LA Unified Board Considers Common Core — Yet Again
Vanessa Romo | September 17, 2013
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Today is expected be another long day for LA Unified School Board members.
Last week’s eight-hour session — only the second board meeting of the school year –was not long enough to hash out the details of the district’s Common Core implementation plan, so they’ve sandwiched in a Special Board Meeting between two others that were already on the calendar.
The first meeting, starting at 10 a.m., will have a short window for public comment but, will then become, for the most part, a closed session for the board, legal counsel and labor contract negotiators. This is also when the board will take up personnel issues, a discussion which will now include the unexpected resignation on Friday of Jaime Aquino, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction and Superintendent John Deasy’s right-hand man. A routine evaluation of the superintendent’s performance is also on the closed-door agenda.
Board members, who said they were “shocked” and “surprised” by Aquino’s sudden decision to leave the $250,000 a year post effective Dec. 31, will address the impending vacancy. However, it’s unclear if the board will have input in choosing a successor for Aquino or if Deasy will single-handedly oversee the search.
Aquino blamed the school board for creating a contentious climate and intentionally blocking his efforts to push forward Deasy’s aggressive reform agenda. Aquino told the LA Daily News the tipping point for him was when the board failed to pass the Common Core budget last week, pushing it off until today.
That indecision is what led to today’s noon Special Board Meeting. It is the third time the board will try to reach a consensus on how to spend $113 million to implement the new English and math curriculum. Board members have not agreed on the best plan for training teachers on the Common Core.
The final session of the day, on the schedule for 2 p.m., is a meeting for the Committee of the Whole, chaired by Steve Zimmer. The committee will tackle the Local Control Funding Formula, the plan that funnels Prop. 30 revenue directly to school districts.
Board president Richard Vladovic, Zimmer and Bennett Kayser want class size returned to pre-recession levels while Deasy, favors restoring summer school, after-school programs and advanced academic classes, in addition to paying down the structural deficit and giving raises to all district employees.