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Garcetti ambivalent on elections dates; AALA an early cheer on testing

Craig Clough | February 12, 2015

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school report buzzAs Los Angeles voters consider how to vote on two city charter amendments that would change the dates of city and LA Unified school board elections, one person they shouldn’t look to for guidance is Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The measures would move the city and school board elections to November so that they would align with the more high-profile national and statewide elections, a move designed to increase voter turnout. LA City Council and LAUSD elections would be held on the same day as the presidential election beginning in 2020 and with mayoral, citywide and gubernatorial elections in 2022.

The flip side to the argument is that LAUSD and city candidates could receive less attention and would have to raise more money to get noticed amid the more high-profile elections.

So what does Angelenos’ leader think? He has no opinion.

As he told the Los Angeles Daily News, “I can see both sides of the issue. Sometimes it’s not cut clear. I take a position when it’s very clear to me … I think this is something that should be in the hands of the voters.”

Garcetti did add that because he could benefit from the change, as it would add 1.5 years to the mayor elected in 2017, he didn’t feel he should weigh in on it.

Premature cheers from AALA over testing 

It its weekly newsletter, the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles had high praise for the state’s decision not to use this spring’s Smarter Balanced testing for calculating accountability measures like API scores.

But the group jumped the gun.

While districts and administrators (including AALA) around the state have lobbied to postpone the new statewide testing, the issue has gotten only so far as a committee recommendation made last week to put off counting the tests for another year.

The matter next goes before the state board at a mid-March meeting, when a final decision is expected.

The newsletter’s premature message read:

Rarely do we have good news to report about the interminable testing that is required, but thanks to the initiative of Superintendent Cortines, with support from AALA, we are pleased to advise you that the Smarter Balanced Assessments that will be administered this spring will not be used for accountability measures such as the Academic Performance Index (API)… The tests must still be administered and results will be shared with schools and parents, but they will not be used for the API. Thank you Mr. Cortines and Mr. Torlakson!

 Magnolia Science Academy before county board

The LA Unified school board denied the five-year renewal application of Magnolia Science Academy in Bell in November, basing their ruling on a report by the district’s inspector general that found the charter management group is “fiscally insolvent.”

However, Magnolia has a second chance at life through the LA County Board of Education, and its application for renewal was scheduled to be heard at the board’s meeting on Tuesday.

The school was facing an uphill battle, as the County Superintendent of Schools Arturo Delgado had recommended denying the application. The board did vote, but it was to simply grant a 30-day extension as it asked for more information from Magnolia.


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