Sunday, April 05, 2009

Hiccups on the highway.

4LAKids: Sun, April 5, 2009 SPRING BREAK ISSUES
In This Issue:
HOW I’M PLANNING TO VOTE ON MAY 19 (and why you shouldn't vote that way!)
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: an investment we can't afford to cut! - The Education Coalition Website
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.
ON TUESDAY SUPERINTENDENT CORTINES APPEARED ON THE EARLY AM KNBC NEWS – he's an early morning person. He lambasted LAUSD's (mis)governance-by-email — and intimated he would resign of his proposed budget wasn't accepted by the Board of Ed that afternoon.

CORTINES:“I am tired of this District being run by hundreds of e-mails." ... “If they (the Board of Ed) have lost confidence in me then its time for me to go." ... [quoted off-camera] "After a year of putting this budget in place, it’s not just a difficult decision – it’s the only decision."

There are rumors afoot that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would like Cortines with him in Washington DC …maybe an exit scenario was falling in place?

There's a leadership practice among 'boards-of' called 'boardsmanship': a good board debates and contests but once consensus is reached and the vote is taken everyone goes along. The opposite of this is the 'my way/my ball/my rules' practice of leadership': "Teamwork is everyone doing what I want". Our current Board of Ed may be an imperfect exemplar of the former, Ramon Cortines has been known previously to practice the later.

The board didn't approve Cortines budget on Tuesday and everybody blinked.

The proposed compromise was the Superintendent's.

The clock was reset to two weeks in the future and The Superintendent's 100 Day Plan now runs for 104 days. The District's partners: the bargaining units, and parents, and community stakeholders are to sit down with him and the budgeteers and try again to come up with something by April 14th. It appears — and appearances are oft at odds with reality …and the vaunted transparency is cloudy at best — that all the partners save two are bargaining / negotiating / brainstorming in good faith. Furloughs and the federal stimulus and other proposals are on the table along with saving jobs and programs and preserving class size reduction.

Perhaps as discussions continue UTLA and SEIU will come to the table too.

MUCH HAS BEEN MADE – AND EVEN MORE HAS BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD – ABOUT THE RECENT INSPECTOR GENERAL'S STUDY OF THE FACILITIES SERVICES DIVISION CONSULTANT CONTRACTS. These are Contract Employees – not Consultants. Consultants consult; contract employees manage projects and perform tangible work beyond advice and opinion.

Some things will change at the FSD based on the IG's report; some of them would've changed anyway because of the FSD's change in scope and mission from building new schools to modernizing and repairing existing ones. The IG's report serves as an important milestone pointing out lessons learned and best practices. And places where practice can be improved and lessons should be learned.

4LAKids is not about to offer a critique of criticism. Inspectors General are by nature and necessity critical of projects they investigate; it is their job to uncover wrongdoing and/or things that coulda/shoulda been done better. LAUSD's office of the Inspector General does an excellent job at what it's supposed to do. But if you delve into their reports – or any IG's report from any agency – there are invariably findings that something-or-another could've (and by implication, should've) been done better – whether it's the operation of the student store or a $27 billion school construction program.

The LAUSD School Construction program is a mega-project on the scale of the Boston Big Dig or the Hurricane Katrina Rebuild – projects with monumental cost overruns and proven instances of the criminal trifecta of Waste, Fraud & Abuse. At worst the LAUSD IG finds waste – and waste is intolerable – but the report never (and actually cannot) determine whether hiring district employees instead of of professional outside contract employees was really the most cost effective strategy. The IG's report essentially says if LAUSD had paid less money they would've paid less money. Perhaps for less expertise and lesser performance.

The fact that the IG's report was held back and then leaked to the media when it was needs to be noted. In the interest of transparency and accountability the report, dated more than a month ago probably should've come out earlier. But some speculate that it was held back and then leaked when it was to take some heat off the Board of Ed and Superintendent's budget impasse – to ignite the backstory of overpaid consultants that fuels the Reduction in Force argument.

Read the Siart Report on the IG Audit: There is no there there.

• The jobs being performed by the contract employees are not jobs that could be done by LAUSD bargaining unit partners. Schoolteachers and Administrators and Classroom Aides and Office Staff do not build schools or manage construction programs. An vice versa
• The compensation paid to those contractors is not money that could be legally or logically paid to district employees subject to the RIF.
• If such a thing had happened the IG wouldn't have a report; he'd have a criminal case to turn over to the District Attorney and/or Attorney General.

A Headline from a Press Release Wire: RECORD NUMBER OF CHARTER SCHOOLS RECEIVE CALIFORNIA DISTINGUISHED SCHOOLS AWARD. The self congratulating continues, asserting that this proves something superior about charter schools. I have participated in the CDS awards process twice, it's a process of voluntary self selection and the award comes with no tangible award – it's just an honor. Charter schools are at an advantage with staff that can be assigned (and paid) to support the effort, the school district does no such thing – the UTLA contract practically discourages it. Grant writers on district school staffs quickly learn to write applications and put in the hard work on programs that bring in money — especially in these times when dollars and staff are being reduced. That being said, winning a CDS award is an honor and 4LAKids congratulates the 12 schools within LAUSD – including ten charters – who won. Good job!

AND CONGRATULATIONS TO LAURA CHICK for being named Inspector General for California's implementation of the Federal Stimulus; she has been a friend and a partner to the school district's construction and education mission as LA City Controller. Laura will see that the Federal Stimulus money in California is wisely and quickly invested as-and-when it's supposed to be – with a minimum of bureaucratic and political tomfoolery …and an absence of WF&A. And when it's done, a report on how it could've/should've been done better.

¡Onward/Hasta adelante! - smf

►Additional homework:

[Video] KNBC MORNING NEWS: Tuesday 31 March

La Opinión Editorial (translation by
La Opinión)

April 2 -- The budget crisis at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will inevitably have a negative impact on education. The question is how to soften the blow to a system that is already facing major academic challenges.

School Superintendent Ramón Cortines presented his proposal and there is nothing pleasant about it.

According to the plan, nearly 9,000 district employees will be laid off, the vast majority of whom are teachers, in order to cut the $718-million deficit.

In practice this could mean that in elementary school, the average number of students per class would increase from 20 to 24, and this could surge up to 43 students per class in grades 11 and 12. The only consolation is that the plan gives schools greater freedom to use increasingly limited funds.

The LAUSD School Board is reluctant to follow Cortines’ recommendations, and has approved $140.6 million in cuts that do not touch employees, leaving the rest to be decided on April 14.

We hope this time is used to negotiate alternatives with the unions representing LAUSD employees in order to reduce layoffs with unpaid days off, among other measures.

At the same time, there are other areas where money can be saved by reducing the hiring of consultants on construction projects. An audit by the Inspector General indicates that in 2006-07, $77 million could have been saved if the LAUSD had used its own employees rather than independent contractors.

There is also speculation, especially in the teachers union, that there will be a billion dollars from the federal economic stimulus package to resolve the deficit problem. Actually, nothing is certain yet and the union should use this time to provide some ideas other than waiting for uncertain funding and blaming the LAUSD board for years of mismanagement.

The deadline for the school budget has been postponed to explore options other than thousands of layoffs. We hope they find some.


La Opinión Editorial

2 Abril -- La crisis de presupuesto en el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles (LAUSD) tendrá inevitablemente un impacto negativo en la educación. La cuestión es cómo aminorar ese golpe en un sistema que ya de por sí enfrenta grandes desafíos académicos.

El superintendente escolar, Ramón Cortines, presentó su propuesta y no es nada agradable.

Según el plan se despedirá cerca de 9 mil empleados del distrito, de los cuales la gran mayoría son maestros, para reducir el déficit de $718 millones.

Se estima, por ejemplo, que en la práctica esto puede significar que en la escuela primaria el promedio de alumnos por aula aumente de 20 a 24 estudiantes y este incremento puede llegar hasta 43 estudiantes por clase de los cursos de grados 11 y 12. El único consuelo es que el plan da mayor libertad a las escuelas para usar fondos cada vez más limitados.

La Junta Escolar del LAUSD está reticente con razón a seguir las recomendaciones de Cortines, aprobando $140.6 millones en recortes que no tocan empleos y dejaron el resto a decidir el 14 de abril próximo.

Esperamos que este período sea aprovechado para negociar con los sindicatos que representan empleados del LAUSD alternativas para reducir los despidos ya con días libres sin pago, entre otras.

Por otra parte, hay áreas donde también se puede ahorrar dinero reduciendo la contratación de consultores en los proyectos de construcción. Una auditoría del Inspector General dada a conocer el lunes indica que en el año 2006-07 se pudieron ahorrar $77 millones si el LAUSD hubiera usado sus propios empleados en vez de contratar afuera.

También se especula, especialmente en el sindicato de maestros, que habrá mil millones dólares del estímulo económico federal que solucionará el déficit. En realidad todavía no hay nada seguro y e l sindicato debería proveer alguna idea en este periodo además de esperar un fondo incierto o culpar a la directiva del LAUSD por largos años de mal manejo.

La fecha para el presupuesto escolar se ha ido posponiendo para explorar otras opciones que no sean miles de despidos. Esperamos que las encuentren.


By Eric Bailey - from the Los Angeles Times

April 1, 2009 — Reporting from Sacramento — Legislative leaders are weighing contingency plans for a potential fiscal "doomsday" if a slate of ballot measures designed to balance the state budget fails in the May 19 special election.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the bipartisan team of lawmakers pushing the half-dozen propositions continue to insist that the campaign has just begun and can still be won despite a recent public opinion poll showing all but one measure trailing badly.

But, behind the scenes, elected leaders and staffers have begun brainstorming additional budget cuts that might be necessary. That effort comes little more than a month after Schwarzenegger signed a budget that slashed spending and raised taxes to fill a $42-billion deficit.

The six ballot measures include several that would combine to pump nearly $6 billion into the state's 2009-10 spending plan. Even with that revenue, the plunging economy has already dug a potential $8-billion hole in next year's budget. If the propositions fail, the state could face a $14-billion deficit that would grow by an additional $16 billion if Proposition 1A doesn't pass, according to the nonpartisan legislative analyst's office.

Likely targets for deeper budget cuts include higher education, public schools, transportation, the prisons and healthcare, Capitol insiders say. The state also could move to siphon some of the property tax revenue that normally flows to municipalities.

The real-world effects could be grim. In Los Angeles County, thousands of teachers could face layoffs and class sizes would almost certainly rise, said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).

"If these initiatives do not pass," she said, "we are looking at cutting $14 billion in programs."


Bass and other officials who have thrown their weight behind the ballot measures contend that, with seven weeks until election day, their battle is just beginning. With more than $5 million in campaign cash and Schwarzenegger in election mode, they say they hope to sell voters on the need for the measures.

"Doomsday scenarios, that's one thing -- I think it's important to be honest with the people about what the consequences are," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), a key backer of the propositions. "But I don't think it will be a campaign to scare people."

Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering their options in case voters stymie their budget plans. Public school financing is protected by voter-approved minimums, but that wouldn't stop further cuts if they were needed, lawmakers say. Colleges, with no guaranteed funding, would be an even more likely target.

Other areas partly protected by law could still face some cuts: the state's prisons, for example, which account for up to 12% of general fund spending.

Health and welfare programs, already severely reduced, could be whittled further, although the state must maintain certain funding levels to qualify for some of the more than $30 billion in federal stimulus money flowing to California, said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), who chairs the lower house budget committee.

Budget officials have privately been discussing establishing a series of triggers that, if the ballot measures fail, would reduce funding to certain programs depending on the depths of fiscal fallout.

That idea is already facing some resistance.

"I'm not a fan of automatically triggered cuts," Evans said. "I would rather we take a look at what the circumstances are, and make cuts based on what services Californians need to finish out the year -- things like unemployment, food stamps, job retraining."

Evans also isn't warming to suggestions that the state could slash voter-mandated transportation programs and divert revenue that normally would go to cities and counties, which have already cut spending dramatically.

"That's just a double whammy," she said.


The prospect of further budgetary rancor in the Capitol also could loom if the ballot measures fail. Last summer and again during the winter, negotiations dragged on for weeks as Republicans and Democrats quarreled over how to fill the deficit.

If more tax increases were to end up on the table after May 19, Evans said, another stalemate could develop. Tax hikes require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, and Republicans -- some of whose votes would be needed for that -- have indicated they have given enough.

Evans said she shares concerns about raising taxes "during a difficult economic environment," but added that "there are certain services that Californians need and have come to expect."

HOW I’M PLANNING TO VOTE ON MAY 19 (and why you shouldn't vote that way!)
– By Tom Campbell, Chapman University Presidential Fellow and Professor of Law and former Budget Director, State of California …and GOP candidate for governor.

●● smf's 2¢: …or how not to vote and why not to vote that way!

Thu, April 2nd, 2009 – There are five fiscal measures on the May 19 ballot. I’ve received a fair number of questions about my positions on them.

Here is how I am planning to vote:

1A – YES: This creates a real rainy day fund, and constrains the growth of state spending. Any increases above inflation and population growth have to go into the rainy day fund, until it totals 12.5% of the state budget. A minimum of 3% of the state’s revenues has to go into the fund until the 12.5% is met, once the growth in population and inflation from the previous year has been covered. This is almost as good as Prop. 76, the legislative version of which I authored, that cut spending across – the – board when revenue fell. The public employee unions defeated Prop. 76, but the Governor negotiated with them to hold off criticizing 1A; so this has a real chance of passage.

The negative: when the Legislature passed the temporary increases in sales and income taxes, they said if real budget reform were adopted by referendum or initiative, the increases would last until 2012, instead of 2010. So, it’s a trade – off: short – term pain for long – term reform. I’d take the long – term reform, particularly mindful of the fact that Prop. 76 was defeated. This is our best hope for getting structural budget reform.

One other point: a rainy day fund is meaningless if it has no money in it. The continuation of the tax increases funds the rainy day fund; otherwise, it will accumulate much more slowly. Remember, anything above the previous year’s expenditures, adjusted for inflation and population, goes into the rainy day fund; so that includes the money from the continued two years of tax increases.

●● smf's 2¢: …I'm OK with a YES vote on this one, but holding my nose. To pretend that this is "long term reform" is inconsistent with logic – a nice way to say 'balderdash' …or other farmyard metaphors (we're holding our nose, remember?) the LAUSD censor servers would balk at.

1B – NO: This allows the schools to get the first 9 billion in the rainy – day fund, essentially putting them above all the other programs of the state that had to be cut in the present recession. No one wants to see fewer resources for schools, but more money does not guarantee better performance either. The key to my recommending NO is that in a tough economic environment, all state spending should be on the block. Indeed, in Prop. 76, of which I was the chair, automatic across – the – board cuts went into effect when revenue dropped by as little as 1% in any given quarter. We’re all in this together, schools too.

●● smf's 2¢: Spin 101: Prop 76 was defeated by the voters, not the public employee unions. Campbell pretty much says "the heck with schools and Prop 98 guarantees". 1A without 1B is utterly meaningless. Vote YES.

1C – NO: This borrows $5 billion against future lottery proceeds. It’s essentially the sale of a one-time asset, being used to fund an on-going structural deficit. Further, it’s premised on the hope that Wall Street will buy bonds backed by improved lottery revenues. In all likelihood, that means the state will run even more advertisements in favor of buying lottery tickets, in low-income neighborhoods. Admittedly, a lottery is a voluntary purchase not a tax; but I have serious reservations about the state pushing the lottery, since those who buy tickets are overwhelmingly poor and less educated. Note that I recognize if this is defeated, there is another 5 billion dollars to be made up in the state budget. Those negotiations will commence immediately.

●● smf's 2¢: 1C is smoke and mirrors, the lottery is smoke and mirrors. The state shouldn't be in the lottery business for the moral reason Campbell makes – but this ballot measure isn't about that. What 1C does is gets rid of the false premise that the lottery money 'helps our schools'; the legislature undid that years ago by reducing school support by more than the factor the lottery money supports them. Vote YES to end the farce once and for all – and buy lottery tickets to "Help our Legislators".

1D – YES: This sends about a quarter billion dollars from the tobacco tax to the general fund. We need the money now in the general fund; it will revert to school programs when our fiscal crisis is past.

●● smf's 2¢: …This is Karl Rovian semantic double speak at it's most duplicitous. The "Tobacco Tax" ('Tobacco' is bad, 'tax' is bad, but two bads make a good?) supports preschools and early childhood education. Data and intuition show that money invested in preschool pays off something like 14:1 down the line. Vote NO.

1E – YES: This sends about a third of a billion dollars from the millionaires’ income tax surtax to the general fund. Presently, it’s used for mental health programs. Like the tobacco tax, it will revert once the state’s crisis is past.

●● smf's 2¢: Again, the 'millionaires income tax surtax' frames this argument as a tax on someone else, someone akin to Mr. Moneybags in the Monopoly game – or an AIG bonus recipient. The tax money goes to pay for mental health programs, someone totally else! The mental health challenges of this economy are bad enough but Campbell thinks that money would be better spent as the legislature likes – perhaps to fill potholes? Vote NO.

by Mack Reed | LA Metblogs

April 3rd, 2009 - Just when I thought the LAUSD and the California Legislature couldn’t possibly make me any angrier, our school parents’ group publishes an online poll today that goes something like this:

In order to face the upcoming deep LAUSD budget cuts, we need to make some hard choices.

Which of the following services do you believe we can afford to lose the least? Please mark these in order of priority - 1=most important, 7=least important:

• Academic coaches
• Technology/computer program
• School library
• Physical education
• Kindergarten aides
• Teacher training to match instruction to student skill levels.

Here’s the pathetic part - these are all services funded BY US BECAUSE LAUSD DOESN’T PAY FOR THEM. Our school community had to raise $150,000 last year just to keep the three (vital) academic coaches. Now we have to try raising more than $320,000 to keep them AND all the other stuff.

Dozens of parents have been laid off from their jobs and it’s plain that we’re not going to hit our mark.

And we’re in Silver Lake, in one of L.A.’s most affluent district school s - I can only imagine the horrible choices being faced at more-average schools in L.A. where people can’t afford to backfill the gaps left by a stingy, short-sighted and horribly mismanaged state educational policy.

For years now, the Legislature has been underfunding education across the state and in Los Angeles in particular, and the Los Angeles Unified School District has been squandering what little money we have on a bloated bureaucracy and wishy-washy, half-assed improvement initiatives without ever attempting the bold innovation or real top-down reforms.

Everyone in power - from the district leadership to the teachers’ union - seems to be doing what it takes to maintain the status quo and cover their little slice without considering what all this is doing to the people who will be working in and running Los Angeles 10, 20 years from now.

As a result, California ranks almost dead-last in education among the United States.

And what’s the solution to the basic bottom-line debacle that all this adds up to? Pull seasoned teachers out of the classroom and replace them with Beaudry Street bureaucrats who haven’t held a piece of chalk in years.

Yes, I’m ranting.

But that’s because it’s plain to me that this situation no longer deserves simple pitchforks-and-torches-to-Sacramento anger. We’ve tried that.

This warrants prosecution because it is a [expletive deleted] crime.

●● smf's 2¢: Gentle reader, 4LAKids has not censored the above because we don't want to offend anyone's sensibilities; if your sensibilities aren't already outraged you haven't been paying [expletive deleted] attention and/or it's time to adjust your medication. 4LAKids distributes its message to many subscribers with email addresses and the automatic software censors on the servers will not deliver email with certain words - a list that I'm sure includes George Carlin's Seven and a few more - including descriptions of the meaty parts of cut-up chicken.

It's easy to figure that Mr. Reed writes about Ivanhoe School - one the best schools in LAUSD - and one of the most budgetarilly challenged. But the challenges at Ivanhoe will be echoed to a lesser (and sometimes greater) extent at every single LAUSD school.

The closer to the middle-of-the-middle-class the demographic profile the harder will be the hit to the school.

▲MACK REED (his bio says) lives in Silver Lake. He and his wife have 1.8 kids and some cacti and puddles. He grew up in Connecticut, but has lived in L.A. since the 3rd month of the 9th decade of the last century. He rides his bike too often and burns too seldom. He founded in 2002 after escaping a bright future in print journalism and the first dot-com bust. He believes in extraterrestrial life, fuel injection, Apple computers, brutal honesty, animated gifs, the Muses, great blue herons and the hot mustard you put on your lamb sandwich at Phillippe's. He is probably lying right now. When not wasting your time or obsessing over his other blog, he gives a lot of advice. He is 98 years old and eight feet high on the internet. Or is it the other way around?

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
Saturday, April 04, 2009 12:14 PM
Teachers, School Workers and Parents Applaud Rep. Waters for Her Efforts to Prevent LAUSD Job Cuts California Chronicle Congressional Desk | The Congressional Desk provides information, news, and announcements obtained from governmental and communications offices. April 02, 2009 — Los Angeles – Teachers and other school workers as well as parents of students in the Los Angeles Unified School

► CURIOUSER+CURIOUSER: On television this morning Superintendent Cortines seemed to say he would resign if the Board of Ed didn’t agree to his budget and staff reduction proposals. They didn’t… but don’t expect that resignation just yet.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:20 PM
Video from KNBC:TV Cortines: “I am tired of this District being run by hundreds of e-mails. “If they (the Board of Ed) have lost confidence in me then its time for me to go. After a year of putting this budget in place, it’s not just a difficult decision – it’s the only decision.”

► follow the timeline:
• LA SCHOOL BOARD TO CUT $730 MILLION Los Angeles Times – 9:59 AM March 31
• LA SCHOOL BOARD PUTS OFF VOTE ON HUGE LAYOFF San Diego Union Tribune - 4:42 p.m. March 31, 2009
• LA SCHOOL BOARD DELAYS VOTE TO LAYOFF 8500 San Francisco Chronicle – 6:11 PM March 31, 2009
• LA UNIFIED CUTS $140.6 MILLION FROM BUDGET Los Angeles Times | By Howard Blume 6:44 PM PDT, March 31, 2009
meanwhile, back at the beach….

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:54 AM
Office of the Superintendent
TO: Ramon C. Cortines , Superintendent of Schools
FROM: Bill Siart , Senior Advisor to the Superintendent
INFORMATIVE DATE: March 30, 2009
After reviewing the….

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 10:05 AM
By George B. Sanchez, Staff Writer | LA Newspaper Group/Daily News/Daily Breeze 3/31 — Los Angeles Unified officials should adopt tough measures to rein in the power of costly private consultants or face "a loss of government control" of the district's massive $27billion school construction project, according to an audit released Monday.

► OBAMA: "Almost all the money that's going to states under the Recovery Act for education is designed to retain teachers."
Monday, March 30, 2009 12:39 PM
In this March 18, 2009, file photo Isa de Quesada, a teacher at McFaden Intermediate School in Santa Ana, Calif., reacts to President Barack Obama's answer to her question about stimulus dollars for education, "How are we going to make sure that money comes to our districts?", during a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, Calif. De Quesada said she was about to be laid off….

Monday, March 30, 2009 1:50 PM
The Probation Department will place officers at three high schools and a middle school in hopes of stemming gang violence in the Valley. The program is already in place at 120 L.A. County schools. By Molly Hennessy-Fiske | LA Times March 30, 2009 - In an effort to combat gangs and prevent teenagers from being arrested, Los Angeles County officials are stationing more juvenile probation…

Sunday, March 29, 2009 11:53 PM
Ana Kasparian | LA Politics in Education Examiner | March 25 -- The Los Angeles Unified School District was under much scrutiny three years ago when it was discovered that two of its high schools had dropout rates above 50 percent. In fact, Jefferson High in South Los Angeles had a dropout rate of 52.1 percent, with Belmont High following at 51 percent. In response to this ….

Sunday, March 29, 2009 11:52 PM
Ericha Parks | LA School District Examiner |
March 26 — California schools are in need of a federal bail out to backfill money cut by the state. What, if anything, does the federal stimulus package have to offer schools? School districts in Southern California scramble to review, balance and amend their budgets in light of the state

► CORTINES’ MANY-HEADED LAUSD MONSTER: Schools teeter on fiscal cliff while the superintendent tries "decentralization"
Sunday, March 29, 2009 11:32 PM
By JOSEPH MAILANDER | LA WEEKLY March 18, 2009 — When Ramon C. Cortines hit the ground as the Los Angeles Unified School District’s new superintendent in December, he hit it not only running but also firing at lots of moving targets. In such a target-rich environment as LAUSD, his style has proved entertaining, even while his marksmanship remains unclear. Cortines sometimes arrives at work at 4

Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:29 PM
by Scott Adams (cartoon)

► L.A. UNIFIED CUTS SPARK PROTESTS, FINGER POINTING: In an attempt to redirect the budget ax, organizations have launched campaigns for each potential victim and rallied their members to make calls and write e-mails and letters to Supt. Ramon Cortines.
Sunday, March 29, 2009 9:09 PM
By Raja Abdulrahim | LA Times 7:19 PM PDT
Queen of Hearts: Who's been painting my roses red?
Card: Not me, your grace! The ace, the ace!
Queen of Hearts: You?
Card: No, two!
Queen of Hearts: The two, you say?
Card: Not me! The three!
March 29, 2009 — As Los Angeles Unified Supt. Ramon Cortines and the Board….

Saturday, March 28, 2009 7:21 PM
By Amanda Baumfeld, Staff Writer | San Gabriel Valley Tribune 03/28/2009 07:05:25 AM PDT -- MONTEBELLO - A lawsuit filed against Burnside & Associates accuses Councilman Robert Urteaga of fraud and breach of contract for his work on a political campaign, officials said. Benjamin Austin claims the political consulting firm misrepresented him in his race for Los Angeles Unified School Board by….

LINK to the news that didn't fit from April 5th!

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Wednesday Apr 08, 2009
South Region Elementary School #10: Pre-Demolition Meeting
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: West Vernon Elementary School - Auditorium
4312 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90037

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday April 25, 2009
The Parent Community Services Branch will sponsor the Thirteenth Annual Parent Summit and Info Tech on, Saturday April 25, 2009.
The aim is to engage and inform parents and community regarding current educational initiatives and programs, family-school partnerships, and District resources. Workshop presenters will include District and school site personnel with exemplary instructional, or parent involvement models.
Event occurs on 25 April , 2009
Event occurs at From 8:00 AM To 4:00 PM at the Los Angeles Convention Center
Details+Further Info: Stella Contreras/ 213-217-5272

*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 leader in LAUSD. He is immediate past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represents PTA as Vice-chair on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. He is a Community Concerns Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. He serves on various school district advisory and policy committees and has served a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools.
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