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

Here are highlights of the Sept. 12 LAUSD 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 and a hiring freeze, as well as higher interest income and other factors. The long-term structural deficit remains.

Analysis: A striking degree of unity was on display at the LAUSD Board meeting Tuesday, at which every item on the agenda was agreed to with unanimous votes.

We applaud the district’s increase in its graduation rate but are also thrilled to see the board pass a resolution making sure that high school graduation is not the end goal. Graduates need to be qualified and prepared for life beyond LAUSD. The resolution to study college readiness is an excellent first step.

Parents also appreciate that the board enforced a five-minute speaking limit for board members, which resulted in the meeting ending promptly at 5 p.m. Meetings run well and on time make it easier for parents to attend and be heard without too much time away from their families.