Parental Engagement

By Carl J. Petersen

Education issues as seen from a father's eyes.

Vote on LAUSD Rules Changes Delayed Again

For the second time, Nick Melvoin’s attempts to change the LAUSD Board rules have been pulled from the agenda before a vote could be taken.

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A School District Tried to Secure a Source of Funding and All It Got Was a Bill for $12.5 Million

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner presented a parcel tax resolution without getting input from the public. The voters rejected his proposal.

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Measure EE Puts Your LAUSD Child First

Proceeds from the Tax shall be used for: lowering class sizes; providing school nursing, library, and counseling services and other health and human services for student support; providing instructional programs, school resources, and materials; retaining and attracting teachers and school employees; and providing necessary administrative services.

- Measure EE

 

When the business interests opposing Measure EE state that the parcel tax will “compound the affordable housing problem”, I can not help but wonder how many of these same people also worked against California Proposition 10 in last year’s election. Had this proposal passed it would have allowed “local governments to adopt rent control on any type of rental housing.” This would have given local governments a powerful tool in combating the affordable housing problem and gentrification. Unfortunately, the nearly $100 million spent against Proposition 10 helped to ensure its defeat. As a result, most local governments in California are still prohibited from enacting rent control.

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Did Austin Beutner Sabotage the Passage of Measure EE?

You can’t change it without us re-voting.

- LAUSD Board Member Richard Vladovic

 

That is correct.

- LAUSD General Counsel David Holmquist


Los Angeles students are in desperate need of the funds promised from Measure EE. As noted by Dr. Rocio Rivas, “California ranks 43rd in per-pupil spending with an investment of less than $11,000 per student, which is below the national average of approximately $12,526. In addition, California is ranked 48th in class size.” As a comparison, in the 2014–15 school year, New York state spent $20,744 per student. Unable to rely on the state or federal governments to help properly fund our education system, Los Angeles must look to fixing the problem ourselves by passing the parcel tax.

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Jackie Goldberg Hits the LAUSD Board Running

I can’t support us fixing computers and stuff for a charter school co-located with a district school that doesn’t have the same technology.”

- Jackie Goldberg

Backed by Jackie Goldberg’s overwhelming electoral victory, George McKenna and Scott Schmerelson revisited their motion from last August to temporarily appoint her to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board Seat vacated by convicted felon Ref Rodriguez until the votes can be officially certified. Despite the fact that the Brown Act prohibits the Board from coordinating their actions outside of the public view, it appeared from the outset of the May 21st meeting that the decision had made in advance as Board President Monica Garcia had already given Goldberg a seat at the dais. However, the Board had to hear public comment before taking the official vote. This is what I had to say:

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LAUSD Libraries are Safe (For Now)

We intend to bring forth a budget in June that will commit to sustaining library aides for all elementary schools for the 2019-20 school year.

- LA Superintendent Austin Beutner

In the days leading up to the strike by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers, Board Member Nick Melvoin told parents that the teachers just wanted to “get it out of the system for a day or two” and then they would “settle on pretty much same terms that they started with.” What Melvoin did not anticipate was that hundreds of thousands of parents would keep their students out of the classroom and that many would walk the rain-soaked picket lines in solidarity with their teachers. As a result, the teachers won many of their demands that were centered on improving educational outcomes for the children of Los Angeles.

One of the outcomes of the strike is that in the coming years funding will be provided to ensure that libraries will be open in all secondary schools within the LAUSD and will be staffed with a librarian. Elementary schools were not included in the agreement because they are staffed with library aides who are represented by a different union. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner was, therefore, able to hatch a plan that forced elementary principals to choose between libraries and other vital services. This meant that some elementary schools would see their libraries closed in the next school year.

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LAUSD's Measure EE Highlights the Need For Charter School Oversight

- LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin

Last July, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board had the opportunity to put a parcel tax on the regularly scheduled November ballot. Unfortunately, the California Charter School Association (CCSA) opposed the resolution by George McKenna and Scott Schmerelson, falsely claiming that “the proposal [excluded] 110,000 charter public [sic] school students.” Therefore, Ref Rodriguez (in one of his last actions before pleading guilty to felonious acts related to his campaign), Nick Melvoin and Monica Garcia voted against asking the voters for funding that was desperately needed by the students of the district.

Less than nine months later, Melvoin and Garcia had a change of heart. Perhaps they read the writing on the wall and realized that Jackie Goldberg’s impending election meant that the parcel tax was going to pass without their support. Or maybe it was the fact that Melvoin’s expectations for a quick victory in the January strike crumbled when parents and the community supported the demands made by the teachers. In any case, they finally joined McKenna and Schmerelson to take the steps needed to place Measure EE before the voters on June 4, 2019.

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The Voters Have Spoken (Again). Is the LAUSD Listening?

LAUSD Board District 5’s Empty Seat

It has been 296 days since Ref Rodriguez pleaded guilty to felony charges and was forced from the  Board District 5 seat. During this time, students in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board District 5 have had no representation. Considering the fact that their former board member’s crimes were directly related to his election, these constituents have not been represented fairly since the day that Rodriguez took office. 

During the time that the LAUSD Board District 5 has sat empty:

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Jackie Goldberg on Special Education

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A School Board Race Turns Ugly

I am embarrassed that there are any Board members on this Board of Education that do not take seriously that a man with three felony charges against him is still on this Board.

- Jackie Goldberg on Ref Rodriguez

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education candidate Jackie Goldberg taught for 16 years in the Compton Unified School District. In 1983, she was elected to the LAUSD Board of Education and served for two terms. She was then elected to serve two terms on the Los Angeles City Council and three terms in the California State Assembly where she chaired the Assembly Education Committee. In the 13 years since she left the Assembly, Goldberg has continued to engage in public service and was a frequent voice of opposition to former Board member Ref Rodriguez after he was charged with felonies related to his campaign. In the primary race to replace him, she secured 48.45% of the vote.

While Heather Repenning claims in her campaign material to be a “former teacher”, the state of California does not show that she ever held a teaching credential. She is a long-time staffer of Mayor Eric Garcetti who was appointed to serve as the Vice President of the Board of Public works, a department which the LA Times has reported is under investigation by the FBI. During the primary, her supporters received a $100,000 donation from Eli Broad, who had also supported Ref Rodriguez. As the second-place finisher in the primary, Repenning received 13.17% of the vote.

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