With a shortfall of public funding now lost, in the area of hundreds of millions of dollars from such proven ill-advised contracts for iPads, MiSiS software, and other areas of questionable expenditures, plus the many Miramonte and other law suits pressed and settled against LAUSD which we do not hear enough about, the interim Superintendent Cortines must have an educated, dedicated, activist Board to work with to turn this foundering district around.
At this moment in time, LAUSD Finger Tip Facts (published online by LAUSD) reports that there are 27,263 working full time teachers, which is 550 less than last year. However, it would appear that there are now 71 more administrators than last year. So the District is now operating, it would seem, with an increase of administrators rather than an increase of teachers for the approximately 900,000 students including Adult Ed. How do they rationalize this hiring pattern?
With about 59,000 teaching and administrative employees now serving the second largest school district in the nation with a budget of over $7 Billion a year, does it make sense to have all these high paid middle managers around the county (often creating chaos as we have seen the past few years seemingly due to lack of oversight), and including those housed at the huge LAUSD monument on Beaudry Street? Is this where the taxpayers want their funding to go instead of hiring back well trained teachers in order to reduce the detrimentally large student population stuffed into classrooms often now holding 52 students instead of the 30 the were designed to hold?
Schools and students are suffering from the filth in dilapidated schools with cockroaches and overflowing toilets, but no janitors on duty. Also, children who have health problems have no school nurse to minister to their needs, but rather are being given meds and shots by untrained and unlicensed support staff who recognize how inappropriate this is, but fear for their jobs.
Then there is the issue of librarians! All current research points to how important for children from pre K onward to develop language arts by reading and writing, and direct conversation. Librarians filled this role as both credentialed teachers and in library science. Most were fired due to cost cutting. Clearly is appears that public schools do not need all the nepotism of hiring often ill trained and unnecessary middle managers who spend no time at classroom teaching. Do taxpayers want money spent on this too prevalent dead wood, or on teachers, nurses, librarians, janitors, and support staff?
It will be the incoming four BoE members, joining the other three, who will be making most of the decisions on these vital questions.
1. District 1, now represented by George McKenna, a lifetime teacher/administrator/superintendent, now faces the challenger, charter school proponent Daymond R. Johnson, who seems a clone of charter school advocate Alex Johnson who lost to McKenna previously.
2. District 3, Tamar Galatzan, a lawyer, who faces six challengers. She has been a staunch Deasy supporter. Challengers are Elizabeth B. Bartels, a business woman; Carl J. Petersen a business man who has been a vocal foe of Deasy; Filiberto Gonzalez, a parent/professor; Ankur Patel, as teacher/entrepreneur, Scott M. Schmerelson, a retired teacher/administrator, and Mario Burrell, a teacher.
3. District 5, now represented by Bennett Kayser, a lifetime teacher. His challengers are: Andrew Thomas, an educator/parent; Ref Rodriguez, founder of a charter school group; James C. O’Gabhann III, a teacher; and Benjamin L. Jimenez, an LA store keep.
4. District 7, now represented by BoE president, Richard Vladovic, a lifetime teacher and administrator is challenged by Euna Anderson, a principal/adjunct professor; and Lydia A. Gutierrez, an elementary teacher who ran unsuccessfully for State Superintendent and is said to represent the views of the Tea Party.
This is quite a list of challengers to sitting members and they represent many points of view. It is imperative that voters all do their homework on each candidate, and support their choices openly. We have seen the influx of the huge donations to school board elections by billionaires, both in state and out of state, seeking to privatize our public schools for investment profits, so it is incumbent upon all LAUSD taxpayers, parents, and community members, to not be influenced by the big money manipulators, and to vote for the valid proponents of public education.
Start learning who these prospective BoE members are in terms of their backgrounds and whom they really will represent. We do not need any more Eli Broad, Walton Family, Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch, etc. influence dominating LAUSD.
I'm Cynthia Liu, Owner/Founder of K12 News Network. I'm the proud product of public schools through post-grad, the mom of a child in public schools, and the daughter of two teachers. Connect with me professionally on LinkedIn.