So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

LAUSD goes for Race to the Top funds without union signature (Updated)

John Deasy

Nick Ut/AP

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy submitted an application for $40 million in Race to the Top funds Thursday without the support of United Teachers Los Angeles.

L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy submitted an application for $40 million in federal Race to the Top money Thursday without the support of United Teachers Los Angeles.

The grant application requires the teachers' union, school board and superintendent to sign off, but earlier this week officials said the district and union could not agree on details of the application.

Deasy submitted the application anyway, with a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking the Department of Education to consider the district for the award despite the lack of support from its union.

"It is simply wrong for the opposition of one organization -- UTLA -- to deny LAUSD the opportunity to funding that would provide tremendous benefits to our students," Deasy wrote.

L.A. Unified's 150-page application proposes a $43.3 million budget for reforms that would require $3.3 million in funds beyond the $40 million federal award. Deasy said union officials were informed that philanthropy would supply the additional money.

UTLA President Warren Fletcher said in an interview earlier this week that "a big part of the problem" was the cost. In a statement Thursday afternoon he reiterated that point.

Fletcher said the "much bigger fiscal problem" is that LAUSD would be committed to ongoing costs long after the four-year period of the grant. "Those required costs are for bureaucracy and not for classroom instruction," he said in the statement.

"Teachers and districts across the state have done the math and agree.  No other major school district in California has signed onto the grant.  Teachers in Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, and Glendale all decided the drawbacks far outweigh the benefits.   And, in at least three districts—Santa Monica-Malibu, Lancaster and Long Beach—district superintendents decided the grant was too cumbersome and problematic to pursue."

The federal government extended this week's deadline for applications because of Hurricane Sandy.

Read the letter from Superintendent John Deasy to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan here

This story has been updated.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).

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