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

State audit on how LA Unified handles child abuse claims to be released

Protestors march near Miramonte Elementa

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The results of a state audit on how L.A. Unified handles child abuse claims will be released after an eight-month review of its reporting policies and procedures. Democratic state Assemblyman Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens requested the audit in March after two teachers at Miramonte Elementary School were arrested for lewd conduct on children and a spate of other reports followed.

The results of a state audit on how L.A. Unified handles child abuse claims is set to be released Thursday morning after an eight-month review of reporting policies and procedures in the nation's seconds-largest school district.

The request for the performance audit was put forward by Democratic state Assemblyman Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens in March and unanimously approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

Lara asked the committee to perform the audit after two teachers from Miramonte Elementary School were accused of lewd acts on children. L.A. Unified fielded a spate of increased reports after the teachers' arrests in two separate cases.

At the time, Lara said he hoped to get a "comprehensive look at what current policies are in place and identify any lapses or omissions."

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LA Unified fails to move forward as Race to the Top finalist

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy  sp

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The U.S. Department of Education has announced finalists in the Race to the Top grant competition that gives $400 million to school districts — but L.A. Unified, led by Superintendent John Deasy, won't be one.

The U.S. Department of Education announced 61 finalists today in the Race to the Top grant competition. Those that made the cut represent more than 200 public school districts — but L.A. Unified was not one.

L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy submitted the application for $40 million in federal dollars earlier this month without the required signature of support from UTLA.

Four California districts were named finalists: Green Dot Public Schools: Animo Leadership Charter High School, in Lennox; Galt Joint Union School District, near Stockton; Lindsay Unified School District, east of Tulare; and New Haven Unified School District, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other finalists included New York City Public Schools, Boston Public Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education plans to make 15 to 25 of the four-year awards ranging from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of the students served.

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Financially troubled charter school company says finances now in order

Mercer 7348

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An elementary school student does work at her desk

Two years after it almost closed 14 Los Angeles-area schools, ICEF Public Schools says it’s on a stable financial footing.

A $700,000 donation saved the nonprofit from closing schools that serve 4,500 students. The ICEF in its name stands for Inner City Education Foundation.

After that donation, the nonprofit’s founder stepped down as chief executive, and the company cut 100 jobs. ICEF’s financial troubles were a big concern among parents in Inglewood and South L.A., whose children flock to the ICEF schools as an alternative to other low-performing public schools in the area.

ICEF continued to have money problems. One of its schools reportedly closed for a day because administrators hadn’t paid rent on the building. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times reported that ICEF paid out $1.4 million to settle three harassment claims against high-profile music director Fernando Pullum.

The financial turnaround, ICEF officials say, is the result of a two-year effort to stabilize the finances. The nonprofit’s administrators say they’ll release details later this week.

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LAUSD Superintendent to ask board to restore lost week of instruction

School Shooting

Nick Ut/AP

After the passage of Prop. 30, Superintendent John Deasy will ask the L.A. Unified school board Tuesday to restore all furlough days and the week of instruction cut from this school year.

Now that Proposition 30 has passed, Superintendent John Deasy will ask the L.A. Unified school board Tuesday to erase teacher furlough days and restore the week of instruction that had been cut from this school year.

During the summer, the district's unions agreed to take 10 furlough days to save millions in payroll costs and to save jobs. According to the agreement, teachers lost five days of instruction, one of two pupil-free days used for professional development, and four paid non-work days, district officials said.

"With their strong support of Proposition 30, the voters of Los Angeles County made it clear they want the LAUSD to do what's best for our youth. Restoring the full calendar and keeping our employees in the schools is a pivotal step in this effort," Deasy said in a statement released Friday.

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Prop. 30: Fielding questions about income tax

Income Tax Form

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A "Concerned Citizen" wants to know more details on how Prop. 30's retroactive change to income tax affects him. Will he be penalized for inaccurate withholdings?

I've received email from a few people concerned about what Prop. 30 means for them. Here's one that I'll share following Wednesday's post on "Prop. 30 has passed, but how do you pay retroactive taxes?"

Hi Tami,

What about individuals like myself who are high-income W2 wage earners and have their state income taxes withheld via each paycheck? I don’t pay quarterlys! I will have underreported with a possible penalty! Mr. Chamberlain didn’t address that! But my guess is that he will be so gracious and not charge a penalty. What if I don’t have that extra cash sitting around?
 
Concerned Citizen 

***

Jay Chamberlain got in touch with the Franchise Tax Board on this one, to make sure we had the right answer. Indeed, the same waiver without penalty applies to the withholding issue as it does for an estimated payment, Chamberlain said. When there's a law change that affects taxes within the same year, the state can waive the additional money that would go into that estimated payment without a penalty — along with the money that would go toward withholdings, Chamberlain said.

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