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Vladovic Willing to Meet with Groups on Spending Plan*

Hillel Aron | October 1, 2013

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Board President Richard Vladovic

Board President Richard Vladovic

Richard Vladovic, president of the LA Unified School Board, has agreed to meet with a coalition of community groups that claimed Vladovic was ignoring their requests to meet over spending issues.

The meeting has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 18, and it follows a sequence of events that began with a letter the coalition, known as CLASS, sent to Vladovic last Friday. In an interview with LA School Report on Saturday, Ryan Smith of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, a coalition organizer, elaborated on the group’s concerns, saying Vladovic appeared uninterested in consulting with school communities on spending priorities.

But Mike Trujillo, a spokesman for Vladovic, said the board president responded to Smith the day after receiving the letter, telling Smith to call his chief of staff to set up a meeting.

“Our office is extremely confused,” said Trujillo. “Dr. V responded positively to meeting with CLASS. It may have taken us one business day. Unfortunately, unlike Dominos Pizza, we may not deliver within the first 30 minutes, and for that we sincerely apologize.”

Smith was unavailable for comment today, but his spokesman, Jason Mandell, said Trujillo’s account is accurate, that Smith did receive a message from Vladovic on Saturday — but apparently after the interview. The time and date for the meeting was set today.

The LA Unified board, which is meeting today, has been trying to develop budget priorities for the billions of dollars coming into the district from Gov. Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula.

The teachers union and what appears to be a majority of the school board want to use new money to rehire teachers, counselors and other employees who were laid off during the recession. But Superintendent John Deasy and his allies, including two board members and a number of community groups like United Way, would prefer that any new money be given directly to schools.

When asked which of the two strategies Vladovic prefers, Trujillo said, “With someone like Dr. V, who was a parent of LAUSD students, and teacher at LAUSD, a principal, a local superintendent, and now a school board member, I’d argue that there’s no one more qualified to understand the various stakeholders in this process, and he’s sympathetic to how they want the money spent.”

*This update reflects the time and date a meeting has been set.

Previous posts: Local Groups to LA Unified Board: Let Schools Decide Spending;  LA Unified Budget Wars Return with the Usual Competing VisionsDeasy, Board Plunging Back into Turbulent Budget Waters

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