Thursday, September 12, 2013




By Barbara Jones, Los Angeles Daily News |

9/10/13, 9:59 PM PDT | Updated: 9/11/2013  ::  Trying to encourage more parents to volunteer at local campuses, the Los Angeles Unified school board approved a plan Tuesday to make it easier to get necessary fingerprinting and tuberculosis screenings, although the South L.A. representative asked that her schools be excluded from the plan.

Under the proposal by Tamar Galatzan who represents the west San Fernando Valley, the district will work to offer monthly fingerprinting services at nine sites around the district rather than forcing them to come to Los Angeles Unified headquarters in downtown L.A.

Her resolution also asks the district to work with outside groups willing to provide free or low-cost TB screening at school-based health clinics. In addition, a “Volunteer Day” will be held one or two times a year at each local district office, where parent volunteers will be fingerprinted, tested for TB and checked on the Megan’s Law website.

Fingerprinting costs $56 and allows the district to check whether a prospective volunteer has a criminal record. The screening is required of people who volunteer for more than 16 hours a week.

However, board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte was concerned about protecting parents’ personal information so asked that schools in District 1 be excluded from the program. Details of the plan are slated to be worked out over the next month.

That vote came more than four hours into a meeting that saw a lot of debate and discussion, but no decisions.

After more than an hour, for instance, the board pushed off until next Tuesday its vote on how to spend $113 million coming from the state to implement new academic standards. The issue will be debated at noon by the new Committee of the Whole and then voted on during a special meeting.

The budget plan had been revised from a month ago, when the administration pitched a proposal that would create a network of teacher advisers who would train their colleagues the math and English standards known as Common Core.

But United Teachers Los Angeles pushed back, saying the money should be spent instead for full-day training sessions at school sites.

The district came back with a new plan to give schools an additional $70 per student for professional development, using money that under the original proposal would have been spent on parent involvement. That triggered another debate about the need to include parents in the new standards.

In the end, members pushed off the vote until noon Sept. 17, when the board had previously scheduled its first meeting of the Committee of the Whole — essentially a study session. It also scheduled a special meeting to follow the committee session so the board has the authority to vote on the plan without waiting for another month.

After a similarly lengthy debate, the board referred a proposal for boosting funding for arts education to the Curriculum Committee, which will take up the issue over the next couple of months.

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