Board Members Seeking to Ease Requirements for Volunteers
Chase Niesner | September 6, 2013
Three LA Unified board members are directing Superintendent John Deasy to develop a plan that makes it easier and less expensive for volunteers to work in district schools.
In a resolution on the board’s agenda for its meeting Tuesday, the members – Tamar Galatzan, Steve Zimmer and Monica Garcia – expressed concern that recent budget cuts have left the current requirements too onerous, substantially reducing the number of in-school volunteers whose presence helps teachers provide individualized attention elsewhere.
For now, volunteers must be fingerprinted at district headquarters downtown at a cost of $56 and show proof of a tuberculosis screen, which can cost as much as $40. In past years, the district provided satellite sites for fingerprinting.
Citing the inconvenience of asking volunteers to drive as many as 35 miles to reach downtown, the three are asking Deasy to find a way to return fingerprinting to 13 sites throughout the District and to open at least one site in each district where volunteers can get a screen for “no or low cost.”
“Allowing volunteers to help on campus gives interested parents a way to support the school, and builds strong ties between school, home and community,” Galatzan wrote on her website. “Volunteers can also serve as powerful role models for kids, teaching them how they can give back to their own communities in the future.”
The district did not provide LA School Report a full accounting of volunteers in recent years, but it did provide data that shows the number of volunteers fell to 692 in April of this year, from 3,005 six months earlier, a 77 percent decrease.