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School Board’s Strange Parent Trigger About-Face

Hillel Aron | June 20, 2013

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Superintendent John Deasy accepts the petition from parents of 24th St. Elementary

Superintendent John Deasy accepts the petition from parents of 24th St. Elementary

A couple of odds things happened towards the end of the School Board’s late-night meeting on Tuesday:

Around 8:00 pm, as seven weary Board members were debating a proposal put forth by Board member Steve Zimmer calling on the district and state to bring greater transparency to the parent trigger signature-gathering process, Superintendent John Deasy suggested that the Board might as well lobby Sacramento to repeal the law instead of just lobbying Sacramento to change it (as the original Zimmer resolution requested).

Tired and perhaps a bit confused, the a majority of the Board approved Deasy’s suggestion and adopted the amendment and passed the resolution by a vote of 4-3 — over the objections of its  author and Board members Vladovic and LaMotte. Board member Bennett Kayser joined Deasy allies Galatzan, Martinez, and Garcia in voting ‘yes’ on the amendment.

Then, more than an hour later — after most reporters and staff had left the meeting and just as Board President Garcia was about to adjourn the meeting — Board member Zimmer interjected and asked the Board to reverse course.

Two days later, it’s not exactly clear why Deasy proposed the Board endorse a repeal of the parent trigger, why a mix of trigger supporters and opponents agreed to it, or why trigger critics decided that it was better to go back to the original, somewhat softer language of the original Zimmer resolution.

At the time, it was unclear at the time if Deasy’s initial recommendation to call for repeal of the trigger was genuine or if it was some kind of a ploy designed to put the Board members voting for the motion in the politically difficult position of opposing the parent trigger law in its entirety.

Later that same night, when the meeting was about to adjourn, there was some uncertainty among the exhausted members about the procedural allowability of the move to reconsider that Zimmer put forth. The Board had to vote twice — once to undo the Deasy-inspired amendment, and a second time to approve the original Zimmer resolution without the repeal language.

For these later votes, Board member Kayser switched sides and joined Zimmer, Vladovic, and LaMotte in support of the original language calling for the state to adjust but not repeal the trigger law.  Garcia and Galatzan voted against; Martinez had already left the building.

So far, at least, none of the Board members has responded to our requests for an explanation for what might have prompted them to reverse course at the very end of the meeting. Parent Revolution, the nonprofit that advocates for the trigger, says it is equally in the dark.

As for his role, Deasy told LA School Report he was simply pointing out the slim chances of getting the state to revise the 2010 law on LAUSD’s behalf. “The chances are slim to none that we’re going to get the state to modify sections of it,” said Deasy.

You can watch the proceedings on the videotape provided by LAUSD, with initial vote to call for the state to repeal the trigger law taking place at about the 8:00 pm mark and the reconsideration requested by Zimmer beginning at the 9:15pm mark:

The change was first noted by the LA Times‘ Teresa Watanabe on Twitter (“LAUSD board undoes previous vote to seek repeal of #parenttrigger“) and online.

Previous posts: Marathon Board Meeting Signals Changes to ComeTeachers Union Turning Back Against Parent TriggerParent Trigger Coming to LAUSD

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