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Preview: Board to Consider Hiring, Formula Issues

Hillel Aron | May 31, 2013

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Board Member Bennett Kayser, who pushed for the special meeting

Board Member Bennett Kayser, who pushed for the June 4 special meeting

At the May School Board meeting earlier this month, Board member Bennett Kayser (pictured) called for a special meeting to discuss next year’s budget, which is due June 30.

That meeting is being held on Tuesday, June 4, at which time Board members are scheduled to introduce to two new resolutions (see agenda here), which could then be voted on during the next regular Board meeting, scheduled for June 18.

One of the new resolutions is aimed at reducing class size (otherwise known as hiring more teachers); the other is aimed at sending more state money to schools with high concentrations of low-income students and English language learners.

Kayser originally asked for the special budget meeting to be scheduled at night, so the Board could hear public comments from parents, teachers and community members.

But somewhere along the way, the meeting got rescheduled for 9 am.

“I think people had conflicts with graduation,” Board President Monica Garcia told LA School Report. “The point of the meeting was to have more public conversation, which is why it was scheduled for 5.” But, she said, “other board members have other agendas.”

It’s unknown which Board members requested the schedule change.

The class size reduction resolution, drafted by Kayser, would reduce class size by hiring more teachers starting in the 2014-15 school year. It would also direct the Superintendent to develop a three-year strategy to bring employment of LAUSD workers — including counselors, librarians, service workers and administrators — back to pre-recession levels.

In a press release, teachers union president Warren Fletcher praised the proposal, saying, “LAUSD needs a repair budget, not a status quo one…  We cannot allow the current degraded levels of funding and staffing; and the ballooning class sizes to become the new normal.”

There is no budget estimate for the Kayser resolution, the cost of which would come from anticipated funding increases. However, Deasy has often warned the School Board of the district’s structural deficit, caused largely by declining enrollment.

The resolution is co-sponsored by Board members Steve Zimmer and Dr. Richard Vladovic — typically the two swing votes on the Board, which means that it will most likely pass.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is the introduction of Board Member Tamar Galatzan’s motion to direct Superintendent John Deasy to come up with different “allocation models” for how state money is distributed among various kinds of LAUSD schools should Governor Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula pass.

Next year’s budget already relies on increased revenue from Brown’s formula. For future years, Deasy told LA School Report that in the future, he favors giving more money to campuses with higher concentrations of lower-income students and English language learners.

Previous posts: Deasy Wants to Revamp Local School Funding FormulaBrown Soft-Sells School Formula in LADeasy & Allies Prevail at May Board Meeting

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