LAUSD keeps hiring as enrollment declines and financial crisis looms
LA Unified officials persistently wring their hands about losing students year after year, but meanwhile the number of employees continues to rise. In their latest tally, school district employees rose from 59,563 in the 2014-2015 school year to 59,823 last year and 60,191 in the 2016-2017 school year. (A final accounting of the actual hires will be available...
By Mike Szymanski | August 29, 2016
Zimmer expresses frustration over credit recovery, graduating with D’s and academic counselor shortage
While the latest academic reports from the LA Unified school district were positive overall, school board President Steve Zimmer expressed frustration at some of the data presented at Tuesday’s board meeting and said he foresees potential problems ahead. Zimmer asked for a breakdown of how many students are graduating with D grades and in what subjects. “How many...
By Mike Szymanski | August 24, 2016
Despite district rules, Haddon Elementary increases enrollment and decreases absenteeism with unique programs
Haddon Elementary Avenue School is so in demand that families want to drive their children across the San Fernando Valley from Granada Hills to attend the Pacoima school. Haddon is not a charter school, it’s not a new pilot program and it’s not a magnet school (yet). It’s a traditional Title 1 district school in a...
By Mike Szymanski | August 18, 2016
LAUSD’s graduation rate a record 75 percent, Michelle King announces at her first State of the District address
Michelle King announced a record 75 percent graduation rate at her first State of the District address as superintendent of LA Unified, “a district on the move,” she proclaimed Tuesday. King noted that the 75 percent rate is based on “preliminary data” as she addressed 1,500 principals, assistant principals and district administrators at the annual kick-off to the school...
By Mike Szymanski | August 9, 2016
New life for Ethnic Studies Committee and a fresh push for required courses
The Ethnic Studies Committee, which LA Unified unceremoniously disbanded last year, has been renewed by the district, and members agreed to meet for up to three more years with a goal toward incorporating ethnic studies as a graduation requirement, according to Derrick Chau, director of secondary instruction at LA Unified. “We are moving ahead with districtwide ethnic...
By Mike Szymanski | June 20, 2016
Affiliated charters: A successful model on its way out?
LA Unified has so many different kinds of schools it’s hard to keep them all straight. With such varied terms as affiliated charter, independent charter, magnet school, pilot school, continuation school, option school and others, it can be a challenge to understand what they are, what they offer and how they differ. This is the...
By Mike Szymanski | May 31, 2016
Federal program makes sure students won’t go hungry over summer
Students who depend on eating at school for their one — and sometimes only — meal of the day will be able to more easily find a location for free meals during the summer. The expansion of the federal Summer Food Service Program will provide more meals to children and teens 18 years and younger...
By Mike Szymanski | May 27, 2016
LAUSD administrative staff jumps 22 percent even as enrollment drops
Despite projected budget deficits reaching nearly half a billion dollars and steep enrollment declines, LA Unified’s certified administrative staff has increased 22 percent in the last five years, according to a superintendent’s report. The number of teachers has dropped 9 percent in the same period. And teachers and certified staff are aging toward retirement, heading toward...
By Mike Szymanski | May 18, 2016
How LAUSD plans to dodge its financial crisis: boost enrollment but not cut staff
*UPDATE With LA Unified heading toward financial crisis within three years, Superintendent Michelle King on Tuesday kicked off a series of special board meetings to detail her plans for fiscal solvency. Topping that list is keeping kids in the district. Notably absent was cutting staff. King’s initiatives would initially cost the district — roughly $20 million. But the...
By Mike Szymanski | March 30, 2016
A recipe for teaching from LAUSD board member George McKenna, who’s been at it 55 years
George McKenna is going into his 55th year as an educator, and he has a lot to say about it. In fact, he declares: “Give me a school that’s supposedly poor-performing for three years and I guarantee you no charter school would be able to snatch any kids from that school, and no kids will...
By Mike Szymanski | March 28, 2016