Saturday, October 27, 2007

Red Wind + Onward Mr. C

4LAKids: Sunday, Oct 28, 2007
In This Issue:
L.A. BOARD MAY SHIFT $1 BILLION TO SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: The Measure Y bond money was approved by voters in 2005 for modernizing existing campuses.
SUIT SEEKS TO SAVE COCOANUT GROVE: Preservationists contend LAUSD broke the law when it decided to demolish the nightclub to make way for high school
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
4LAKids Anthology: All the Past Issues, solved, resolved and unsolved!
4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.
"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."
— "Red Wind" Raymond Chandler

PUBLIC SCHOOLS PERFORM TWO FUNCTIONS: The education of our children and as emergency evacuation shelters and command centers in times of disaster.

Most of the schools closed in this week's rash of wildfires were closed not because the schools were in danger from the fires but because they were needed as emergency shelters for evacuees or for use by emergency workers. The single LAUSD school closed in this week's fires was closed because it was needed as an emergency shelter for folks displaced in the Malibu fire. The ocean shipping containers on almost every campus house not just the supplies needed if schoolchildren were to be sheltered-in-place — but also to shelter evacuees - whether from fires, earthquakes, floods or any another calamity that can, does and will befall us …perched as we on the faultline between the devil and the deep blue Pacific are with the dry hot wind on our backs.

Indeed, if there was a pandemic of Asian Flu, SARS or whatnot our schools would be closed and reopened as emergency hospital and treatment facilities; the emergency preparedness plans call for that sort of emergency turn around to occur with three hours.

That is one of the reasons why schools are designed to such of a high standard of structural integrity and disaster survivability. The Field Act - which governs California school building standards - was created after the Long Beach Earthquake of 1933 in which 230 schools failed. There has been no partial or full collapse of any public school building constructed to the requirements of the Field Act since 1933 – and no schoolchild has be killed or injured in an earthquake in that time.

In the interest of statistical integrity I must add that no schoolchildren were hurt in the 1933 Long Beach temblor which did not occur during school hours - and also that California has not suffered a quake during school hours since Long Beach '33. (Those were different times - an official State of California website reports the 6.3 magnitude quake happened at 5:55 a.m. …in the evening!)

But it is an admirable safety record from engineering and safety standpoints. Landers Elementary School was practically on the fault line in the '92 Landers 7.2 magnitude quake (9 times stronger, releasing 27 times more energy than Long Beach) and was occupiable immediately afterward.

So, a tip of the 4LAKids hat to the firefighters and emergency personnel who did their extraordinarily difficult jobs on the ground and in the air last week - and to the school buildings up and down the state - including our own Topanga Elementary - which did theirs too!

And 4LAKids says goodbye to Robert Collins, an extraordinary administrator who has served the children of Los Angeles for 39 years. Bob is a guy who gets up every morning and wonders what he can do for kids that day.

He leaves a legacy here and a number of programs we — all of us — must continue and build upon. Bob didn't invent A though G, Small Learning Communities, Middle School Reform, School Accountability, The Diploma Project, Parent Engagement or any of the rest — but he worked tirelessly in the vineyard to nurture and grow the grapes and press the juice. In time to come this district - parents, staff, teachers, the superintendent, the board of Ed and ultimately the students - and this city - will open and pour and savor the vintage.

Starting next month Bob will wake up as a superintendent in San Diego County. When he wakes up down there he will ask what he can do for kids that day. And then he will go about doing it.

¡Onward/Hasta adelante! –smf

by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer | LA Daily News/

October 26, 2007 - Just a single San Fernando Valley school is in the running to participate in two key reform efforts widely touted by the mayor and schools chief as a key to boosting performance at Los Angeles Unified.

Superintendent David Brewer III said Thursday that he has cut five of the six Valley schools named in his original reform effort targeting 44 low-performing sites.

And Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has 34 confirmed meetings with LAUSD schools through November to determine which two high schools and their related elementary and middle schools he'll manage - but none of them are in the Valley.

While some say Valley schools are being unfairly left out of the reform efforts, others note the schools have specifically asked to be excluded.

Whatever the reason, however, exclusion of Valley schools in reform efforts could be politically risky for both the mayor and the superintendent.

"Historically, the Valley has felt left out and it's one of the reasons it has this impression that downtown L.A. is more than simply a 20- or 30-mile trip - it's in another universe in terms of representing their interests or meeting their needs," said Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles.

"If, in fact, it does come to pass that the Valley is largely ignored with proportional cluster representation, then I think there'll be fuel added to the fire of being ignored and
stoke secession feelings."

District officials, school leaders and parents in the Valley say local schools have requested they not be included in either the mayor's cluster of schools or Brewer's reform package.

Schools like Arleta High and Polytechnic asked Brewer to remove them from his list because they want to continue their own reform efforts.

But Brewer emphasized his decision to remove Valley schools from his high-priority list is driven purely by performance data. And he said that also could change in the future, based on performance.

"We looked at the data," Brewer said. "If anything, (the five Valley schools were removed from the list) because they're doing somewhat better than other schools.

"But we will continue to monitor them and if they require more focus or to move into the high-priority district, we will do that."

Janelle Erickson, spokeswoman for the mayor, said the mayor's school partnership is designed to create a structure for fast-paced reform at all LAUSD campuses.

And outreach efforts are focused on the lowest-performing schools where no reform initiatives are under way, she said.

"Whether a school lies within the family of schools or not, the partnership stands ready to support any and all reform efforts," Erickson said.

"The mayor made it clear that we plan to go where we are most needed and where we are most wanted."

LAUSD board member Tamar Galatzan, who represents part of the Valley, said it appears Valley schools asked to be left out of the reform efforts.

"I've heard that some of the Valley schools felt they were making good progress and are really on the road to turning their schools around and they wanted to be given the opportunity to see those changes through," Galatzan said.

"There are going to be opportunities for Valley schools to be a part of this, whether officially or unofficially.

"I don't think anyone is telling any school in this district, especially any school in the Valley, that you can't try anything innovative or creative until we get around to you."

Sigifredo Lopez - president of the Parent Community Coalition, which represents 1,800 parents in the Valley and the rest of the district - said parents don't trust the mayor or Brewer.

"Reforms are coming out, but parents are saying nothing makes education better for children and brings more parent participation - that these reforms are political," he said.

The latest development comes two months after Villaraigosa and Brewer announced a partnership giving the mayor two families of schools to manage.

Two weeks ago, Brewer announced an additional plan to carve out a separate district for 44 of the neediest schools.

But after resistance from some of the targeted schools, Brewer cut 10 from his list including five in the Valley: Reseda, Monroe, Polytechnic, Arleta and Panorama high schools.

Only Sylmar remains on the list.

Meanwhile, as Villaraigosa hopes to announce his school groups by December, his planned meetings with schools include six at Roosevelt High and five at Crenshaw: the two schools long believed to be the mayor's top choices.

Both Brewer's and Villaraigosa's efforts are slated to roll out at LAUSD schools in the 2008-09 school year.

Regalado said that while the mayor is aware of the importance of the Valley to his political future, Brewer may not realize the political land mines.

"Maybe Brewer doesn't know the political reality of how important the Valley is, or he may feel that the Valley can be drawn in at a later point," Regalado said.

"But it'll be politically risky for him."

Bob Scott, chairman of Valley Industry & Commerce The Association, said the problem for years has been an inability by the LAUSD to roll out effective reforms systemwide.

"Unfortunately, because we have such a centralized system, everything gets drawn to the middle and everything begins and ends downtown - and in many cases the Valley remains an afterthought," Scott said.

"But until we know how this works, we don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

"It may be that we'd be escaping an ill-conceived plan, but on the other hand, if it's something that actually works, we would hope they would roll it out so others can benefit from it as well."


from The Education Revolution – the Daily News/Los Angeles Newspaper Group Education blog - Posted by Naush Boghossian at 12:05 AM

Just a single San Fernando Valley school is in the running to participate in two key reform efforts widely touted by the mayor and schools chief as a key to boosting performance at Los Angeles Unified.

Superintendent David Brewer III said Thursday that he has cut five of the six Valley schools named in his original reform effort targeting 44 low-performing sites.

And Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has 34 confirmed meetings with LAUSD schools through November to determine which two high schools and their related elementary and middle schools he'll manage - but none of them are in the Valley.

While some say Valley schools are being unfairly left out of the reform efforts, others note the schools have specifically asked to be excluded.

Whatever the reason, however, exclusion of Valley schools in reform efforts could be politically risky for both the mayor and the superintendent.

The schools that were removed from what is planned as a separate district that would operate under a different governance structure are Reseda, Franklin, Hollywood, Monroe, Fairfax, Polytechnic, Arleta, Panorama, Santee and Miguel Contreras.

The schools that remain are: Audubon MS, Bell SH, Belmont SH, Bethune MS, Carver MS, Clay MS, Cochran MS, Crenshaw SH, Dorsey SH, Drew MS, Edison MS, Fremont SH, Gage MS, Garfield SH, Gompers MS, Harte MS, Hollenbeck MS, Huntington Park SH, Jefferson SH, Jordan SH, L.A. Academy MS, Lincoln SH, Los Angeles SH, Mann MS, Manual Arts SH, Markham MS, Muir MS, Roosevelt SH, Sylmar SH, South Gate SH, Stevenson MS, Virgil MS, Washington SH and Wilson SH.

Brewer plans to implement his mini-district beginning in the 2008-09 school year--the same time the district will roll out the two families of schools that will be managed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The mayor is in the process of meeting with school communities to determine which two high schools, and their feeder elementary and middle schools, will take part in the partnership.

Interestingly, the two schools widely believed to be the ones the mayor's most interested in including in his partnership--Roosevelt and Crenshaw--are both already named in Brewer's pilot project.

Los Angeles Unified Superintendent David Brewer said Thursday that he had reduced his proposed district of 44 "high-priority schools" from 44 to 34 schools. He said those that didn't meet the criteria for being low-performing, were on the cusp, had shown improvement or had just opened their campuses, were taken out.

The schools that were removed from what is planned as a separate district that would operate under a different governance structure are Reseda, Franklin, Hollywood, Monroe, Fairfax, Polytechnic, Arleta, Panorama, Santee and Miguel Contreras.


▲4LAKids 2¢ - HOW SOON YOU, WE & HE FORGETS: On August 3, 2006 Daily News editor Ron Kaye moderated one of Mayor Villaraigosa's "Education Town Hall" forums on his schools plan at Valley College, wherein hizzoner specifically promised that one of the clusters of schools he would run would be in the Valley.

by Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

October 25, 2007 — The number of children 14 and younger who are killed as pedestrians has dropped dramatically in the past decade, but tougher safety campaigns are needed to further cut the toll, a safety advocacy group says.

According to data released today by Safe Kids Worldwide, the number of children in this age group who died as pedestrians fell 40% from 1995 through 2004.

Over the past five years, the pedestrian injury rate for this age group fell by 29%.

The Washington, D.C.-based non-profit group attributes much of the drop in deaths and injuries to a decline in the percentage of children who walk to school — from 42% in 1969 to 16% in 2001.

The study comes as Halloween nears, a night when children are more than twice as likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle than on any other night, according to Safe Kids.

"What we need to do is make it safer for kids to walk and try to encourage more kids to walk," says Moira Donahue, pedestrian safety program manager for Safe Kids. The group urges that more be done to protect children from injury and to create safer walking environments.

Health advocates concerned about record childhood obesity rates also encourage more children to walk, rather than ride. Nationally, 19% of children 6-11 and 17% of those 12-19 are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"There is broad public support for trying to reduce childhood obesity. One of the best ways to do that is to have kids walk to school. But you've got to make sure they can walk there safely," says Jonathan Adkins of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which advises the states on traffic safety.

National efforts to do just that are starting to bear fruit, officials say. In 2005, Congress approved $612 million to establish a national Safe Routes to School program. The funds, administered by the Federal Highway Administration, are being distributed through 2009 to states, to be used for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure needs.

"While we don't have national data yet, we're starting to see some successes," says Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School at the University of North Carolina's Highway Safety Research Center, which helps communities establish Safe Routes to School programs.

Safe Kids, which released a similar study in 2002, analyzed data on motor vehicle incidents involving child pedestrians from the Department of Transportation's National Center for Statistics and Analysis.


• About 60% of all children killed as pedestrians were male. "Boys tend to be a little more impulsive and have more risk-taking behaviors," Donahue says.

• African-American children had the highest rate of death as pedestrians in motor vehicle incidents based on population size, followed by Hispanic children. "Children in higher-density, lower-income areas had fewer safety devices in their community, whether sidewalks, crosswalks or traffic lights," Donahue says.

• Young drivers, especially males 16-25, were more likely to be at the wheel in incidents relating to child pedestrian fatalities. "This is a sign that we need to get more information out to young drivers," Donahue says.

REPORT - Safe Kids USA: Latest Trends in Child Pedestrian Safety

L.A. BOARD MAY SHIFT $1 BILLION TO SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: The Measure Y bond money was approved by voters in 2005 for modernizing existing campuses.
By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 23, 2007 - Los Angeles school district officials want to close most of a staggering deficit in the school-construction program by using more than $1 billion in bond money that was meant for other purposes. The Los Angeles Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the shift today.

The proposal, expected to pass, would use for new schools money that would have repaired and modernized existing schools, improved Internet access and other technology on campuses, and built and repaired preschool centers. Instead, the funds will backfill the plan to build 145 schools in an effort to provide all students with a neighborhood campus that operates on a traditional two-semester schedule.

The $20-billion construction and modernization program is the nation's largest and frequently touted as a seminal accomplishment. But the effort has run up against spiraling increases in property values and construction costs.

"Our hope here is that this is just a borrowing, if you will, of those funds" and the original programs "will be finished sometime in the future with other funds, whether they be from future bond measures or from other sources," said Edwin Van Ginkel, senior development manager for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Van Ginkel added that the bond's wording allows for such a transfer.

But the fine print of ballot resolutions is not enough, said Jamie Court, president of the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights.

"Politicians will try to use whatever money is on hand to fill any hole they have," Court said. "And in those cases they're often very flexible with 'the voter's intent' when the voter's intent wasn't that elastic. Politicians can't lawfully seize on the fine print to use money where that use was not made explicitly clear."

When voters passed Measure Y in 2005, they authorized nearly $4 billion in school bonds. The breakdown included $1.6 billion for new schools, $1.48 billion for existing schools, $325 million for technology and $100 million for early education.

The resolution before the school board would take $790 million from repair of existing schools, $200 million from technology and $60 million from early education. Each cut is greater than half of the bond money allocated.

Van Ginkel said the loss would not be felt for perhaps two years, because of money left from other bond measures and elsewhere.

But he acknowledged that from the start, the backlog of district needs surpassed all available funding. No local school bonds had been approved for 34 years before four won passage starting in 1997.

"We're building to make up for 20 years where the district built very few new schools," he said, adding that enrollment grew by 226,000 students from 1980 to 2002. In the past, he said, the district got by with 10,000 portable classrooms, a year-round schedule and involuntary busing.

District staff members cite both progress and continued needs. The number of year-round schools has declined from 227 to 142. In 2002, 16,000 students were bused out involuntarily, compared with 6,600 now. It helps that since 2003, enrollment declined from 747,000 to less than 700,000.

Even after all the planned construction, tens of thousands of students will still attend classes in portables.

Justifications aside, a promise to voters is a promise, said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. "There was a factual determination that over a billion dollars was needed to renovate schools where students are going right now. To take money away from that seems a fundamental violation of public trust."

The point is not lost on Scott Folsom, vice-chair of the district's bond oversight committee.

Even after the new schools are built, he said, 80% to 90% of students will be attending schools that exist today.

"Just as we didn't build schools for 20 or 30 years, we also didn't keep them up," he said.

Still, the oversight committee approved the transfer last week. Its decision is not binding on the school board, which rarely goes against such recommendations.

Folsom foresees another difficult juncture approaching: "We are going to need to go to the voters at some point in the future -- not that far away -- to ask for more money."

SUIT SEEKS TO SAVE COCOANUT GROVE: Preservationists contend LAUSD broke the law when it decided to demolish the nightclub to make way for high school
By Evelyn Larrubia, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 26, 2007 - In an effort to keep intact the landmark Cocoanut Grove nightclub at the former Ambassador Hotel, the Los Angeles Conservancy has again sued the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, contends the district broke the law when it decided recently to demolish most of the Cocoanut Grove structure and asks a judge to require the school system to spare the nightclub or prove why it can't. It also asks a judge to halt the project while a determination is made.

"We believe they need to be held accountable," said conservancy Director Linda Dishman.

The school board, voting unanimously last month, relied on district staff's supplemental environmental report, which said that those portions of the fabled nightclub were too weak to be feasibly shored up. The board gave the green light to replicate those structures and to slope the floor so that the room could be used as an auditorium when the hotel is turned into a new campus, among other changes.

"The conservancy would be a lot better off trying to sue to suspend the laws of gravity if they want the Cocoanut Grove" kept intact, said Kevin Reed, L.A. Unified's general counsel.

He called the lawsuit frivolous and said the district "scrupulously" followed the law when it determined it needed to tear down the weaker parts of the structure.

The district plans to spend $341 million to build an elementary, middle and high school that will house 4,240 students on the site of the historic 1921 hotel.

The 24-acre property, once the glittering stamping ground of celebrities, presidents and other politicians, had been closed for more than a decade and was being sold in Bankruptcy Court in 2001 when the district snatched it up.

State law requires the district to conduct an environmental review before building a school. In addition to analyzing pollution at the site, the district is required to review the historical value of the buildings it plans to tear down. In its environmental impact report, the district acknowledged that the property was historically significant.

The district said most of the Ambassador was too weak to be remodeled. To mitigate tearing down most of the hotel, L.A. Unified said it would preserve the pantry where Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 and keep the Cocoanut Grove, home to six Academy Awards shows, as a high school auditorium.

But under current plans -- approved during a public hearing in September -- only the east wall, the circular entry and a portion of the glass west wall of the nightclub and historic Paul Williams cafeteria will remain, along with some interior features that were removed and will be incorporated into the design.

As for the pantry, L.A. Unified decided in 2005 that the district would collect 29 items from it -- mostly doors, electrical items and an ice machine -- put them in storage and tear down the rest. Dishman said her group was not consulted before the move.

"They had made a commitment to preserve the pantry and incorporate it into the new school building, and instead they have disassembled it in 29 pieces," Dishman said. "So this national historic site is reduced to Humpty Dumpty."

The conservancy is also asking a judge to stop the district from taking any action on the artifacts from the hotel's pantry.

A district-sponsored committee has recommended that the artifacts be destroyed, as the Kennedy family wished. In March, staff prepared a memorandum explaining how that could be done.

But the district has yet to determine what it will do with the artifacts, officials said.

If a judge grants a preliminary injunction, Reed said it would probably delay the construction of the schools.

The school site has pitted conservationists against neighborhood activists, who have been waiting for the K-12 campus for years to ease overcrowding in other neighborhood schools. Current plans call for completion of the K-3 building in 2009 and the remainder in 2010.

The conservancy and other preservation groups filed lawsuits to block the hotel's destruction after the school board first approved it in 2004. In 2005, the conservancy enlisted state and national politicians in a failed, last-ditch effort at a compromise that would have turned the hotel's main building into low-income apartments, around which school buildings would be constructed.

Soon after, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge dismissed the conservation groups' proposal. The conservancy agreed to drop that lawsuit in exchange for a $4.9-million contribution from the district to a nonprofit organization aimed at preserving historic school buildings.

▲4LAKids 2¢ - The Bond Oversight Committee, charged in the state constitution and the voter-approved language of all four current school construction bonds with fiscal oversight of bond expenditures strongly advised in a report concerning the Ambassador Project on October 6, 2004 against the school district using any bond funds for the historic preservation of the Cocoanut Grove - saying in essence that the preservation of historic nightclubs was not a proper expenditure of school funds. The Board of Education - for only the second time in memory - rejected the Oversight Committee's recommendation (the other time being the Board's infamous refusal to permit oversight of Belmont Learning Complex construction.)

Now the Board has changed its mind for good reason …but late in the game — exposing it to a lawsuit (and probable construction delays) accusing it of reneging on a promise it should never have made.

Bond Oversight Committee Oct 6, 2004 Meeting Record

by Shayna Chabner - Staff Writer | North County Times

Sunday, October 20, 2007 -- San Diego -- School districts across the state and nation could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each in annual special education funding if a recently proposed federal rule to stop reimbursing them for Medicaid-related services takes effect next year, educators said last week.

The rule, proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, would prohibit school districts from receiving payments for transportation and administrative services ---- including outreach programs, referrals to medical providers, counseling and monitoring ---- that they provide to disabled children and their families who are eligible for Medicaid. The centers, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a federal agency that administers federal and state health insurance programs.

The federal government intends to save almost $4 billion over five years if the rule is enacted. The public has until Nov. 6 to comment on the proposal.

Local and state educators say the rule could result in a significant cut in professional development for teachers, and in the programs and services they offer special education students.

The amount the districts risk losing varies, said Suzi Rader, the director of district and financial services for the California School Boards Association.

Medicaid reimbursements to local school districts for the 2005-06 school year, the most recent year figures were available, ranged from $259,000 combined for Escondido's elementary and high school districts to about $127,000 for the Encinitas Union School District, she said.

The San Diego County Office of Education could lose the $745,000 it receives for the thousands of Medicaid-eligible students it serves, said Carolyn Nunes, its special education director. Officials say that the statewide loss could be enormous.

"I think most school districts are concerned about the cuts," said Kelly Prins, assistant superintendent of special education for the Escondido Union School District.

Prins said districts rely on the reimbursements to offer students expanded physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions and transportation to medical appointments, as well as providing parents with information on different programs and resources available to their children.

Some of the funds can also be used for staff development and training that is specifically geared toward improving such services, Prins said.

"It's not millions, but it's a good chunk, Prins said, adding that the loss of the reimbursements would force underfunded special education programs to rely more heavily on a district's general fund.

The federal government, which is supposed to fund 40 cents of every dollar a district spends on special education, currently only pays about 18 cents, Nunes said.

"If these funds are taken away, it's kind of another slap to us who are trying to serve our most needy students," Nunes said. "(Not receiving them) will definitely impact our families and our kids."

Federal officials said, however, that some districts are using part of their reimbursement money to help fund programs and transportation services that are not linked to Medicaid-related services.

The new regulation, they said, could save the government $3.6 billion over five years.

In justifying the cut in reimbursements, federal officials have said that the cost of transporting a student from home to school for therapy should be billed as an educational expense because students are not just receiving medical-related assistance when they're on campus.

Lucile Lynch, a special education parent in the Encinitas Union School District and a member of the North Coast Consortium for Special Education's executive board, disagreed.

Lynch said that offering special education therapies and services at school is more effective because it helps students learn skills to succeed away from home. Many students, including her son, she said, may do something easily at home that they cannot do initially at school.

"You come home and the environment is completely different," she said. "You have to be able to mimic the location and setting to know what you need to work on."

Another benefit of receiving occupational and speech therapy sessions at school, Lynch said, is that her 9-year-old son has been able to work on developing his speaking skills on a daily basis. Without this funding for the schools, she said, some districts will have fewer financial resources to hirer a speech therapist or to provide the materials needed for that repetition.

"He started in some of these speech programs not being able to talk," she said. "And now he is reading a full paragraph. ... What these services have meant to us was the chance to have a somewhat independent life."

▲The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is proposing to cut federal Medicaid reimbursements that schools get for certain special education programs. The cut in funding, $3.6 billion over five years, would eliminate:

• Reimbursements for administrative activities and services performed by school employees. Those activities include health services for disabled students who need preventative and rehabilitative services and/or speech, physical and occupational therapies; helping student and families find resources; and coordination and monitoring of medical care.

• Reimbursements for part of the cost of transportation for bringing Medicaid-eligible students to and from school on days when they are schedule to have health services, such as therapies. Also includes the cost of transporting students to outside providers.

▲ To comment on the rule change, published Sept. 7 in the Federal Register, visit
Public comment will be accepted through Nov. 6.

To read the proposed rule, CLICK HERE

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
►Tuesday Oct 30, 2007
South Region Elementary School #7: Pre-Demolition Meeting
6:00 p.m.
Russell Elementary School
1263 E. Firestone Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90001

► Wednesday Oct 31, 2007 – ¡HALLOWEEN!
DRIVE ESPECIALLY CAREFULLY - From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggetty beasties and things that go bump in the night (and the odd princess and Spider-Man) Good Lord deliver us. And they from us. Amen.

►Thursday Nov 1, 2007
East Los Angeles High School #2: Pre-Construction Meeting
6:00 p.m.
Hammel Elementary School
438 N. Brannick Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90063

*Dates and times subject to change.
Phone: 213-241-5183
Phone: 213-893-6800


What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member: • 213-241-6383 • 213-241-6387 • 213-241-6386 • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6385

...or your city councilperson, mayor, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Schwarzenegger: 213-897-0322 e-mail:
• Open the dialogue. Write a letter to the editor. Circulate these thoughts. Talk to the principal and teachers at your local school.
• Speak with your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Stay on top of education issues. Don't take my word for it!
• Get involved at your neighborhood school. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child.
• Register.
• Vote.

Who are your elected federal & state representatives? How do you contact them?

Scott Folsom is a parent and parent leader in LAUSD. He is immediate past President of Los Angeles 10th District PTSA and represents PTA as Vice-chair the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. He serves on various school district advisory and policy committees and is a PTA officer and/or governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is also the elected Youth & Education boardmember on the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council.
• In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
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