Rodriguez Steps Down As Board President, Keeps Board Seat

Rodriguez Steps Down As Board President, Keeps Board Seat

New Board President Expected To Be Chosen Tuesday

Highlights of the Sept. 19 Committee of the Whole Meeting:

·   Dr. Ref Rodriguez has stepped down as LAUSD Board President while retaining his board seat as the representative for District 5.

·   LAUSD disclosed that it has a higher number of students on track to graduate, and a higher number on track to graduate with a C or above in A-G classes than at the same time last year.

·   The board discussed the shortage of qualified college counselors to help students close the gap between their ambitions to attend four-year colleges and their post-graduation realities.

 

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Unanimity and Grad Rates on Display at Sept. 12 Board Meeting

Unanimity and Grad Rates on Display at Sept. 12 Board Meeting

       LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King announced that high school graduation rates topped 80 percent in 2017, a record-breaking increase from last year and hitting a benchmark goal ahead of schedule.

·      The LAUSD Board unanimously passed a resolution intended to make graduation rates more meaningful, by ensuring that graduates are ready for college and careers. The resolution calls on the district to collect data on indicators of college readiness, college application and graduation rates. And it asks the district to consider having every student take PSATs and SATs and providing access to a college counselor and online counseling portal for every student.

·   The Board unanimously passed a resolution to support passage of a state bill, AB 621, which would create a summer bridge fund to help classified employees who have summers off and often suffer during those months without income. Some board members, including Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez, however, voiced opposition to paying for this out of the general fund.  

·   The Board unanimously approved material revisions and charter petition renewals for several Celerity, ICEF and Synergy Kinetic Academy charter schools. Celerity revamped its governance structure following multiple investigations over alleged misuse of funds, severing ties to its parent organization, Celerity Global Development, and the school’s founder. The Celerity Educational group CEO also announced she was stepping down from her position.

·   The LAUSD CFO presented a report showing that the district is in better financial shape than expected for this year only because of unexpected expenditure declines from lower energy bills this year and a hiring freeze, as well as higher interest income and other factors. The long-term structural deficit remains.

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LAUSD Board Tackles College Readiness Gap

LAUSD Board Tackles College Readiness Gap

Getting free labor from students and calling it “College and Career Readiness” strikes us as an outrageous inversion of the Kids-First ethos the new LAUSD Board is attempting to instill at the district. Instead of teachers being there to serve the low-income students trying to prepare for college, the students in the class are there to serve the needs of the teachers.

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Board Explores Health Benefits Changes To Stave Off Crisis

Board Explores Health Benefits Changes To Stave Off Crisis

Health, welfare and pension benefits for LAUSD employees and retirees will take up more than half of the district’s attendance revenue within 15 years unless we see drastic change. That was the stark reality laid out in a presentation to the LAUSD Board at a retreat Tuesday in which the board set goals for the year and explored options for cutting benefit costs.

Putting so much money toward retiree health and pension costs means “less money in classrooms,” said District 4 Board Member Nick Melvoin. “That’s what provokes the urgency.”

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Board Votes Down Resolution To Stop STEM School

Board Votes Down Resolution To Stop STEM School

The new kids-first majority on the LAUSD board voted 4-3 against a resolution by District 1 Board Member George McKenna to oppose a new state-authorized STEM school in Los Angeles.

The vote was largely symbolic because the state legislature will decide on the fate of the bill that would create the school, AB 1217. But that didn’t stop the board from spending an hour and a half debating the resolution, much to the chagrin of District 4 Board Member Nick Melvoin.

“I don’t think this debate about this resolution is an effective use of board time and resources,” Melvoin said. “This bill has limited impact on LAUSD’s programs and students and is unfortunately an example of divisive politics as usual. It is not kids first and rehashes the same disputes that distract this board from doing its job.”

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