may distribute the LEA’s enrollment form to the parent or guardian of a student enrolled in a school offering SES and submits completed forms to the LEA within two business days.”

There have also been questions over incentives that a SES may provide students. The new rules now limit incentives to those educational materials and tools that support the delivery of the SES.” Incentives shall not exceed a monetary annual value of $50 per students. The limitation of the $50 value shall not apply to computers or other technical equipment used as the primary instructional tool providing these services.

SES Regs


By Tom Chorneau, SI&A Cabinet Report. |

Friday, June 29, 2012 ::  A superior court judge has issued orders requiring Aspire Public Schools to return to three local district boards in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Stockton for permission to continue operation of six charter schools.

The order, made public Thursday, would appear to close the books on a legal dispute dating back to 2007 when a coalition of school groups challenged the California State Board of Education’s use of the “statewide benefit” authority to approve multiple Aspire schools – a move that bypassed local review.

In a March ruling, Alameda County Judge Jo-Lynne Lee found the state board failed to properly apply the statewide benefit authority to the Aspire schools, but the question remained of what to do with the six schools – and some 2,000 students – that had been in operation in some cases for several years.

In ordering the reauthorization, Judge Lee gave the charter management group one year to complete the reauthorization process – a timeline, she said, would “reduce any hardship to presently enrolled students.”

The judge also ordered the state board to set aside its approval of the statewide charter for Aspire and to adopt statewide benefit regulations in compliance with the California Administrative Procedures Act.

James Willcox, Aspire’s chief executive officer, said that all six schools would continue in operation through the 2012-13 school year.

“We are studying the court’s order and have begun today the process of seeking local charters for these six schools while we consider other options,” said Willcox in a statement. “We are committed to serving all of our students and families who count on Aspire and want to calm any uncertainty that this decision may cause.”

The plaintiffs in the case were led by the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators and the California Teachers Association.

Karen Stapf-Walters, ACSA’s interim executive director, said in a statement they were pleased by the judge’s decision that ensures “the state board adopts the required procedural rules so only those charters that truly meet the test of statewide benefit status are considered in the future. It is important that all public schools and students are treated equitably

“We believe it is fair to allow schools affected by this ruling the opportunity to transition to local charter approval in a timely manner without any harm to students or loss of funding,” she said.

At issue is a section of the Education Code that gives the right of a charter operator to submit a petition directly to the state board for approval of a charter school that operates at multiple sites throughout the state. But the law also requires that the state board make a specific finding, “based on substantial evidence, that the proposed state charter school will provide instructional services of statewide benefit that cannot be provided by a charter school operating in only one school district, or only in one county.”

The courts found that the state board failed to carry out the analysis needed to establish the statewide benefit.

The six Aspire statewide benefit schools are:

  • Aspire Alexander Twilight College Preparatory Academy, Sacramento
  • Aspire Alexander Twilight Secondary Academy, Sacramento
  • Aspire APEX Academy, Stockton
  • Aspire Junior Collegiate Academy, Huntington Park *
  • Aspire Port City Academy, Stockton
  • Aspire Titan Academy, Huntington Park *

* The LAUSD board would be the chartering authority

2cents smf

smf: Additional 4LAKids background on the case is here

  • Aspire Public Schools is Reed Hastings.
  • 4 of Aspires’ 7 member Board of Directors are venture capitalists.
  • 1 is a for-profit  post-secondary educator,
  • 1 is a former senior consultant/staffer for the State Board of Ed Charter School Office.

None of these things make any of these people bad people. 

Friday, June 29, 2012



from CCSA |

June 28, 2012: In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court (Court) handed charter schools a victory on Thursday, upholding the Charter Schools Act's (Act) mandate that the approval of a charter petition shall not be controlled by collective bargaining agreements. In this case, UTLA's collective bargaining agreement required that conversion charter school petitioners provide certain information to LAUSD and the district's teachers, and that LAUSD provide certain information to UTLA, when a conversion petition is proposed. UTLA filed a grievance, claiming in vague terms that those requirements were not met with regard to the Locke charter petition and demanding that the district rescind the charter. UTLA then filed a lawsuit to compel arbitration, after the district refused.

The District claimed that the agreement's conversion petition requirements were unenforceable because they had the effect of controlling the charter approval process, in conflict with the Act. The District also argued that the agreement's requirements were invalid because they would require procedural steps beyond those set forth in Education Code section 47605.

The Court agreed that any collective bargaining agreement that had the effect of controlling charter approval is invalid. The court made clear that rescission of a charter is not a permissible remedy in arbitration, as the Education Code specifies the exclusive means for approving charters. The court further explained that "[a]ny collective bargaining provision that delays the timelines set forth in section 47605 or adds to an applicant's statutory obligations for securing approval of a charter conflicts with section 47605 and may not be enforced."

Although the Court's decision lets stand LAUSD's approval of the Locke conversion, the dispute is not over. The court sent the case back to the trial court in order for the union to identify the specific collective bargaining provisions that it claims LAUSD violated and to explain how those provisions do not conflict with the Act's authorizing process. The trial court will then decide whether arbitration on any of those alleged violations is required.

CCSA and Green Dot Public Schools filed amicus curiae briefs in the matter.


By Vanessa Romo, PPCC Pass/Fail |


28 June 2012  ::  The L.A. teachers union is appealing a settlement that exempts teachers in low performing schools from being laid off based on seniority.

The Los Angeles teachers union was back in court on Thursday appealing a settlement that exempts teachers in low-performing schools from being laid off based on seniority.

The case made against LAUSD by the ACLU and a partnership of school reform advocates was this: low-performing schools in high poverty areas, which are already difficult to staff, experience the brunt of teacher layoffs. Since so many teachers at low-income schools are junior teachers, they're the first to be targeted when firings start. The system has been accused of leaving students in highly unstable schools and, in the worst cases, without teachers in the classroom. 

A judge agreed, exempting 45 of the district’s hardest-to-staff schools from the "last hired, first fired" rule back in 2011. But now, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) are appealing that decision. In a written statement, UTLA president Warren Fletcher said:

<blockquote>“The original ruling denied thousands of students the benefit of having experienced teachers in their classrooms.  We appealed because the judge’s original ruling did not address the underlying issues that have created instability; high teacher turnover, and the prevailing inadequate and unsafe environment for learning.  It does nothing to help provide a quality teacher in every classroom.  It just moves around the pieces on a chess board and that’s not good for students or teachers.”</blockquote>

A lawyer for the ACLU of Southern California, David Sapp, said he agrees with Fletcher that the settlement (which is now going into its second year) doesn’t get at the root of the problem. But, he argues, "teachers don’t have a constitutional right to seniority."

"It’s qualified, and where there are going to be constitutional violations, it’s appropriate to deviate from that seniority," he said.

A state appeals court has 90 days to decide whether or not the ruling will stand.

THE LAUSD BUDGET: The media that bothered to cover the story wrote:

LAUSD board approves $6.3B budget; after-school program saved

By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer, LA Daily News (from the Contra Costa Times)

Superintendent John Deasy as the school board was set to vote on the 2012-13 budget Thursday, June 28, 2012. (David Crane/Staff Photographer)

5:56:36 PM PDT  ::  After scrounging up $6.7 million to preserve free after-school care, the Los Angeles Unified board on Thursday approved a $6.3 billion budget that shortens the 2012-13 school year, eliminates thousands of jobs and reshapes some of the district's most iconic programs.

The board's 6-1 vote, with South Bay representative Richard Vladovic dissenting, capped an 11th-hour scramble to salvage the Beyond the Bell after-school program. It operates from 3-6 p.m. weekdays at every elementary and middle school in the district.

About $4 million will come from money the district had set aside to put a parcel tax on the 2013 ballot - although district officials are still considering that plan - and the balance from an unexpected surplus in preschool revenue in the state budget that Gov. Jerry Brown signed on Wednesday.

Prior to the vote, Superintendent John Deasy discussed highlights of the district's "dramatically tight budget" and what was saved - and lost - in closing a $169 million deficit. He also noted that the budget is based on the assumption that voters will pass a state sales and income tax increase on the November ballot and that even deeper cuts will result if it fails.

"We are good until Election Day - everything depends on passage of that," he said. "We simply have to get that (tax hike) passed so we can have a school year."

As it is, the school year that begins Aug. 14 will be two weeks shorter than usual, thanks to agreements by LAUSD's unions to take 10 unpaid days. There also will be about 5,000 fewer teachers, classified workers and skilled tradesmen on the district's payroll, the result of declining enrollment and state budget cuts.

And as bad as the district's financial picture is, officials said, it could have been much worse.

After projections in February showed LAUSD with a $557 million deficit, officials proposed eliminating adult and early-childhood education programs, along with elementary arts programs, expanding class sizes and laying off thousands of teachers and support staff.

An infusion of unexpected revenue from the state helped narrow the shortfall, allowing the district to keep class sizes at existing levels and retain librarians, nurses and high school counselors.

On the school board's orders, Deasy saved the Adult Ed Division, although its budget will be about $47 million instead of the $200 million allocated this year. The focus will be on credit-recovery and English-language classes, with limited job-training and older-adult courses offered on a fee basis.

The district will offer early-childhood classes to the same number of students, but will save money by operating fewer centers. There also are cuts to the program that teaches English to preschool students.

That left the Beyond the Bell Division, which had a $7.3 million budget to operate after-school drop-in centers, and other popular extracurricular activities.

Early on, the district saved Academic Decathlon and the Honor Marching Band, but said it must close two outdoor classrooms and dissolve the Jazz Band and district orchestra. And after a concerted lobbying effort by parents, employees and board members, Deasy found the money for the after-school programs.

The six-hour meeting was the last of the school year. The board will reconvene on Monday, when it will elect its president - a titular post that has been filled for the last four years by Monica Garcia.

Cliff Smith of Roofers Local 36 protests the possibility of more cuts outside the LAUSD offices in L.A. on Thursday, June 28, 2012. (David Crane/Staff Photographer)


Her tenure at the head of the horseshoe-shaped dias prompted a move by board members Vladovic, Bennett Kayser and Marguerite LaMotte - who frequently join together as a minority voting bloc on controversial issues - to rotate the position on an annual basis. It failed 4-3.

The meeting was also briefly disrupted by a demonstration by a few dozen students from Roosevelt High, who were protesting the presence of Planned Parenthood on campus. District police had to clear the meeting room.

The board also heard from Mark Bryant, the partner of Scot Graham, the former facilities employee who leveled sexual harassment allegations against former Superintendent Ramon Cortines. A proposed settlement with Graham fell apart when the district prematurely released details of the deal.

Bryant called on the district to investigate complaints in a timely manner and protect the privacy of those who file complaints against authority figures.


LA Unified OKs $6.3B budget with layoffs, cuts


The Associated Press from the Sacramento Bee |

Thursday, Jun. 28, 2012 - 8:38 pm  ::  LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Unified school board has approved a $6.3 billion budget for 2012-13 that calls for thousands of employee layoffs, a shortened school year and cuts to adult education and preschool programs.

The budget proposal passed Thursday night with a 6-1 vote.

District Superintendent John Deasy said at the board approval meeting that program cuts and layoffs would have been worst if employees had not agreed to take 10 furlough days, which will result in five fewer days of classroom instruction.

The district had to cut $169 million due to a loss of state funding.

Deasy calls the budget "dramatically tight" but noted that some programs and furloughs could be restored if voters pass the tax initiatives on the November ballot that will raise more money for education.

About 4,000 employees are slated to lose their jobs.


New LAUSD Budget Cuts School Year

The LAUSD Board signed off on a spending plan that officials say will eliminate thousands of jobs while saving others

By Gordon Tokumatsu and Bill French, KNBC |

With deficits in the tens of millions of dollars, Los Angeles Unified School District board members signed off on a $6.3 billion budget Thursday that eliminates thousands of jobs and shaves as many as 10 days off the next school year. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 28, 2012.

Gordon Tokumatsu, KNBC

Thursday, Jun 28, 2012  |  Updated 8:27 PM PDT  ::  With deficits in the tens of millions of dollars, Los Angeles Unified School District board members signed off on a $6.3 billion budget Thursday that eliminates thousands of jobs and shaves as many as 10 days off the next school year. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 28, 2012.

With deficits in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Los Angeles Unified School District board members signed off on a $6.03 billion budget Thursday that eliminates thousands of jobs and shaves as many as 10 days off the next school year.

smf: Sloppy math alert: Tens or hundreds of millions. $6.3 or 6.03 billion?  The difference is 300 million v. 3 million. 

The board voted 6 to 1 to approve the budget that closes a $390 million deficit the district faced heading into the new school year; LAUSD has faced a cumulative $2.7 billion deficit since 2008-09, due in large part to reduced state funding, according to a statement released by the district Thursday night.

"The budget is dramatically tight," Superintendent of Education John Deasy told board members. "You can always advocate for additional things once the school year opens up."

Adult education programs will be hit with 3,200 layoffs and a new payment structure may require some older students to pay fees, which members anticipate will save about $84 million.

Photos and Videos

Deasy: "Shameful" That Teacher Discipline Bill Died in Committee

"Shameful" That...

School's Fledgling Music Program Threatened

School's Fledgling
Music Program Threatened

"I want to express the sadness of approving a budget that has less dollars and does the best we can to serve children well in a difficult time, but does not really honor the promise of what we have said we want for our children," board president Mónica García said in the statement.

The district renegotiated union contracts, resulting in shorter school years, and about 1,400 layoff notices will be issued to teachers and support staff. That figure is smaller than originally anticipated.

The statement cited district figures stating the agreements saved more than 6,200 jobs.

"We are basically good until election day," said Deasy, reflecting on the importance of a voter tax initiative backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that will be on the November ballot.

There was some positive news amid the cuts: class sizes will remain the same, librarian and nurse jobs will be spared, and arts and music programs will survive. Thirteen continuation schools slated for closure will now stay open.

After-school programs for the 50,000 children districtwide whose parents work later hours will continue to have a place to go, at least until November.


LAUSD approves $6 billion budget for 2012-13 with $169 million in cuts

By Tami Abdollah, KPCC Pass/Fail :

LAUSD board protesters

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside L.A. Unified headquarters downtown as the board met inside to discuss the district's dire budget picture. (March 2012)

June 28, 2012  ::  The L.A. Unified Board of Education today overwhelmingly approved a $6 billion budget for 2012-13 with $169 million in cuts that manages to saves outdoor education, Academic Decathlon and the after school program, despite hefty cuts to adult education and the layoffs of thousands of educators.

The 6-1 vote, with board member Richard Vladovic voting no, was made reluctantly by board members after about an hour of discussion. Superintendent John Deasy emphasized in a brief presentation that many of the savings were "for one year" and stressed that whether voters approve Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative to raise taxes will "determine the future of most of this."

If the governor's tax initiative fails, L.A. Unified estimates it will have to cut an additional $264 million in 2012-13. Public schools across the state would suffer a nearly $6 billion cut under Brown's budget.

But Deasy said there was no time to discuss "'what if after November,' it’s what must be. We simply have to get that passed so we can have a school year."

The final budget came after months of a changing budget picture that brought hordes of angry protesters, parents and teachers to L.A. Unified's Downtown headquarters.

The district initially unveiled a proposed budget in February that addressed a $557 million estimated shortfall. That figure was later revised down to $390 million after the state Legislature restored transportation funds to schools and the district had higher than expected revenues from the lottery and lower benefits costs.

More than 11,700 educators received preliminary pink slips in March as the district worked to determine what its budget picture would look like. Talks included wholesale eliminations of programs such as adult education and early education.

But savings such as concessions from unions — teachers, administrators and the classified workers union all agreed to take 10 furlough days, effectively shortening the school year by a week — resulted in the lower $169 million cut the board approved today.

Still, under this budget, 3,295 educators will lose their jobs, more than half of those under the adult education program, which is being hit with a $84 million cut, according to district numbers. Cafeteria support will see an $18 million cut, and the school readiness language development program will receive a $9 million cut.

That included trimming $84 million from the Adult Education Division and $9 million from school-readiness classes for young English learners.

Board member Steve Zimmer said this budget avoided "catastrophic" cuts that would have completely changed "public education as we know it in the city of Los Angeles."

But UTLA Secretary David Lyell told members he was concerned about lack of cuts to the central office, which were estimated at $23.6 million in May and ultimately ended as a $4.5 million cut.

"All year long, we've heard about how UTLA members need to sacrifice, and we have," Lyell said. "I've been getting calls from members, there are a few areas of concern where the district isn't sacrificing."

Lyell also questioned increases of tens of millions of dollars in budgeting for general supplies expenditures and instructional materials.

Over the last month district officials have scrambled to find $7 million to prevent the elimination of the after-school care program Beyond the Bell, which serves about 50,000 students from the hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Deasy said today that those funds will come from the $3.9 million that would have been set aside to put the parcel tax on the ballot and other restored funds from the state for early education.

Deasy asked board members to remove the tax from the ballot in order to focus support around the governor's tax initiative in November, which he said is critical for the district's budget.

"We are basically good until election day," he told board members. "And after election day every single solitary assumption in this budget depends on the passage of that" initiative.

Parents and advocates praised the district's effort to save the after school program. Jose Sigala, who heads up the After School Action Coalition, told board members the program provides children with a "safe place to play and learn, but also provides a lot of working families with a sense of relief, where there is a place they can count on to watch their kids in a safe environment."

Board member Tamar Galatzan, who is a mother of two boys who attend LAUSD schools said she uses the after school program and knows how important it is. She said working to save that program illustrated to her how complex the budget process and system can be.

For example, though some parents found the program so valuable they were willing to pay, the district could not institute a sliding fee schedule under current state law. Charging for the program would have changed its status from drop-in program to child-care program, which would have required staffing and other specific requirements in place. Though schools could apply for state waivers, those would have to be sought and granted individually.

Galatzan said she would be working next year to change state law to allow districts to charge a sliding fee for after-school drop-in programs, to prevent them from being categorized as child care, so that L.A. Unified can keep them open.

"So many of these things in this budget, we're trying to be creative," Galatzan said. "...But frequently there are these barriers that we didn't construct that are put in our way


--Stephen Ceasar, LA Times LA NOW (Online Only) |

●●smf: Yesterday  at 2:42 AM I tweeted: Today's #LAUSDbudget (will be) ‬ lost in news cycle shadow of Supreme Court #Obamacare/Holder Contempt/Banking Scandals  ¡Don't let the kids get lost!

Witchhunters take notice. The Obamacare story took all the ink in the Times, along with the Holder contempt charges, a rehash+update of the 2-year old Chris Brown/Rhianna story and coverage of a MTA meeting where Mayor Tony repeated his appeal for good-idea legacy-enhancing federal transportation funding that ain’t gonna happen. 

Yesterday The Board of Ed passed a budget permanently firing 5000 (not 3000 – but who’s counting?) employees, shortening the school year and reducing adult education by more than half, etc., etc., etc.),  A budget that puts the bottom line and test scores and the ®eform, Inc. agenda of assessing and blaming teachers over the safety and welfare and (lets face it) education of children.

Fiscal bankruptcy was avoided, moral and ethical bankruptcy embraced.

Yes, the Beyond the Bell afterschool program was “saved”  …but the superintendent’s acceptance of this was sourly presented as being the potential budget buster that District may never recover from if the Governor’s initiative doesn’t pass in November. 

Not that the Board of Ed has endorsed the Governor’s Initiative.

The print edition of today’s Times did not cover any of this; not one column inch was dedicated to LAUSD. Not the board meeting. Not the UTLA lawsuit filing . Not the verdict in California Charter School Association v. LAUSD lawsuit that may well mark the end of the District. Proving perhaps that both public education and The Los Angeles Times are irrelevant in today’s Los Angeles.

June 28, 2012 |  6:59 pm  ::  The Los Angeles Board of Education approved its final $6-billion budget Thursday, bridging a multimillion-dollar shortfall in the state’s largest school district by shortening the school year and laying off about 3,000 employees.

In February, the board was tasked with closing an estimated $557-million shortfall. Through a series of negotiations with labor unions, which include unpaid days, a victory in arbitration with the teachers union and additional state funds, the district was able to whittle away at the massive deficit.

The approved budget nonetheless includes about $169 million in cuts, but salvages some programs previously facing elimination, including adult education, preschool, after-school and arts programs.

Richard Vladovic cast the only dissenting vote on the seven-member board.

Much of the restorations are contingent on the November election.

That ballot will include two funding initiatives for public education, including one backed by Gov. Jerry Brown. If it's approved, some funds may be used to restore the full academic year, said Supt. John Deasy.

If voters turn down a tax increase, L.A. Unified budget woes would worsen considerably,  Deasy said. Should it fail, the district would be facing about $264 million more in cuts.

“I just want you to tell me it will be OK,” board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte said to Deasy before the vote.

Deasy said he could not do so, stressing that the November initiative is necessary to stave off more drastic cuts.

The budget scales back the district’s adult education programs, which previously faced elimination, by shrinking enrollment to about a third of current levels. Preschool programs will continue at reduced levels and the number of elementary school arts educators, nurses and librarians, as well as overall class sizes, will be maintained at current levels.

The district this month reached an agreement with teacher unions that prevented thousands of layoffs in exchange for 10 unpaid days, which would shorten the school year by a week.

Under that agreement, teachers will lose pay for five instructional days plus four holidays and one training day, equivalent to about a 5% salary cut.

More than 9,000 teachers had faced being laid off as of June 30. Under the budget, 3,200 teachers and support staff will be fired.

The district’s Beyond the Bell after-school program, which serves about 40,000 students, was set to be eliminated as recently as Wednesday.

Instead, Deasy presented the board with the option of maneuvering funds that had been set aside for placing a parcel tax on the November ballot and using surplus state funds for preschool. That would amount to about $6.7 million.

Should the board move to place the parcel tax on a future ballot, that money would have to be found elsewhere, Deasy said.

Board Member Bennett  Kayser, who was elected last year, said before his vote that during his campaign he was often asked if he would ever vote for a budget that includes teacher layoffs.

“I said that it would be the last possible idea for a solution before I would vote for it,” he told the audience. “And --  it has come to that. So I vote yes.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012


By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer, LA Daily News |

Dropouts in the whole LAUSD -- and at your school

6/27/2012 07:21:00 PM PDT  ::  Los Angeles Unified's graduation rate took a slight dip while its dropout rate improved as the district succeeded in keeping more struggling students in school, according to a state report released Wednesday.

According to the California Department of Education, 61.6 percent of LAUSD's Class of 2011 received their diplomas, compared with 62.4 percent who graduated in 2010.

The district's dropout rate, meanwhile, improved from 24.8 percent in 2010 to 20.6 percent last year.

The remaining students not counted in the dropout or graduation rates include seniors who didn't have enough credits to graduate, but still remained in school. That figure jumped from 12.2 percent to 17.5 percent over the same period.

"I'm extremely pleased with the results and the knowledge that we are already making good progress (for 2012)," Superintendent John Deasy said. "Looking back more than a year ago, far fewer kids have left us, which is very positive ... Even though they struggled, they stayed with us."

Dropout prevention has been one of Deasy's top priorities during his two years with the district. In addition to advocating credit-recovery and other intervention programs, he overhauled Los Angeles Unified's disciplinary policies in an effort to minimize the number of students who are "pushed out" of the system by multiple suspensions.

"When we keep them," he said, "we can do good with them."

The new data is based on a system that tracks students from the time they enter ninth grade, even if they transfer to another public school in California. It's the second year the tracking system was used, which allowed a comparison with 2010 figures.

School districts in Los Angeles County racked up a graduation rate of 71.6 percent in 2011, a 1.1 point increase from the prior year. The dropout rate improved from 18.9 percent in 2010 to 15.7 percent in 2011, figures show.

Statewide, 76.3 percent of students who started ninth grade in 2007 graduated with their class in 2011, a uptick of 1.5 percent. The dropout rate dipped 2.2 points to 14.4 percent.

"We're heading in the right direction," Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, said in a conference call. "We want 85 to 90 percent (graduation rates) in the future."

Torlakson noted gains statewide among Hispanic and African-American students, as well as English-learners. The improvements were especially noteworthy, he said, given budget cuts that resulted in larger class sizes, shortened school calendars and limited summer school offerings.

In Los Angeles Unified, the graduation rate for Hispanics slipped by about 1 point to 59.8 percent in 2011, although the dropout rate improved by 4.1 points, to 21.1 percent. Among African-Americans, the grad rate jumped from 71.6 to 74.9 percent, while the dropout rate fell from 30.1 to 24.5 percent.

"Even though these rates are improving, at the rate California is going, it will take us 13 years to close the graduation gap between Latina and African-American students and their white peers," said Arun Ramanathan, executive director of The Education Trust-West, a statewide advocacy group. "Tens of thousands of dropouts represent a large-scale tragedy for the California economy and our state's future prosperity."

English-learners, who represent about one-third of Los Angeles Unified students, also showed improved graduation rates, lower dropout rates and more students staying in school - nearly 25 percent - in an effort to earn their diploma.

Deasy said that efforts to make English-learners proficient in their adopted language are critical to the students' academic success.

"It's virtually impossible to take the courses they need to graduate unless they're reclassified as proficient," he said. "We had the single-highest spike in reclassification rates in the state. The door is now open for them to graduate."

Some of the district's most successful high schools are located in the San Fernando Valley, including Verdugo Hills, with an 82.9 percent grad rate, Chatsworth and Taft (each with 83 percent), North Hollywood (83.9 percent), and Valley Alternative Magnet (93.5 percent).

High Tech High in Lake Balboa graduated 88.5 percent of its first graduating class in 2011. At Daniel Pearl High, a tiny journalism magnet in Lake Balboa, all 58 members of the 2011 senior class earned their diploma.


The law, meant to hasten the removal of LAUSD teachers under investigation, was proposed in the wake of the Miramonte Elementary School abuse scandal

By Kim Baldonado and Bill French, | NBC Los Angeles


View more videos at:

Kim Baldonado and Rodney Danson

VIDEO: A bill that would have simplified and expedited the process for removing teachers accused of lewd or violent acts involving children from the classroom died in committee in Sacramento. LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says the vote was "shameful." Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.


Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012  |  Updated 11:45 PM PDT ::  Legislation that would have expedited the disciplinary review process for teachers accused of sexual abuse failed to clear the Assembly Education Committee Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1530, sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla,  would have made streamlined the process for firing teachers accused of crimes involving sexual abuse, violence and drug offenses.

The bill was written out of response to the Miramonte Elementary scandal in which two teachers were charged with sexually abusing students.

Ongoing Coverage: Miramonte School Investigation

It would have allowed evidence more than four years old to be considered in dismissal hearings, which supporters contend may have brought the Miramonte case to light sooner.

Photos and Videos

Miramonte School Scandal

School Scandal

Top News Photos: Los Angeles

Top News
Photos: Los Angeles

More Photos and Videos

The bill also would have sped up the firing process for teachers accused of sex crimes, drug offenses and child abuse by having those cases heard by an administrative law judge. The final decision would have been determined by the school district.

But the legislation was strongly opposed by teachers unions, which insisted that steps were already in place which should have prevented the Miramonte situation and others like it.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy said he was disappointed by the bill's demise.

"I think it's shameful," said Deasy. "I think the vote and what eventually has happened has been shameful for students and for employees in the State of California.

"We basically have said that students who are brutally molested by employees, we cannot actually expedite their firing. I am disheartened, but undeterred. But I am incredibly disheartened."

Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: iPhone/iPad App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts

Posted Jun 27, 201


By Barbara Jones, LA Daily News Staff Writer,

5:55:51 PM PDT ::  Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy announced late Wednesday he'll find $7 million to continue the after-school programs that serve some 42,000 kids daily.

The 11th hour reprieve means the supervised activities at the district's 564 elementary and middle schools will continue in the 2012-13 school year, which begins Aug. 14. Deasy had proposed eliminating the program, operated by the district's Beyond the Bell branch, in a money-saving move.

"Though funding is extremely tight, we must do all that we can to preserve vital programs that serve some 42,000 children across the city," Deasy said.

Parents had mobilized in opposition to Deasy's proposal to eliminate the $7 million program. The City Council cast a symbolic vote on Tuesday opposing the cut, and Deasy said that all seven school board members had asked him to preserve the program.

The board will vote today on the $6.3 billion budget for fiscal 2012. Deasy said he'll present the board with several options for continuing the Beyond the Bell program.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


L A Daily News Editorial |

6/26/2012 11:51:02 AM PDT  ::  L.A. schools' proposed budget cuts spread the pain around. But perhaps the most sympathy should be reserved for the 50,000 children -- and their families -- who would suffer from the loss of after-school care.

Schools do more than educate. Many working parents also trust schools to keep their kids out of trouble in the late-afternoon hours following classes.

The Los Angeles Unified School District budget that's up for a vote Thursday hits the Beyond the Bell after-school program and others like it.

"Who are we as a community if we turn 50,000 kindergarten through eighth-grade children into latchkey kids overnight?" school board member Bennett Kayser, who is trying to find $7 million to save the Beyond the Bell program, told one of our reporters.

Kayser called on local governments and foundations to step up, noting that even if parents had the money to pay for after-school care, there aren't enough private programs to take on 50,000 kids during the crucial 3-6 p.m. period.

Many families don't have a parent at home when children get out of school. Many of those would face a choice between leaving kids on their own, trying to pay for day care, or having a mom or dad quit a job.


Baseball Coach Smokes Weed With Students Whilst Chaperoning Field Trip to Dodger Stadium

By Lauren Lloyd inLAist  News|

 June 26, 2012 8:30 AMPolice announced Monday that a high school assistant baseball coach was arrested for allegedly smoking marijuana on the way to and from Dodger Stadium whilst transporting six students to a Dodgers game.

Pedro Cruz Trujillo of Kennedy High School in Granada Hills was investigated after a school staff member overheard students chatting about the May 18 reefer ride and contacted police on May 25. CBS LA says Trujillo is also accused of sharing his herb with some of the students. He has since been removed from his coaching gig.

Trujillo, 24, was arrested Monday at 11:20am and booked on six counts of child endangerment involving students between the ages of 14 and 16-years-old, according to City News Service. The cannabis-craving coach was held on $100,000 bail and faces additional charges for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.


Pedro Trujillo: Coach Smoked Marijuana With Students En Route to Dodger Game?

By Dennis Romero, LA Weekly |  

Updated at the bottom with the school district saying Trujillo has been fired.

Tue., Jun. 26 2012 First posted at 7 a.m.Updated at 11:46 AM   ::  If you're an assistant high school baseball coach, try not to get stoned with your underage students.

suspect trujillo lapd.JPG

The LAPD last night said Kennedy High School's Pedro Cruz Trujillo, 24, didn't get that memo. Cops say he took six students, ages 14 to 16, to a Dodgers game in spring and smoked marijuana with at least some of them.

Pedro Trujillo/LAPD>>

Yesterday morning officers arrested Trujillo on suspicion of child endangerment. Police say they'll also recommend charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

View Larger Map

The May 18 game trip involved in-car weed smoking to and from Dodger stadium, cops say, but not all six of the Granada Hills students in Trujillo's ride took part.

A school staffer later overheard some teens on campus talking about the smoke-out, and police were called in, according to an LAPD statement.

The department investigated the incident for a month before making the arrest yesterday at 11:20 a.m., cops say.

Detectives are entertaining the possibility that Trujillo might have done stuff like this on other occasions, and they're still investigating.

Trujillo, meanwhile, remained behind bars in lieu of $100,000 bail.

If the allegations are true, this guy is a true genius. Not only did he (allegedly) get high while behind the wheel with six kids in his care, but he (allegedly) smoked them out too.

[Update at 11:46 a.m.]: The L.A. Unified School District today said Trujillo had been fired:

The LAUSD had removed Trujillo from the campus in May when the incident was brought to the District.

Once arrested by LAPD and charged with child endangering involving marijuana, Trujillo was fired from both of his positions with the District.

[It's not clear to us that the district attorney's office has filed charges in the case. He was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, with additional counts being recommended by the LAPD.]


other coverage

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, Assistant Coach, Smoked Marijuana With His Students ...

Huffington Post - ‎8 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, a 24-year-old assistant baseball coach at Kennedy High School, allegedly smoked marijuana with six students, aged 14 to 16, as he drove them to a game at Dodger Stadium on May 18. Sports are generally thought of as healthy ...

Baseball coach smoked pot with students, LAPD alleges

Los Angeles Times - ‎11 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, 24, who worked as junior varsity baseball coach at John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, was taken into custody Monday after an investigation revealed the coach had smoked marijuana with six students who ranged in age from ...

Police say coach smoked pot on student outing

Sacramento Bee - ‎12 hours ago‎

Investigators say John F. Kennedy High School assistant baseball coach Pedro Cruz Trujillo smoked pot on the way to and from Dodger Stadium while taking six Granada Hills students to the game on May 18. A school official overhead students discussing ...

Baseball: Kennedy's junior varsity coach is arrested

Los Angeles Times - ‎Jun 25, 2012‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, 24, who was the junior varsity baseball coach at Granada Hills Kennedy, was arrested Monday on suspicion of child endangerment, according to a news release from the LAPD. According to police, Trujillo took a group of six students, ...

Coach Fired for Allegedly Smoking Pot With Students on Dodger Outing - ‎5 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo was booked on suspicion of child endangerment, police said. His bail was set at $600000 bail. By City News Service A Kennedy High School assistant baseball coach arrested for allegedly smoking pot with some students during an outing ...

LAPD: Granada Hills Baseball Coach Accused of Smoking Marijuana With Students

NBC Los Angeles - ‎20 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, 24, of Los Angeles, was booked on six counts of child endangerment Monday, police said. By Samantha Tata Assistant baseball coach Pedro Cruz Trujillo, 24, of Los Angeles, was booked on six counts of child endangerment Monday, ...

Kennedy High's Coach Trujillo Arrested on Marijuana Charge - ‎20 hours ago‎

By City News Service Kennedy High School assistant baseball coach Pedro Cruz Trujillo was arrested for allegedly smoking marijuana on the way to and from Dodger Stadium as he took six students to a Los Angeles Dodgers game, police said Monday.

Assistant baseball coach at Kennedy HS arrested; allegedly smoked pot with ...

Long Beach Press-Telegram - ‎12 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, 24, an assistant baseball coach from Kennedy High School, was arrested on Monday, June 25, 2012 on suspicion of child endangerment, according to detectives at LAPD's Devonshire division. (Photo courtesy of LAPD) An assistant ...

Coach accused of smoking pot with students - ‎9 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, an assistant baseball coach at Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, is accused of child endangerment. Authorities say the 24-year-old took a group of six students on an outing to a Dodgers game at Dodgers Stadium on May 18.

Baseball coach accused of smoking marijuana with students (blog) - ‎8 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo is suspected of smoking marijuana with students during a Los Angeles Dodgers game. AP Photo/Los Angeles Police Dept. By Samantha Tata, LOG ANGELES -- A Los Angeles high school assistant baseball coach was arrested ...


LA school baseball coach fired after child endangerment arrest

89.3 KPCC (blog) - ‎7 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, an assistant baseball coach and education aid at Kennedy High School, was arrested Monday by LAPD on suspicion of six counts of child endangerment. Police say that in May, Trujilla took six high school students to a Dodgers game.

Police: Granada Hills Baseball Coach Smoked Pot With Students

CBS Local - ‎11 hours ago‎

Pedro Cruz Trujillo, 24, was arrested Monday after investigators found he had smoked marijuana with students from Kennedy High School while driving them to a Dodgers game in May, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Six kids between the ages ...

High School Coach Accused of Smoking Pot With Students

KTLA - ‎Jun 25, 2012‎

LAPD detectives arrested Kennedy High School assistant coach Pedro Cruz Trujillo, 24, about 11:20 am Monday, the culmination of an investigation that began May 25, according to a police news release. Investigators discovered that Trujillo took six ...


By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer, LA Daily News |

6/26/2012 04:43:28 PM PDT  ::  Los Angeles Unified plans to spend up to $400,000 to review at least 8,300 employee files unearthed in a search for misconduct that may have gone unreported over the last 40 years, officials said Tuesday.

Principals at 941 of the district's 1,222 campuses met Superintendent John Deasy's deadline of June 22 to sift through employee files, and any files from the remaining 281 schools and offices are expected soon, District spokesman Tom Waldman said.

Deasy ordered the search in February, amid the sex-abuse scandals unfolding at Miramonte Elementary and other LAUSD campuses.

"There was a sense in the aftermath of Miramonte, and other revelations of misconduct, that the public's confidence in the district had been shaken a bit," Waldman said. "This unprecedented combing-through-the-files process, along with stricter (notification) guidelines, lets parents feel their kids are as safe as possible in our schools."

Deasy originally said he wanted every file searched, but he later narrowed the focus to 40 years because some schools are more than a century old and the task proved overwhelming. Administrators still said they had to search attics, basements and sheds where outdated files had been stored.

Waldman said administrators hadn't kept count of how many files they'd pulled, read and separated in search of suspected verbal, physical or sexual abuse.

The files have been scanned into a computer system, and will now be scrutinized

by a team of eight retired supervisors and administrators - a process that is expected to take three months, Waldman said.

To fund the project, the district has included $400,000 for the project in the 2012-13 budget set for approval on Thursday.

According to Waldman, two of the retirees will independently review each file and will judge whether appropriate action was taken in the past or whether follow-up is warranted. If either one suspects misconduct, the file will be returned to the school site, where the principal will be instructed to pursue the case with "due diligence," Waldman said. "Our efforts will focus initially on files of active employees," he said. "If the review determines further investigation or additional administrative action is needed, the school and Educational Service Center will be notified that further follow-up is required." Deasy previously ordered district staff to to refile four years' worth of misconduct reports with the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which has the authority to suspend or revoke an educator's license for sexual misconduct or other inappropriate behavior. At the time, Deasy said he wanted to be sure there was no lapse like the one that occurred when the district waited a year before notifying the state that it was firing Mark Berndt, the Miramonte Elementary teacher charged with committing lewd acts with students.

Waldman said it's possible that that there is some overlap between the 600 cases sent to Sacramento and the 8,300 files awaiting review by LAUSD.

The head of United Teachers Los Angeles said the district's duty was to report suspected misconduct when it happened, not years later, and that its lapse potentially created unsafe conditions at local schools.

"The district opted for a PR-driven appearance of vigilence and oversight in the place of discharging its duties in a timely manner to make sure children are protected," UTLA President Warren Fletcher said. "The LAUSD has spent years out of compliance with the state's requirements and the dangerous situation they created then can't be erased. You can't unring that bell."

California law sets a four-year statute of limitation for the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing to take disciplinary action against an educator suspected of misconduct.

Under Los Angeles Unified's teacher contract, four years is also the length of time that unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct can be retained in a employee's personnel file. After that, it must be kept in a separate "expired" file.

The scandals at Miramonte and other campuses sparked an outcry from Los Angeles Unified officials and children's advocates about the lengthy and difficult process of firing teachers accused of offenses against children.

Board President Monica Garcia and San Fernando Valley board members Tamar Galatzan and Nury Martinez introduced resolutions seeking to streamline the dismissal process and to create a standard procedure for notifying parents about suspected abuse.

LAUSD has since implemented a policy to notify parents within 72 hours if an employee is pulled from a classroom or arrested for suspected misconduct.

The district also backed a bill by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, that would make it easier to fire teachers suspected of crimes involving children.

That bill, SB 1530, has been approved by the Senate and is set for a vote Wednesday by the Assembly Education Commission. That bill, SB 1530, has been approved by the Senate and is set for a vote Wednesday by the Assembly Education Commission. Garcia and Martinez are scheduled to testify in favor of passage.

"We all know and appreciate that the vast majority of our children's teachers are caring and responsible professionals," Martinez said in a statement. "But when a trusted employee has engaged in unspeakable behavior involving a child, we need the ability to act quickly to protect our students.

"Senator Padilla has stepped up to the plate on this issue and I want to challenge his colleagues to follow suit," she said. "This limited change to state law is just plain common sense and is the right thing to do."


June 26, 2012

Dear 4LAKids Reader:

I write to express alarm and concern for the safety and well-being of our children. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is proposing to eliminate the Youth Services program (a $6.9 million cut) that provides after-school direct services to over 42,000 students daily, across the district’s 26 cities and portions of the County. Additionally, thousands more will lose access to their campus at 2:10pm, ending non-profit and private enrichment programs, tutoring, arts education, evening nutrition, and sports and recreation opportunities. Worse, there is not private capacity to take on 50,000 children by the start of school in six weeks even if their parents had the money to pay for after-school care.

Fifty-thousand latchkey children, ranging from 5 years of age to teenagers will soon be populating our parks, libraries, and streets. As a school police officer noted, the gangs have an afterschool program too and they are not making budget cutbacks. We simply have no choice, local governments and foundations must come together to solve this crisis as it impacts all of us through increased rates of bullying, obesity, poverty, teen pregnancy, crime and dropout rates, never-mind the adverse affect on the local economy and family budgets.

Through wars, depressions and recessions, since 1915, the LAUSD has provided some form of free, after school programming to millions of students and families, but on June 28th, 2012 the LAUSD Superintendent, proposes to end that commitment. As a Board Member, teacher for 14 years, and parent of two LAUSD graduates, I cannot stand by and allow our students, parents, and communities to be put at risk. Frankly, I cannot think of one standardized test, curriculum overhaul or evaluation metric that could be worth more than the safety of a child, nor one pot-hole for that matter.

I need your help to ensure that the Superintendent and my colleagues at the Board of Education understand the gravity of this situation and the potential catastrophic impact eliminating after school programming will have on all of us. I would like to close by thanking you for your time and consideration on this most important of issues. We are all servants of communities and together we can guarantee that our children will remain safe with an eye towards their future.



Bennett Kayser

Board Member, District 5



333 South Beaudry Avenue, 24th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90017 •TEL. (213) 241-5555 •FAX (213) 241-8467




Mr. Kayser has alerted every elected official that overlaps with the LAUSD to this impending crisis. Both labor (Maria Elena Durazo) and business (LA Chamber’s Gary Toebben) were alerted to this issue this morning. LA City Council unanimously voted to tell us to fund after-school  though they did not restore one cut to LA’s Best ($25 mil) or re-fund the $3.5 million it used to give LAUSD for after school until 1999.

We met with budget people today, the money is there, we simply must demand that the district stickto its #1 priority, safety! Cahuenga Elementary and Frank del Olmo Elementary schools in Board District #2 (Monica’s) will start school July 2nd without Youth Services!


  1. Please do all possible to attend the LAUSD Board Meeting on Thursday 6/28 when the budget will be finalized (and a after-school cut by $6.9 million) at 1pm @ 333 S. Beaudry. BRING YOUR LATCHKEY KIDS!!!
  2. Email this information to absolutely everyone! (blogs, relatives, your kid’s classmates, neighborhood councils, the Girl Scouts/the Boy Scouts, non-profits, churches, elected offices, etc.)
  3. Call and email all board members (but for Bennett Kayser) immediately
    1. District 1: Marguerite LaMotte (213) 241-6382
      1. Email:
    2. District 2: Monica Garcia (213) 241-6180
      1. Email:
    3. District 3: Tamar Galatzan (213) 241-6386
      1. Email:
    4. District 4: Steven Zimmer (213) 241-6387
      1. Email:
    5. District 6: Nury Martinez (213) 241-6388
      1. Email:
    6. District 7: Dr. Richard Vladovic (213) 241-6385
      1. Email:


  1. an online website from Jose Sigala that instantly emails LAUSD board members as well as
  2. a link to today’s Daily News article about after school cuts and
  3. the local Patch’s coverage of Friday’s press conference.

FOLLOWING is  a survey of other cities and what they contribute to their school district’s after school programs, talking points by John Kim of the Advancement Project, and a press release just issued by the district, again confirming that the Superintendent’s plan is to de-fund Youth Services.

Thanks all for your effort. We are in the home stretch. Demand that we find the $6.9 million dollars to fund Youth Services



LAUSD News Statement

For Immediate Release                                                                 June 26, 2012

Contact: Alvaro Cortes                                                                               

(213) 241-7900                                                                                #11/12-238                           



Since 1915, the LAUSD has been committed to the welfare and care of children after school. During the 2011-12 school year, approximately 42,000 school children in grades one through eight participated in Youth Services from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

“Unfortunately, due to California’s dire economic downward spiral, approximately 42,000 school children will be left without an afterschool program,” said Alvaro Cortes, executive director, Beyond the Bell. “Effective next school year, the Youth Services afterschool program at all 564 elementary and middle schools will be eliminated.”

In addition, other beloved programs will be closed such as the Clear Creek and Point Fermin Outdoor Education Program, the Thelonious Monk Jazz Program, Beyond the Bell’s Youth Orchestra as well as the Band and Drill Team Competition.

Only the All-District Honor Marching Band was saved, as students will continue marching in The Rose Parade® for their 41st consecutive year.

“These cuts have been extremely painful,” said Cortes. “I would like to recognize and give my profound appreciation to the supporters and employees of the LAUSD’s after school Youth Services program. On behalf of the 42,000 students who play on the playgrounds in LAUSD, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts during these very trying and difficult economic times.”


Afterschool Handout 062512 Adv Proj

SUPERINTENDENT’S PROPOSED “FINAL” BUDGET for 2012-2014: Read it and peep!



By Barbara Jones, Daily News Staff Writer |

To view LAUSD's 2012-2013 budget click here.

6/25/2012 07:52:51 PM PDT  ::  The Los Angeles Unified board is poised Thursday to approve a $6.3 billion budget for 2012-13 that salvages some adult and early-education programs but shortens the school year, eliminates thousands of jobs and wipes out after-school care for at least 50,000 youngsters.

The financial plan released Monday is the result of gut-wrenching decisions spotlighted during months of school board meetings, with employees, parents and students pleading at the microphone and demonstrating outside for threatened programs to be spared.

In the end, the district had to whittle away $169 million to meet the state requirement for a balanced budget.

That included trimming $84 million from Adult Education and $9 million from school-readiness classes for young English-learners.

If the budget is approved Thursday, the Beyond the Bell Division will lose its after-school program, outdoor education camps, jazz band and youth orchestra. However, the high-profile Honor Marching Band and Academic Decathlon will continue.

Class sizes will remain at current levels, schools will still have librarians and nurses, early-childhood enrollment will stay level and elementary students will have access to arts and music programs. Thirteen continuation schools slated for closure will continue operating.

"We were able to avert catastrophe, but there's still real and present pain and loss," school board member Steve Zimmer said Monday. "Children and their


families are still losing because of this budget crisis."

Back in January, with the state deferring funding for California's public schools, Los Angeles Unified anticipated it would have to slash its budget by nearly $557 million.

An infusion of cash and agreements by the district's unions to shorten the 2012-13 school year by up to 10 days helped narrow - but not eliminate - the deficit.

That meant the district had to proceed with the layoffs of thousands of teachers, administrators, classified employees and skilled tradesmen. A district spokeswoman said 11,000 pink slips sent out in March are still being rescinded, so the estimated number of job losses was unavailable.

Many of those jobs, however, will likely be cut from the Adult Education Division, which saw its proposed budget bought down to about $36 million, compared with $160 million during the current fiscal year.

The division is being "reshaped" to focus on English-language, credit-recovery and programs for adults with disabilities, said Andres Ameigeiras, the administrator of operations. Career-technical programs like cosmetology and auto shop and classes for older adults - such as exercise and painting - will still be offered, but on a fee basis.

Ameigeiras said classes will be consolidated and some facilities closed, such as the Pacoima Skills Center. Ameigeiras estimated the division will be able to serve about 100,000 students - one-third of this year's enrollment - but insisted that officials will make every effort to serve the maximum number of students.

With just a few days left before the board must approve a budget - the fiscal year starts July 1 - member Bennett Kayser is trying to find the $7 million to rescue Beyond the Bell's after-school program.

He and others worry about the dilemma facing working parents who can't pick up their children in mid-afternoon, and the temptation facing youngsters left home alone.

"Who are we as a community if we turn 50,000 kindergarten through eighth-grade children into latchkey kids overnight?" Kayser said. "Worse, there is no private capacity to take on 50,000 children, even if their parents had the money to pay for after-school care.

"Local governments and foundations must immediately come together to solve this after-school crisis."

The division's Youth Services program operates from 3-6 p.m. weekdays, offering supervised activities for an estimated 42,000 students at the district's 654 elementary and middle schools. About 8,000 additional youngsters are enrolled in complementary after-school programs that will have to shut down without LAUSD personnel there to supervise.

There are also schools that receive state money to operate after-school programs on LAUSD campuses. With the loss of district funding, principals will have to decide who gets to stay and who has to go home.

"The district needs to go out and look for the money, they have to make cuts in other places," said parent advocate Scott Folsom. "This is not the time for the district to be rolling out new programs."

Heather Burgess, who has three children at Apperson Elementary in Sunland, hopes the district will find a way to restore the Youth Services funding or partner with another organization.

"If the board chooses not find money for Youth Services, a solution might be an outside program - Big Brothers Big Sisters or the Boys & Girls Club or the Y," she said.

The City Council is scheduled today to vote on a resolution opposing LAUSD's move to end the Youth Services program.

"After-school programs fill in gaps in education and provide enrichment," said Julie Wong, a spokeswoman for Councilman Eric Garcetti, a sponsor of the resolution. "The goal is to have something available to every family that wants and needs access."

L.A. UNIFIED TEACHERS HOLD 'WAKE' FOR DOWNTOWN SCHOOL: LAUSD staffers who face layoffs and retirement at Evans Community Adult School turn a year-end party into a time of reflection in the face of grim cuts.

by Hector Tobar, LA Times |

June 26, 2012  ::  I was invited to a "wake" at Evans Community Adult School earlier this month.

It was a memorial service — to the school itself.

"We are being systematically eliminated," said Planaria Price, the teacher who invited me to the June 16 event. She said she was being forced to retire after 40 "glorious" years at the school.

At that moment, Evans was sort of half-dead. The school is part of the cash-strapped Los Angeles Unified School District. So many teachers were retiring, or facing layoffs, Price said, that the staff had decided to turn their annual year-end party into a wake "for Evans as we know it."

The big white box of the Evans campus on North Figueroa Street downtown is a city unto itself. Some 20,000 people take classes there every year. Teaching at Evans is an especially fulfilling job, because nearly all the students there are desperately hungry to be educated.

Evans students go to class after long hours at low-paying jobs. They make huge personal sacrifices to learn English or get high school diplomas or both. Over the years, many have gone on to get college degrees and become Evans teachers themselves.

"I'd come here and take classes, and survive all day on French fries for a dollar," said one of those former students, Faranza Cassim, a Burmese immigrant who became a technology teacher at Evans. "But I was really happy because I was learning so much."

Teaching students like Cassim is the kind of job that brings you joy even when you have to leave it.

"I would say this is more like an Irish wake," said one of the teachers. In other words, a celebration as much as a goodbye.

And there was also the small matter of who was really "dead," and who wasn't.

As the farewell party unfolded that Saturday, June 16, severe cuts were planned for Evans, as they were for all the other campuses in the LAUSD adult-ed system. A few thousand layoff notices had been sent out. So many, one union official told me, that the district's entire adult-education system would practically cease to exist if they were implemented.

But on the same day the teachers' union was also voting on a series of contract concessions. If they approved those concessions, there would still be layoffs at Evans and the other campuses, but they wouldn't be quite as severe.

As teacher after teacher took to the podium to sing the praises of their school, the staff was in a kind of limbo. Half-dead, half-alive. For many teachers and other staffers — and not just at Evans — that's what it's like to work for the Los Angeles Unified School District these days.

"There are so many uncertainties for the future," Marc Yablonka told me. "It's been a stressful year psychologically for a lot of us."

After years of threatened cuts, of layoff notices sent out, rescinded and then sent out again, Yablonka had had enough. A 36-year veteran of the district, he had decided that this year's layoff notice would be the last one he'd ever get from the LAUSD. Without waiting to see the result of the union vote, he had decided to retire.

"I didn't know if I could do this again," Yablonka told me.

At the LAUSD, years of austerity and budget brinkmanship have taken a human toll that can't be quantified. The tension of the yearly poker game of cuts and layoff notices and concessions is simply wearing people out.

"They are hurting so much, but you won't see the stress in the classrooms where they teach," Cassim said of her fellow teachers, tears welling in her eyes. "To their students, they are always hopeful."

Cassim, now 36, also got a layoff notice. It was an especially hard blow, because she's thought of Evans as a second home since first arriving there as a student in 1994.

"I know more about this school, and where things are, than I know about my own house," she told me.

She started at Evans in English 1B, in Room 218, and eventually took five classes a day. Later, she took high school classes there, and got her diploma in 1999. She went to college, got a degree at Cal State L.A., and came back to Evans as a teacher's assistant.

In 2009, she got a full-fledged teaching job at Evans. And this year, she also taught workshops on classroom technology to other teachers. Very often, her students were the men and women who once taught her.

"They kept showing up for my presentations, even knowing they were going to be laid off," Cassim told me.

Cassim hoped to keep her own job but was not hopeful about the prospects. She's a "newbie" teacher, she told me, without tenure.

I called Cassim a week after the farewell party. Union members had approved the concessions. But Cassim's name wasn't on the list of rescinded layoffs. She was still hopeful that Evans might find a way to keep her, though she was also entertaining an offer in faraway Rowland Heights.

"In my family, we say we have teaching in the blood," she told me. Her aunts and uncles were teachers in Burma — like many natives of that country, she prefers not to use its newer name, Myanmar.

"When I was a little girl I was always tutoring other children," she told me.

Somewhere, in the near future, you'll find Faranza Cassim sharing with students the passion for learning she cultivated for 17 years at Evans Community Adult School. She might still be working as an LAUSD employee. Or she may not be.

But teaching is in her blood. And no layoff notice or budget cut can take that away from her.

Monday, June 25, 2012

SAVE HEALTH ED - STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: LAUSD Board Meeting on Thursday, June 28, 2012 (1:00 PM)

email From: Edu Alert <>

Subject: The LAUSD School Board is having a meeting this Thursday, on June 28, 2012, at 1:00 PM

Mon, Jun 25, 2012 8:21 am  ::  It is REALLY important that we show strength in numbers. Everyone needs to be vocal and loud, sending a clear message to the Superintendent and Dr. Aquino that health needs to be a requirement for EVERY SCHOOL.


ACTION REQUESTED: Change the LAUSD MOU with partnership schools, school choice, and any tentative agreeement with UTLA to include a provision that REQUIRES a 5-unit, full-semester health course taught by a credentialed health teacher.

Talking points to follow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Not the end of the world, just another tragedy in the litany: ADULT ED BAKING CLASS ENDS; WHO'LL BE TAKING THE CAKES?

Culinary instructor Susan Holtz knew the dough-strapped district was losing more than just a popular adult education class. There was also a baker's legacy at stake


By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times |

Baking class may run out of dough

Frances Kuyper decorated this cake model of Princess Diana in the 1990s. One hundred forty of her cakes, which she used as finishing models for her students, face an uncertain future if the culinary program at the West Valley Occupational Center is permanently scrapped because of budget problems in the Los Angeles Unified School District. (Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times / June 21, 2012)

June 24, 2012  ::  Susan Holtz's baking class was cooking right along until the bad news arrived: The school had run out of dough.

The culinary arts instructor was one of those at the West Valley Occupational Center who received a pink slip because of budget problems in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

But Holtz, who headed up the Woodland Hills program for 14 years, knew the district was losing more than just a popular adult education class. There was also a baker's legacy at stake: What was going to happen to the 140 elaborately decorated cakes that Holtz used as finishing models for her students?

The cakes — layers of Styrofoam artfully covered with hardened royal icing and rolled fondant — were collected by the late cake-decorating expert Frances Kuyper and displayed in her Pasadena cake museum and library.

Holtz routinely took her students to Kuyper's museum so they could study the models and discuss techniques with Kuyper. "She was like a grandmother to them. She was very generous," Holtz said.

When Kuyper and her husband eventually moved to a retirement home in Boyle Heights, she took the cakes and her 1,000-book cake-decorating library with her. Hollenbeck Palms administrators kindly allowed her to re-create the museum in their basement.

The collection seemed to be headed for its own retirement after Kuyper's death in 2010 at age 92. But before the cakes were tossed out, Holtz and a group of her students showed up to save them.

Back at the occupational center, Holtz recruited student draftsmen from the school's computer-aided design class to draw up permanent displays for the cakes and fledgling woodworkers from its carpentry class to build them.

But then along came the school district's budget crisis and planned cuts to 61 adult education centers, including the 9,763-student Winnetka Avenue campus.

The school's entire teaching, administrative and support staff received layoff notices. "I'll tell you, there were tears flowing here on Tuesday when the session ended and people were saying goodbye," said Holtz, 65, of Mar Vista. "This is a terrific place, and people here are like a family."

Holtz printed signs begging that she be called at home before the district throws out of any of Kuyper's cakes if the culinary program is permanently scrapped.

"I'll rent a storage unit if I have to," Holtz said. "I don't want these cakes to be thrown out. We have a lot of history in these. They cannot be thrown out."

According to Holtz, students who have completed the 20-week, 260-hour course have had success finding jobs.

Marianne Hudz said she enrolled in the class after losing her job as a human resources administrator at Cal State Northridge. Two days after finishing, she landed a professional baker's position at Universal Studios. She starts July 2.

"This was a critical place for the next phase of my life," said Hudz, a 58-year-old West Hills resident who has a bachelor's degree from Occidental College.

"What was the LAUSD thinking, cutting back on adult education? Without this, I wouldn't have qualified for my new job," she said. "This is a microcosm of Los Angeles. Students are young and old and from every background. My auto mechanic, the contractor who remodeled my house, my hairdresser — they all went to West Valley Occupational Center and own their own businesses now."

Holtz said she has been advised to plan a culinary course that would be financed entirely by student fees. In the past, students have paid $75 — an amount that does not cover the cost of the 20-week sessions, she said.

For now, the fate of the culinary arts program is up in the air, according to the West Valley center's principal, Veronica Montes. Prodded by LAUSD's budget uncertainty, Montes has decided to end her 29-year career with the district to become principal of the Culver City Unified School District's adult school, continuation high school and independent study program.

"This is absolutely not the time for L.A. to cut programs that put people to work," she said. "L.A. Unified has prioritized its programs, and adult ed is pretty much at the bottom of the priorities."

Los Angeles school board members agreed June 12 to retain about half of their adult education program, according to Monica Carazo, a district spokeswoman. Forty-eight percent of the classes offered last spring will be offered in the fall, she said.

"At this time no one is employed at West Valley. People there have been put on the substitute list so they can keep their benefits," Carazo said.

"Hopefully, some of the teachers and support staff there will be picked up in July when the staffing assignments are completed."