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Morning Read: Vacant Seat, Teacher Pensions in Spotlight

LA School Report | January 8, 2014

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Schools to hold election to fill LaMotte seat
After listening to hours of public testimony Tuesday evening, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted to call a special election to fill the seat of Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, who died last month. LA Times

A $71 billion teacher pension liability won’t shrink
Editorial: The California State Teachers’ Retirement System estimates that the cost to fully fund the teachers’ pension debt will be almost $4.5 billion in the coming year, $4.6 billion the year after that, and more in each subsequent year. The Sacramento Bee

LA Unified staff received free iPad before contract
LA Unified School District employees received free iPads from the global curriculum company Pearson as part of a 2012 conference sales pitch – and one of them later served on a district team that selected Pearson and Apple for a contract to provide every student and teacher with a tablet, according to testimony Tuesday. KPCC

Senate Democrats introduce bill to expand transitional kindergarten
Highlighting early education as a top priority, state Senate Democrats have introduced a bill that would create a new grade level – a pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds – in California’s public schools.“This is at the top of the list. I can’t think of anything more important,” Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg said at a news conference announcing the new bill Tuesday. EdSource

U.S. Criticizes Zero-Tolerance Policies in Schools
The Obama administration issued guidelines on Wednesday that recommended public school officials use law enforcement only as a last resort for disciplining students, a response to a rise in zero-tolerance policies that have disproportionately increased the number of arrests, suspensions and expulsions of minority students for even minor, nonviolent offenses. The New York Times

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