In Partnership with 74

Progress (or lack of it) with teachers comes to LAUSD board

Vanessa Romo | September 8, 2014

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Galatzan and Ratliff

Unlikely Co-sponsors: Galatzan (left), Ratliff (right)

The LA Unified School Board returns tomorrow with a full agenda although a lot of the juicy stuff will be discussed in closed session.

In addition to the usual topics — personnel issues and ongoing litigation — the board will review labor negotiations, which at this point is down to the on-going talks with the teachers union, UTLA.

The union submitted its initial proposal to the board late last week and in it, UTLA called for discussions of various subjects, including salaries, teacher evaluations and discipline at future bargaining sessions. The proposal is the first item of business on the agenda for the board’s open session. However, the board will not publicly discuss the demands contained within the document nor any details of negotiations, such as they are.

Although an update on the student data system, MiSiS, is not officially on agenda it is inconceivable there wouldn’t be a lengthy discussion about it either in closed session or by a public speaker later in the day. Problems with the program have made it next to impossible to get an accurate count on the number of students enrolled in each school and in the right classes, according to school principals and school administrators. That has set schools back in making necessary teacher hiring adjustments.

It’s also possible, though unlikely, that the board members would take some action against Superintendent John Deasy over his role in the iPad procurement process. He has been the target of vociferous criticism, with accusations he steered the deal to Apple and Pearson. The members have the right to review his performance every month.

Meeting attendees will also witness a rarity– Board members Tamar Galatzan and Monica Ratliff have joined forces to co-sponsor a resolution. The two are often on opposite sides of issues and have had more than a few contentious exchanges on the horseshoe. Their resolution, “Keeping Parents Informed: Charter Transparency,” would address the kinds of issues that faced two magnolia charters, requiring all charter schools to notify parents within 72 hours when they receive a notice of revocation, non-renewal, or a violation of any kind.

“I want to make sure that parents know there are issues at a school that have put its charter in jeopardy,” Galatzan told LA School Report. “The information is public, but, unfortunately, schools don’t always share it with parents. The resolution will ensure that parents are notified so that can participate in public hearings about action that could impact their child’s education.”

A message sent to Ratliff seeking comment was not returned.

An effort by Galatzan to lower the Title I eligibility threshold to 40 percent and create a three-tiered funding system, has been put on hold. The district raised the eligibility threshold from 40 to 50 percent to shift more money to the highest-poverty schools in 2011. Since then, Galatzan has argued that many of the schools in her west Valley district are caught in a no-man’s land of funding with no access to federal funds because they fall just short of the  50 percent threshold.

Finally, Ratliff and board member Bennett Kayser are introducing a motion that would declassify any reports prepared by its Office of the Inspector General, relating to the procurement process for the Common Core Technology Project.

An Inspector General report cleared Deasy of interfering in the bidding process for the district’s one-to-one device, but the details of the investigation clearing him have not been released.

Previous Posts: Teachers union submits initial contract demands to LA Unified; Deasy planning to hire his own liaison for MiSiS project; Not everyone is rejoicing over halt to LAUSD’s iPad program

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