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Morning Read: Money race begins for McKenna, Johnson

LA School Report | June 5, 2014



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McKenna, Johnson seek funds, backers in L.A. Unified race
The top two finishers in this week’s election for the Los Angeles Board of Education will meet in an August runoff, but first they face another crucial contest: the race for money and powerful endorsements. Each faces challenges in getting over the top. McKenna, 73, a retired district administrator, has a community base, but needs dollars for a viable campaign. Johnson, 33, an aide to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, is likely to have strong funding, but needs more than that to close the gap. LA Times


State superintendent candidates brace for another round of big spending
Tom Torlakson nearly won another term as superintendent of public instruction outright Tuesday but will instead face second-place finisher Marshall Tuck in November. That’s not particularly good news for Torlakson or the California Teachers Association, Torklakson’s chief financial backer. The union faces the prospect of spending millions of dollars more of teachers’ dues to counter independent expenditures by self-styled education reformers who favor charter schools and an end to teacher tenure. EdSource


School bonds, parcel taxes win big
Tuesday’s primary election proved to be a good day for supporters of school construction bonds and parcel taxes. Voters in 44 California school districts passed 35 school construction measures, worth about $2 billion, a pass rate of about 80 percent. All five of the proposals for school parcel taxes on the ballot also were approved. A bond measure in Mojave Unified is too close to call. School construction bonds require a 55 percent majority to pass, while parcel taxes need two-thirds approval. EdSource


Legislators want districts to be explicit about how they’re targeting dollars
Behind closed doors in coming days, legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown will decide whether to address a complaint that civil rights and parent groups have about the new state funding law: It does not require districts to spell out how they plan to spend the money they are getting for high-needs students, which include low-income children and English learners. EdSource


As banks open in schools, a chance for students to learn to save
As a kid, the closest you probably got to banking was handling colorful bills of Monopoly money. Now, kids are getting a lot closer to the real thing. Hundreds of student-run bank branches and credit unions are open in schools across the U.S. The first branch in Los Angeles opened this spring. They’re all located in low-income, immigrant-heavy neighborhoods. You can only bank here if you’re a student, teacher or parent, but these are real accounts handling real money. NPR


Special needs teen drowns during school trip to east Los Angeles pool
An attorney for the family of a 16-year-old boy who drowned during a school visit to a swimming pool in East Los Angeles says the student, who suffered from intellectual disabilities, died as a result of negligence on the part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. District officials did not immediately comment on the drowning of Garfield High School sophomore Eric Ortiz. LA Daily News

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