LAUSD board takes up health benefits, teacher hiring, school calendar, charter considerations
Mike Szymanski | August 22, 2016
Hiring more teachers, moving the school year to start after Labor Day, training workers to fix air conditioners and offering health benefits for teachers assistants and playground aides are some of the items on the list for the Tuesday afternoon’s LA Unified School Board meeting kicking off the new year.
The school board will also be considering fixing playing fields at some schools, making other schools more accessible to disabled students and taking the first steps to opening an all-boys school.
The school board begins its day in closed session at 9 a.m. on Aug. 23 where they will discuss employee evaluations, labor negotiations and existing litigation, including the $1-billion class-action lawsuit brought by fired teacher Rafe Esquith and others who were in teacher jails.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at the Beaudry Avenue Headquarters, and the agenda notes that the school board will discuss important policy issues such as:
• More hiring. The school board is being asked to hire 1,632 more classified, certificated and unclassified employees. There are also 1,077 retirements, 1,153 resignations and 2,388 separation/non-resignations. The district is asking for approval of 537 new hires that are mostly teachers and counselors, 51 of them with provisional intern permits.
• School calendar. Three school board members are proposing a resolution to change the school year start to after Labor Day to save money.
• Health benefits. The Service Employees’ International Union, Local 99 hammered out an agreement that will allow certain teacher assistants and playground aides to get health insurance who couldn’t previously.
• Boys school. The board is being asked to approve nearly $700,000 to upgrade some classrooms at Washington Preparatory High School for the upcoming Boys Academic Leadership Academy (BALA).
• College savings. Another resolution asks the district to unite with plans by Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu to look at how to implement college savings accounts for LA Unified students to help with college tuition.
• Family survey. Board member Monica Ratliff introduces a resolution asking the district to survey families to determine causes of declining enrollment.
• Prop 56. Board member George McKenna is asking for the district to support the tax on tobacco for research and prevention.
• Prop 58. School board President Steve Zimmer and Ref Rodriguez ask for support of Proposition 58: LEARN (Language Education, Acquisition and Readiness Now) to prepare students for a multilingual economy.
• Measure M. Zimmer and board member Monica Garcia ask for support of Measure M, a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot to fund transportation services.
• Workforce housing. Board members Ratliff and Zimmer are asking the district to explore options for workforce housing in Sun Valley.
• UCLA Mental Health Fellows. Acknowledging that the cost for a full-time psychiatrist is cost prohibitive, the district is asking to spend $78,000 on UCLA Fellows in a continued partnership with the LA County Mental Health Department to create the nation’s first blended-funding, full-scope, school district-based Medi-Cal child and family psychiatric clinic.
• Stacked parking. Staff is asking for a three-year contract with Modern Parking Inc. for $1.1 million to continue to stack their cars across the street from the Beaudry headquarters. The stacked parking allows for 270 more spaces per day for a total of about 1,620.
Some of the new business involves construction that is funded through bond money. Among the projects being considered are:
• 13 schools will have accessibility enhancement projects totaling nearly $24 million.
• Four critical athletic programs will cost $9.8 million for turf replacing and seismic retrofitting.
• 12 architectural and engineering contracts for about $36.5 million.
• One proposal is asking for $60,120 for the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Training Center, which has helped staff keep the aging HVAC systems going.
The charter schools division of the district has on the agenda for the school board, which controls the approval of independent charters in the district:
• A hearing of violations by El Camino Real Charter High School for “procedures that were sorely inadequate and numerous, seemingly exorbitant, personal and/or improper expenses were incurred without scrutiny and proper documentation.” The school plans to address the concerns, and there will be a public hearing.
• Material revisions for the Citizens of the World 3, KIPP Comienza Community Prep, KIPP Philosophers Academy, KIPP Vida Preparatory Academy, N.E.W. Academy of Science and Arts, Port of Los Angeles High School and City High School.
• There are also public hearings for new charter schools and renewals from Citizens of the World Westside (1,020 students for K-8 grades); Equitas Academy 2 (400 for 5-8 grades); Fenton Avenue (741 for TK and 3-5 grades); Fenton Primary Center (804 for TK-2); Monsenor Oscar Romero Charter Middle (375 for 6-8); Synergy (940 for TK-6), and Synergy Charter (480 for K-5).
The meeting begins Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 333 S. Beaudry Ave. in the board room and will be broadcast live (check LA School Report for the link).