Highlights on the agenda include two resolutions up for a vote: the creation of a District phone app for parents and a call for increases in per-pupil funding.
Introduced by Board Vice President Nick Melvoin (BD4) last month, and co-sponsored by Board President Monica Garcia (BD2) and Board member Richard Vladovic (BD7), the Transforming Engagement via Communication Hubs (TECH) resolution will seek approval for the creation of a phone app designed to give parents easy and instant access to Board, district and school information and provide a simple avenue for parental feedback. The goal of the app would be to reach a wider group of district parents – particularly those who may not have landlines, computers or broadband services at home. Current methods rely largely on website postings, in-person meetings, phone calls and paper documents. The app also could be used to access student test scores, attendance records, grades and graduation process and special education documentation.
Also up for a vote is a resolution sponsored by Board member Kelly Gonez (BD6), which is co-sponsored by Board Member George McKenna (BD1) and Melvoin, directing the superintendent and District staff to ask the state to increase per-pupil funding to $20,000 by 2020 and $25,000 by 2022. In 2017, California was ranked 47th at just $7,571 spent per student, trailing the national average by nearly $2,500.
The resolution argues that a funding increase would allow the District to “significantly lower counselor-to-student ratios, reduce class sizes to 24 on average, add four additional trainings per teacher, employ a full-time nurse at every school, expand transitional kindergarten programs to all elementary schools and provide high quality arts education for every child at every school.” If passed, the Board would join United Teachers Los Angeles in calling for funding increases and advocate signing open letters to the State Legislature, holding an advocacy day in Sacramento, spearheading a targeted media campaign coordinated with the Governor’s budget release in January, and actively identifying potential sponsors for future legislation.
Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include voting on potential rules changes regarding public comments and speaker time limits, granting P.E. credit for Junior ROTC courses, recommending funding for anti-tobacco programs and the designation of City of Angels, Thomas Riley High School and Youth Opportunities Unlimited as alternative schools based on California Department of Education criteria.
-- Michael Sweeney