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Board Likely Approves Call to Re-Hire Teachers

Hillel Aron | June 7, 2013

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Starting in July, the composition and leadership of LAUSD’s School Board will change substantially.

District 6’s Nury Martinez will be out, replaced by Monica Ratliff, and Monica Garcia will step down as Board President, thanks to term limits motion passed by the Board in March.

But the shifts in direction for the Board are already emerging and will likely become clearer at the June 18 Board meeting, when the Board is expected to debate and pass a resolution that’s been introduced by Board members Bennett Kayser, Steve Zimmer and Richard Vladovic calling on Superintendent John Deasy to draw up plans to raise employment levels back up to pre-recession levels.

“It’s basically — ‘bring the grown-ups back,'” said Kayser’s chief of staff Sarah Bradshaw. “All of them. The guy who fixes the plumbing, the assistant principals, the librarians, the nurses, the arts. All of it.”

Hiring more staff has been a top priority for the teachers union. UTLA President Warren Fletcher praised the resolution at this past Tuesday’s special Board meeting.

Superintendent John Deasy would rather give all current employees raises than start hiring new ones.  But it doesn’t look like he has the votes to block Vladovic, Zimmer, and Kayser.

“My main priority is to serve students and compensates adults,” Deasy told LA School Report. “I find it incomprehensible that we wouldn’t have, as our first priority, compensating employees and restoring programs that students lost.”

In a recent memo, Deasy laid out his desire to give raises and restore programs rather than rehire teachers.

Board member Tamar Galatzan also signaled that she opposed the new hires resolution.

“I don’t understand where the money will come from to hire thousands of new staff members,” she said. “Everyone agrees that class sizes should be reduced. My question is, are we putting the cart before the horse? Before the Board decides what the priorities are, we need to have that conversation with people and with schools.”

Galatzan is calling for community input to decide how the district spends its money.

When asked if Tuesday’s Board meeting — which Galatzan opposed and did not attend — wasn’t doing that very thing, she replied:

“Are you asking if a meeting downtown at Beaudry is the way we’re going to get community and school input? I would say that’s not ideal.” She said she’ll be holding one-on-one school meetings and town halls in her district, as well as putting out an online survey.

Galatzan also wonders if any increased revenue LAUSD might receive in the future — dividends of Proposition 30 and increased funding if the Brown funding formula proposal passes — would be better spent at the local school site, so that individual schools can decide what the ideal classroom ratios would be.

“Are we gonna get back to the time when Board decided priorities for a school, and take away that locally-based decision-making?” she asked.

Chief of staff Bradshaw agrees that community input is essential, and says that once Kayser’s class-size reduction motion passes, the Superintendent will come up with a plan, and then the Board will seek community input.

“The expectation is that the Superintendent is gonna come back with these plans,” she said. “At that point, it’s… ‘What do you think people?’ This stuff should not happen in a vacuum.”

Previous posts: Budget: Class Size, Re-Hiring Teachers, & RaisesSpecial Board Meeting Not So Special After AllDeasy: Raises & Deficit Reduction Before New HiresBoard to Consider Hiring, Formula Issues

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