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Board Preview: Tablets, Layoffs, & Dual Language

Hillel Aron | February 11, 2013

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At its Tuesday, February 12 meeting, the LAUSD School Board will vote on whether or not approve phase one of Superintendent John Deasy’s plan to equip every student and teacher with a tablet computer by the end of 2014.

As you may recall, the Bond Oversight Committee recently voted to recommend that the Board approve the first phase of the plan, which costs $50 million and provides tablets to students in 47 schools (see: Plan to supply LAUSD students with Apple iPads or other tablet computers wins key vote). A new LA Daily News commentary by School Board member Tamar Galatzan argues that kids need technology but LAUSD may not be able to afford it.

The Board will also vote on eliminating 194 permanent positions — mostly social workers and counselors. UTLA President Warren Fletcher blasted the proposed cuts in a press release, saying,  “These RIFs (Reduction in Force) are unconscionable at the time when our students are most vulnerable,” referring to the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School (see press release here).

Other issues scheduled to be discussed and/or voted on include dual language education, final approval of the new teacher evaluation plan, charter and pilot school approvals and renewals, restoration of furlough days, and the Board’s first-ever grant approval. Exciting!

Read below for more highlights, or see the full agenda here.

The Board will once again vote to approve the teacher evaluation deal recently ratified by UTLA. Actually, they’ll do it twice. One item was placed on the agenda by the General Counsel; the other is actually Board Member Steve Zimmer’s oft-revised, oft-postponed resolution about Academic Growth Over Time (AGT), which has now been altered into a resolution about the teacher evaluation deal.

The grab-bag resolution now has nary a mention of AGT and instead calls for a fast and collaborative implementation process, asks for an update on the findings of a pilot program, and calls for the creation of a group to study alternative certification for teachers.

Neither resolutions include any specifics about the teacher evaluation plan, which haven’t been worked out yet, according to LAUSD spokesman Tom Waldman.

Zimmer will also introduce a new resolution to expand the district’s dual language program, and the Board will once again revisit two previously postponed items: Marguerite LaMotte’s proposal to limit the term of School Board President to two years, and Bennett Kayser’s resolution that Board members “automatically recuse themselves from voting on a charter contract if they have received campaign contributions six months prior to the vote.”That proposal was expected to have been revised, although it appears to have not been.

The February 12 meeting marks the first time the Board will vote on a grant application. The Board voted to give itself approval power over all grants exceeding $1 million earlier this school year. Superintendent Deasy is asking for permission to apply for a “5-year, $7.5 million total grant from S.D. Bechtel Foundation to support implementation of Common Core State Standards in Mathematics for K-8 students.”

As usual, the Board will consider renewing a number of charter schools, including Green Dot’s Ánimo Locke College Preparatory Academy (which is changing its name to Alain Leroy Locke College Prep Academy) and Para Los Ninos. A dozen  new Pilot schools are also up for consideration also.

Finally, the Board will give its final stamp of approval to Deasy’s plan to restore all furlough days for all LAUSD employees, something he first proposed in November after the passage of Proposition 30. LAUSD employees had previously been given unpaid days off; they’ll now be paid for those missed days, even though they never worked them.

You can read the full Board agenda here.

Previous posts: Crenshaw Reconstituted, Aspire Squeaks By*Controversial Grant Approval Measure Passes, 4-3School Board Round-UpBoard Restores 10 Days, Rejects Charter Proposal

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