Sunday, October 05, 2008


4LAKids: October 5, 2008
In This Issue:
LAUSD $ALARIES: A Two-Part Series + Three Background Sidebars and a (Pathetic) Editorial Apologia
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.
Sixteen years ago the backroom slogan of the Clinton campaign was "It's the economy, stupid."* Today, the slogan for both campaigns - "Change" and "Mavericks"; "Hockey moms" and "Joe six-packs" notwithstanding – has to be: "It's the stupid economy."

The election is a month away; the inauguration three months off. The economy - rescued and leveraged with $700 Billion in borrowing and $100 billion in colorfully titled "tax earmarks" for wooden arrow, rum and Hollywood producers - will probably make it to the election and maybe even to the next administration …when Hank Paulson can hand it off to someone else.

Governor Schwarzenegger - he of the rosy projection - is relying on selling more lottery tickets, borrowing against that good fortune, and voters voting in a way in a recession that seems counterintuitive - to balance a precarious budget. Even before that (next week maybe?) he will need to borrow $7 billion. California will run out of money later this month. School districts and cities and counties - who can usually get more favorable rates than the state - will need to be borrowing to meet their own payrolls. School construction (and other public infrastructure bonds) usually able to get the best rates will be wanting to borrow what little money's left in a credit supply already running low on capital and confidence. Gaining favorable rates in a market relies on there being a supply — in this credit market that isn't a given.

Dick Cheney famously said: "Deficits don't matter" — another thing he seems to have been exquisitely wrong about all along.

Margaret Atwood in her new non-fiction book, "Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth" argues that Debt isn't a character in the story of life - or a location ("in debt") - or even an event. It's the entire plot line - a series of circumstances interwoven into the total story that must play out before the tale can end.

That curtain ringing down? Whether it was the state budget tardily arrived at or the Wall Street/Main Street rescue plan thrown like a life ring into the maelstrom — that was the simply end of an act and there will be no intermission.

Places everyone.

Is it comedy, tragedy or farce? How many acts are there? (There are normally five acts in a Shakespeare play.) Scripted or improv? What if it's a soap opera?

Curtain up.

…and ¡Onward/Hasta adelante! -smf

* James Carville's actual dictum had three points:
1. Change vs. more of the same
2. The economy, stupid
3. Don't forget health care
Not much has changed.

● "Los Angeles Unified School District Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly said her bigger concern is that the state may run out of cash at the end of October - as the governor and state treasurer have warned - and be unable to borrow money for short-term cash flow."

● "That would cut funding for schools and force LAUSD to borrow money in the current frozen or expensive market to make payroll and other expenses."

►SCHWARZENEGGER TO U.S.: STATE MAY NEED $7-BILLION LOAN: In a letter obtained by The Times, the governor warns that tight credit has dried up funds California routinely relies on and it may have to seek emergency aid within weeks.

By Marc Lifsher and Evan Halper | Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

October 3, 2008 -- SACRAMENTO — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, alarmed by the ongoing national financial crisis, warned Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson on Thursday that the state might need an emergency loan of as much as $7 billion from the federal government within weeks.

The warning comes as California is close to running out of cash to fund day-to-day government operations and is unable to access routine short-term loans that it typically relies on to remain solvent.

The state of California is the biggest of several governments nationwide that are being locked out of the bond market by the global credit crunch. If the state is unable to access the cash, administration officials say, payments to schools and other government entities could quickly be suspended and state employees could be laid off.

Plans by several state and local governments to borrow in recent days have been upended by the credit freeze. New Mexico was forced to put off a $500-million bond sale, Massachusetts had to pull the plug halfway into a $400-million offering, and Maine is considering canceling road projects that were to be funded with bonds.

California finance experts say they know of no time in recent history when the state has sought an emergency loan of this magnitude from the federal government. The only other such rescue was in 1975, they said, when the federal government lent New York City money to avoid bankruptcy.

"Absent a clear resolution to this financial crisis," Schwarzenegger wrote in a letter Thursday evening e-mailed to Paulson, "California and other states may be unable to obtain the necessary level of financing to maintain government operations and may be forced to turn to the federal treasury for short-term financing."

The letter, obtained by The Times, came on the eve of a vote by the House of Representatives on a $700-billion rescue package, but it was too soon to know how the package would affect the nation's paralyzed credit markets. The Senate approved the so-called rescue bill Wednesday night.

A top Schwarzenegger aide followed up the letter with a call to the Treasury secretary Thursday night. Treasury Department officials could not be reached for comment.

It's customary for California to borrow billions of dollars at the start of the fiscal year to fill its coffers until the usual flood of sales tax receipts comes in after Christmas and income tax receipts arrive in the spring.

"California is so large that our short cash-flow needs exceed the entire budget of some states," Schwarzenegger wrote.

The cash needs to be in the state's bank account by Oct. 28 to be available to fund a scheduled $3-billion payment to more than 1,000 school districts.

Said Matt David, Schwarzenegger's communications director: "California faces the potential of a perfect storm created by the financial crisis' effect on liquidity, lower-than-anticipated revenues currently coming into the state, and our late budget. The governor is taking steps to prepare for this scenario to ensure that the state can make critical payments."

But those payments won't be forthcoming if the state can't do routine borrowing. For now, "the window is shut, and if it stays shut, we are in deep trouble," said an administration official, who asked not to be identified, citing the sensitive talks with Washington.

Quick passage of the rescue bill by the House of Representatives today and a signature by President Bush could inject more money into the international financial system and allow California to borrow at a reasonable interest rate, the official said.

But there are no guarantees that the economic recovery plan before Congress will succeed, said California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who has been working with Schwarzenegger to keep the state solvent.

Asking the federal government for a loan "is one option on the table," said Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Lockyer. The treasurer, he added, is working with outside financial advisors on a possible emergency plan to sell short-term debt notes to the U.S. government. Lockyer believes that such a plan is both feasible and legal, Dresslar said.

"I don't think we have ever gone to the feds," said Fred Silva, senior fiscal policy advisor with California Forward, a state budget think tank.

Silva said the closest California came may have been in the days after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, when at the request of the state, Washington sped up payment of federal funds that the state was owed.

State officials now fear they face a potential cash crisis worse than California confronted in 2003, in the final days of Schwarzenegger's predecessor, Gov. Gray Davis.

At that time, the precipitous decline of state revenue in the middle of a budget year forced officials to pay a syndicate of banks a premium of hundreds of millions of dollars for what amounted to an expensive "payday loan."

Even that option, administration officials say, would not be available during the current credit drought. They say if Congress does not approve a bailout plan -- and maybe even if it does -- there will be no lenders available to provide the state with the money it needs, regardless of the premium the state is willing to pay.

"We need to go as wide as possible to try to find buyers at reasonable rates," said Robert Fayer, an attorney advising the state on its planned $7-billion bond sale.

"Whether it could ultimately be the federal government, I have no idea. It is a fairly radical concept."



By Kerry Cavanaugh, Staff Writer | Daily News

October 3 - If the House rejects the $700 billion bailout plan today, (they didn't - smf) California and local governments might have to postpone voter-approved road, school and other projects for lack of money.

Turmoil in the financial markets has made it difficult and expensive for government agencies to sell bonds that generate the cash needed to pay for large-scale construction projects.

In a letter to Congress, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urged action on a bailout plan, warning that the state won't be able to fund highway, school, housing and water projects in the current financial climate.

"It's now very clear that the financial crisis on Wall Street is affecting California - its businesses, its citizens' daily lives and its state government's ability to obtain financing to pay for critical services," Schwarzenegger wrote.

California voters approved an unprecedented $42 billion in bonds in 2006 to pay for projects ranging from freeway upgrades to new schools to flood control levees. In addition, dozens of earlier bonds for parks, water projects and other public facilities still need to be sold. The state had been planning to sell an estimated $2billion in bonds in November.

Besides issuing bonds, the state also borrows short-term cash from Wall Street to meet normal operating needs before tax revenue starts flowing to state coffers.

But state Treasurer Bill Lockyer warned Thursday that state and local governments have been shut out of credit markets for the last 10 days.

"That means the state's cash reserves would be exhausted near the end of October," Lockyer said.

If that happens, it would be another blow to those who depend on state funding, only weeks after the end of a recordlong budget impasse that delayed state payments for 85 days.

In Los Angeles, government agencies hope that congressional approval of a bailout plan will stabilize shaky markets, encourage new lending and let them proceed with planned infrastructure projects.

With the tight credit markets, money for municipal bonds has dried up, said Edward De La Rosa, president of the investment banking firm De La Rosa & Co.

"A lot of people are waiting on the sidelines," he said.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is planning to sell $550 million of bonds in November to upgrade its power system, including new power poles, circuits and transmission lines. Should the credit crunch continue, the utility would consider postponing the work.

"Our hope is that the market will regain its liquidity and will start to flow again by the time we issue our next set of revenue bonds," DWP General Manager H. David Nahai said. "But nobody has a crystal ball."

The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to sell bonds in November to pay for voter-approved school construction and maintenance projects, but Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly said the district will delay if market conditions are poor.

Her bigger concern is that the state may run out of cash at the end of October - as the governor and state treasurer have warned - and be unable to borrow money for short-term cash flow.

That would cut funding for schools and force LAUSD to borrow money in the current frozen or expensive market to make payroll and other expenses.

"When we don't get cash from the state we have to cover it in market transactions, and that's not a good thing," Reilly said.

L.A. county officials said Thursday the county is well-positioned to withstand the financial crisis.

Schwarzenegger's letter

By George B. Sánchez, Staff Writer | LA Daily News

October 2 - Expecting huge cuts in funding from the new state budget, Los Angeles Unified officials recently learned they will get back about $165 million more than they anticipated.

The district is still facing a cut of $188 million from the budget signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week. But officials last month had expected to lose $353 million.

Now they have to figure out what programs to restore with the additional funds.

Most of the money is for special programming, such as small classes, but it remains unclear how much will go back to the classroom and when.

"That's a major question for dealing with negotiations and the budget shortfall we have," said Senior Deputy Superintendent Ray Cortines.

The president of the district's teachers union has a suggestion:

"They should spend it on their teachers and health-and-human-services employees," said A.J. Duffy, head of United Teachers Los Angeles.

The district's original plan for $353 million in cuts included work furloughs by district teachers and $140.6 million taken from categorical funding, which includes adult education, after-school programs, class- size reduction, and more than a dozen other programs.

"Categorical programs are usually directed to schools for helping poor kids," said Stephen Rhoads, a lobbyist for the LAUSD.

Schwarzenegger's earlier budget proposal had included a cut of 6.5 percent to categorical funds, but that money was restored in the final budget.

Now Cortines said district Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly will look at how general funds can be redistributed.

Cortines is looking to relieve the unpaid days off expected of LAUSD staffers, which he called an unfair measure to balance the budget on the backs of employees.

The UTLA has assailed the district for its growth of administrator costs and the wage disparity between district bureaucrats and teachers.

"We're going to pursue an aggressive stance on how that money should be spent," Duffy said.

In a recent analysis, the Daily News found that the LAUSD's bureaucracy ballooned nearly 20 percent from 2001 to 2007. During that same period, 500 teaching positions were cut and enrollment dropped by 6 percent.

The district has approximately 4,000 administrators, managers and other nonschool-based employees, ex- cluding clerks and office workers, whose average salary is about $95,000.

About 2,400 administrators are among the 3,478 LAUSD employees who earn more than $100,000 annually. The average teacher salary is $63,000.

Though the unexpected funding provides some relief, Reilly said, it doesn't fully cover the cost of 20:1 class ratios in elementary and high schools.

Already, there are dire predictions for the next budget and Reilly said the small classes will not continue next year.

"In 2009, our classes are going from 20 to 29," she said, adding that no one expects a cost-of-living increase next year.

"The train wreck is in 2009-2010."

●●smf's 2¢: The forgoing story exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding by the reporter of the local budget process and the state budget process as it just played out.
• First: There WERE "huge cuts in funding from the new state budget."
• Second: Every dollar of the "$165 million more than they anticipated" was fought for tooth-and-claw by school district and student advocates including the superintendent, school board members, district lobbyists, parents and yours truly in the halls of Sacramento.
These Categorical funds are specifically targeted for special education, English language learners, low income, homeless and other challenged populations - of which LAUSD has more than any other school district in gross numbers and percentages. This is not "found money" or an unexpected windfall - it is continuing funding for existing programs targeted to the needs of children who desperately need it. To spend it in any other way - say for teachers' raises - would be fraud. A.J. Duffy, a former Special Ed teacher, knows this full well.

"Water is power." - William Mulholland
…if he didn't say it he should've!

"Basically (the DWP) ripped off a number of agencies. It was a political move. This way the City Council gets more money to spend on their special projects. This takes money away from the schools, the colleges, the Highway Patrol." - California Attorney General Jerry Brown

●●smf's 2¢: The history of L.A. is the story of the DWP. Robert Towne got that in his screenplay of "Chinatown" - which fictionalized the unbelievable and made a story about water and raw power a story about raw sex, water and power.

The DWP has long been a cash cow for City Hall, exchanging the butter and cream for unbridled and unaccountable autonomy. Past is prologue in the two stories below - setting a corner of the battleground between City Hall, DWP General Manager Nahai and DWP Commission President Patsaouras - who proposes new direction and new accountability for the Department. A round of that battle, about water and power rates, the LAUSD discount and a Rate Payers Advocate will be fought on Tuesday.

Nick Patsaouras, President of the Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners, will introduce a motion regarding an Independent Rate Payers Advocate at the DWP Board meeting next Tuesday, October 7 at 1:30 at DWP headquarters at 111 North Hope Street. - free parking is available. The cancellation of the LAUSD discount is also on the agenda.

MAKE SURE YOU AND OTHER RATE PAYING STAKEHOLDERS HAVE A VOICE AT THE TABLE. If use water in the City of LA - if your computer, tungsten or compact florescent lightbulb, microwave or plug-in hybrid gets its electricity in L.A. - or if you work in or send a child to an LAUSD school, or if your state tax helps pay for education in LA - you're a rate paying stakeholder. - smf

By Kerry Cavanaugh, Staff Writer | Daily News

Sept. 30, 2008 -- Los Angeles schools will pay as much as $3 million more a year for electricity starting Wednesday when a long-standing agreement for reduced power rates expires.

Los Angeles Unified School District officials said they've tried to persuade the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to continue the 5 percent discount on electricity, but the utility has said no.

"At a time when the ratepayers of Los Angeles are subject to a rate increase, to give a straight, arbitrary 5 percent reduction is not the desirable way to go," said DWP General Manager H. David Nahai.

Nahai said the utility is willing to provide incentives for solar and energy efficiency so the district can lower its electricity costs.

But LAUSD board member Tamar Galatzan said the utility should be willing to cut a deal with the school district. "We're a huge customer and most businesses give huge customers a discount and incentives," she said. "In addition to the budget hit from Sacramento, that's another unexpected expense that the district is going to have to figure out a way to manage."

The DWP has given the LAUSD and about 30 other large customers a 5 percent discount for the past 10 years. The contract with the LAUSD expires today.

The contract was controversial because it prohibited the LAUSD from generating its own power by installing solar panels. That has frustrated environmentalists and some school officials who saw an opportunity to generate clean power from school roofs.

Now, the district has a major school-construction program and a plan to install solar photovoltaic panels on school facilities to generate as much as 50 megawatts of power by 2012.

LAUSD officials said they had hoped the DWP would be willing to make a deal - continue the electricity discount and offer more incentives for solar - in order to help the utility meet its goal of generating 20 percent of its power from renewable, green sources by 2010.

"We're offering something of value to DWP that no other customer can offer," said Randy Britt, director of sustainability initiatives at the district. "We're offering them the initiative to install megawatts of solar in their service territory, which would go through to renewable service standard." The agencies are to meet today.

From the archives: Date: Jun 13, 2007
Publication: Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Byline: Kerry Cavanaugh - Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power overcharged the school district, county and other government agencies for more than a decade and now must return more than $220 million, a judge has ruled.

Six government entities sued in 2000, saying that under state law the DWP can only charge them for the cost of producing the electricity they use -- less than what the utility had billed them.

Among their concerns was that the DWP was overcharging them and using the funds to essentially subsidize the city budget through an annual transfer that this year totals $185 million.

In his ruling Monday, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge John P. Wade agreed that the DWP ignored state law and he ordered the utility to refund $222 million in overcharges from 1997 through 2006.

"Basically (the DWP) ripped off a number of agencies," said California Attorney General Jerry Brown. "It was a political move. This way the City Council gets more money to spend on their special projects. This takes money away from the schools, the colleges, the Highway Patrol."

Brown's office joined the lawsuit on behalf of state agencies in Los Angeles that were overcharged $31 million by the DWP.

The ruling is a significant loss for the DWP -- and potentially Los Angeles ratepayers -- if the utility has to dip into its savings to repay the public agencies named in the judgment.

But DWP officials said they will appeal, and they disputed the judge's ruling and assertions that the utility was bilking customers.

"We are a public agency. We're a municipal utility. We're not a profit- making entity," said Board of Water and Power Commission President H. David Nahai, adding that the DWP's rates are among the lowest in the state.

"The suggestion that we were somehow engaging in profiteering is offensive."

Nahai called the ruling preliminary.

"Immediately, we don't think it will have an impact," he said. "If the courts ultimately determine that DWP has to pay these amounts, we'll abide by the courts' decision."

The $222 million would be a one-time payment. Last year former Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, passed legislation that allows the DWP to maintain its current rates for public-agency customers.

If the decision is upheld, the payment could have a one-time effect on the DWP's annual cash transfer to the city's general fund.

"Because this affects a proprietary agency, any effects on the city budget are limited," said Thomas Saenz, counsel to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Still, attorney Eric Havian, who represented the six agencies that sued the DWP, said the judge's ruling appears to limit how much the utility can charge its public customers going forward.

In particular, the judge prohibited the DWP from charging its public-agency customers for the power revenue transfer to the city's general fund, an annual cash hand-over worth $185 million this year.

Public-agency customers had complained that the DWP ratepayers are essentially being taxed and subsidizing city government through the transfer.

"You're not allowed to charge more for electricity and then turn around and use it for parks and the city budget. The law requires you to be very straightforward about that," Havian said.

Los Angeles Unified School District board member David Tokofsky has battled the city over the DWP reimbursement and said Tuesday he was pleased with the ruling.

"I hope that City Hall will not pursue its fantasies of appealing, and instead dedicate these resources immediately to the families and children of LAUSD, the county, UCLA, and the other educational and public agencies victorious in this litigation," he said.

Last year, the DWP tentatively agreed to pay $900,000 to the LAUSD under a proposed settlement over a similar lawsuit related to water rates.

LAUSD General Counsel Kevin Reed said he hoped the two agencies could settle again rather than pursue an appeal.

"But once we get this money, it's general fund money. It goes straight to the classroom," he said.

Under the ruling, the DWP will have to pay roughly:
• $95 million to Los Angeles Unified School District
• $45 million to Los Angeles County
• $39 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
• $31 million to California state agencies
• $8 million to the Los Angeles Community College District and
• $5 million to the University of California, Los Angeles.

LAUSD $ALARIES: A Two-Part Series + Three Background Sidebars and a (Pathetic) Editorial Apologia
Last Sunday the Daily News published a database containing the names, job descriptions and salaries of every LAUSD employee. 4LAKids supports Openness, Oversight, Accountability and Sunshine - but abhors this violation of employee privacy. Attorneys, media ethicists and hand-wringing editorial boards have agonized over this and have bravely done the wrong thing because it was legal …and because - in the guise of the public's right to know - might sell papers+advertising.

The DN in the past has led a charge against supposedly overcompensated District consultants and contractors. Yet those workers remain beyond the curtain - their contracts and remuneration undisclosed.

The public has not been served. There is no upside to the teachers at a school knowing what all the other teachers make in salary. There is no upside to the parents at a school knowing which teacher makes more or less money than their child's teacher. This information could've been shared without naming names. I am human: of course I have looked up the names of those I consider to be the most incompetent pen pushers, bean counters and space occupiers in LAUSD to see what the going rate for absolute incompetence is these days. And it is a sad number compared to what excellence and diligence pays …or the going rate for promise.

Life is not fair; I already knew that …and I suspect you suspected as much.

If I subscribed to the DN (I don't) I'd cancel my subscription.

Make your feelings known: Send your responses to DN Executive Editor Carolina Garcia (salary unknown) or call 818-713-3719 - smf

The entire sad exercise and the salary database is available - beginning at the link below.
SEARCH: LAUSD Salaries Database
PART 1 - LAUSD administration swells 20 percent from 2001 to 2007
PART 2 - Despite cutbacks, students thrive at Cleveland High in Reseda
▼ Beaudry building in downtown L.A. a pricey place for LAUSD personnel
▼ How does the LAUSD compare on salaries?
▼UTLA members threatening a strike
▼ Gathering the information on LAUSD salary review was a step-by-step process
▼ Fairness played a key role in publishing LAUSD salaries
▼EDITORIAL: Administrative bloat


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
By Melissa Pamer, Staff Writer | Daily Breeze
5 October 2008 --Los Angeles Unified has broken the rules, and San Pedro resident James Campeau is challenging its bureaucracy in an attempt to hold the school district accountable.
The site of his frustration -- and of LAUSD's transgression - is Point Fermin Elementary School, which encroaches about 25 feet onto Los Angeles city property, a few blocks from Campeau's home.

Ron Kaye, former Daily News editor - a self-confessed anarchist who in the past seemed more wrong than right but now seems to be coming around (….or maybe 4LAKids is coming around …?) writes about his Saving LA Project (SLAP)/"Our LA":
The effort to create a community-based movement to change the political culture of Los Angeles and reform City Hall is making steady progress.

... and the linked to video has two of them!
Check this out if the LAUSD firewall saved you from the original posting!

►It’s about the money #1 - LOS ANGELES CHARTER SCHOOL GROUP HAS BIG PLANS FOR SOUTH L.A.: Inner City Education Foundation aims to expand from 13 campuses to 35 in eight years.
By Mitchell Landsberg | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 1, 2008 -- On its face, it's an ambitious plan: Expand one of Southern California's biggest charter groups from 13 to 35 schools in eight years until it becomes, in effect, the second-largest district in South Los Angeles.
But that's just the beginning.
Mike Piscal, the hard-charging founder of the Inner City Education Foundation, has a far more audacious goal than that. As he sees it, the expansion plan he is announcing today will lead to nothing less than the transformation of South L.A. "into a stable, economically vibrant community."

By Steven Rosenberg | Staff writer LA Daily News
October 1, 2008 -- With jobs like mortgage broker, investment banker, stock analyst and others that once looked solid - and profitable - suddenly looking not so good in the wake of America's looming financial difficulties, a Daily News Special Report revealed what most of us already know despite heavy doses of conventional wisdom to the contrary.

►SCHOOLS TEACHING HIGHER NUMBERS OF HOMELESS STUDENTS: School districts around the country are learning how to cope with more homeless students in their classrooms.
by Lindsey Chapman |
Lindsey joined findingDulcinea in June of 2007. Previously, she worked for three years at an investment research firm, where she studied the energy industry, the stock market, and managed a small writing team. Lindsey also spent a short time as a legal assistant. She has a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Montana.

by Eric Sondheimer - in LA Times City Section blog
In a big boost to City Section schools, the Los Angeles Unified School District has set aside $2.4 million to start reimbursing schools for expenses for officials and security at sporting events.

LA Times Homeroom Blog 29 Sept./Print Edition 30 Sept.
In another sign of the nation's economic woes, fall 2009 freshman are being urged to apply early to California State University.
The application window opens this Wednesday. Because of state budget shortfalls, the system will not be able to absorb as much growth in enrollment as usual, officials said Monday, so laggards risk losing out on the campuses of their choice.

►READING SHOULDN’T BE A NUMBERS GAME: Applying numerical ratings to books does nothing to help kids read better.
Opinion by Regina Powers | LA Times
September 30, 2008 -- School has started. I can tell because frazzled parents drag their embarrassed children up to the reference desk at my library to ask, "Where are the fifth-grade books? We need a 5.6 level that's worth at least 7 points."
I avoid frustrating both parties with an explanation of how the Dewey decimal system works, and ask the child, "What do you like to read?" The response from both adult and child is all too often a blank expression.

►SIDE BY SIDE: McCain & Obama 0n Education
from the campaign websites…
McCain on Education | Obama on Education

By Alyson Klein | Education Week
September 29, 2008 -- The result of the presidential election will likely help determine how much money education programs receive in the 2009 federal fiscal year, which begins this week. But a multi-billion-dollar federal plan to assist the financial markets may leave the next president with very little room for major increases for K-12 schools, perhaps for the foreseeable future.
Congress late last week approved a bill extending funding for most education programs and other parts of the federal budget at fiscal 2008 levels through March 6, when the new administration will have been in office for more than a month.

►JOHNSON COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL MOVES TO HOLLYWOOD: The South L.A. school gives troubled students a last chance. Staffers fear relocation will undermine its mission.
story By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 29, 2008 - For years, Johnson Community Day School has been the second, third or last chance for students kicked out of other middle and high schools. And many have thrived in a setting with small classes, counseling and close supervision to overcome truancy, drug use or brushes with the law.
But now Johnson itself is being booted.

LA Times | From the Associated Press
September 29, 2008 -- ST. LOUIS — St. Louis is looking for its eighth school superintendent since 2003. Kansas City, Mo., is on its 25th superintendent in 39 years.
Despite good salaries and plenty of perks, a recent study found that the average urban superintendent nationwide stays on the job only about three years -- which educators say isn't enough time to enact meaningful, long-lasting reform.

Crises create heroes. Clearly, the time has come to abandon the notion that “Superhero” leaders are the solution to all of our ills. Change can only occur with the buy-in of those involved in creating and carrying it out.
"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with." Admiral William Frederick (Bull) Halsey Jr.
by Susan Tave Zelman, Ph.D. Superintendent of Public Instruction Ohio Department of Education Columbus, OH and Christopher T. Cross Chairman, Cross & Joftus, LLC Danville, CA from the Winter 2008 / Volume 4, No. 4 JOURNAL OF SCHOLARSHIP & PRACTICE of the AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

By George B. Sanchez, Staff Writer | LA Daily News
Sept 28, 2008 - NORTH HOLLYWOOD - There is a hidden garden near the intersection of the 101 and 170 freeways.

• LAUSD teachers threaten strike
from KABC-TV Online
• UTLA declares impasse in contract negotiations - No more District stalling!
Published on United Teachers Los Angeles website

The news that doesn't fit from October 5th

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Monday Oct 6, 2008

Ceremony starts at 10 a.m.

Helen Bernstein High School
1309 N. Wilton Pl. - Sunset Boulevard & The Hollywood Freeway at the former Metromedia Studios site.
Hollywood, CA 90028

*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 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 is a PTA officer and/or governance council member at three LAUSD schools.
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