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Common Core Budget Approval Put Off for Another Week

Hillel Aron | September 10, 2013

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Superintendent Deasy

Superintendent Deasy

The LA Unified school board voted, again, to delay its final decision on crafting and approving the $113 million Common Core budget for at least another week. The money comes from the state and is intended to help school districts transition over the next two years to the new curriculum.

It appeared to be a poke in the eye to Superintendent John Deasy, who had presented the Common Core budget at last month’s Board meeting, with roughly 75 percent of it allocated for teacher training. With input from board members, Deasy’s staff radically altered the plan to give individual schools greater control over the money — under the new version of the budget, each school would receive $70 per student.

“The feedback we got from last board meeting was a desire to have more school-based allocation,” said Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino.

But Board members weren’t pleased with this new proposal either. Marguerite LaMotte, for example, was upset that money for parent training was eliminated from the new version.

Bennett Kayser had a number of questions and eventually suggested that the issue be postponed so that it could be discussed in a committee “so that board members can make a more educated vote.” The idea was immediately seconded by Monica Ratliff — sending Deasy back to try again, with the promise of even more questions from board members.

Both Monica Garcia and Tamar Galatzan, Deasy’s staunchest allies on the board, objected to delaying the vote, with Galatzan saying it would be a “great disservice” and suggesting that questions should have been asked prior to the Board meeting.

“I think we have a duty to come prepared to these meetings,” Garcia said.

UTLA President Warren Fletcher objected to the creation of 171 new positions to be filled by current teachers who would train other teachers in the new curriculum, as the proposal outlined. Fletcher argued that the new classifications would have to be the subject of collective bargaining.

The union recently filed an unfair practice claim in the Public Employee Relations Board over a similar matter. Kayser said he had similar objections, as did Ratliff: “My two cents is I think we should move the $24.4 million for local advisors into local control,” she said, referring to money allocated for “teacher advisors.”

Deasy said the board was welcome to amend the budget however members wanted –“Just tell us what you desire,” he said — although he couldn’t resist a shot against Kayser, saying: “If the board’s desire is to not elevate teachers to leadership decisions, we should know that now.”

After more than an hour of discussion, the Board voted, 5-2, with Galatzan and Garcia dissenting, to postpone discussion over the Common Core budget for another week. The Board will convene a special meeting at noon next Tuesday to resume the debate. It will only have around two hours, since Steve Zimmer‘s Committee of the Whole is set to meet at 2 p.m.

Previous posts: LA Unified Getting $113 Million for Common Core Transition*Deasy, Board Plunging Back into Turbulent Budget Waters; School Board Meeting Wrap Up: More Discussion Than Votes*

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