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

Parents plan protest of Deasy's plans for Crenshaw High School

School Shooting

Nick Ut/AP

After months of uncertainty, the future of Crenshaw High School will likely be decided at Tuesday's  monthly L.A. Unified school board meeting.

The board will vote on whether to approve Superintendent John Deasy’s plan to convert the high school into three separate magnet schools or allow it to continue operating under the Extended Learning Cultural Model. If it passes, it also means all current staff has to reapply for jobs at the South Los Angeles school.

Parents, students and teachers say they were excluded from the decision making process, and have so far been denied a public meeting with the Superintendent. Tuesday’s meeting is their last chance to block Deasy’s plans.

Members of the Crenshaw Coalition of Parents said they’ll stage a protest and urge board members not just to reverse the school takeover, but also to increase the school’s funding to pay for more social services, college counseling and parent engagement.

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Charter school advocacy group endorse LAUSD school board candidates

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David McNew/Getty Images

Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in April.

The Coalition for School Reform --an advocate for charter schools-- has picked its horses in the three Los Angeles Unified school board races. It's placing its bets on Monica Garcia in District 2, Kate Anderson in District 4, and Antonio Sanchez in District 6.

Monica Garcia, who’s been on the school board since 2006, is defending her seat against five challengers: Annamarie Montanez, Isabel Vazquez, Abelardo Diaz and Robert Skeels. Garcia is backed by the Service Employees International Union but lost the support from the Los Angeles County Democratic Party over her support of charter schools.

Kate Anderson made a name for herself as a parent advocate. She's running against incumbent Steve Zimmer, who is endorsed by SEIU and United Teachers Los Angeles.

Antonio Sanchez is running to fill Nury Martinez’s seat, the only one not contested by an incumbent. He’s picked up support from UTLA, SEIU, and LA County Federation of Labor’s COPE Committee. The 30-year-old Sanchez faces off against Maria Cano, who favors more oversight of charter schools, teacher Monica Ratliff, and Iris Zuniga an executive for the charter school operator Youth Policy Institute.

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Kids returning from winter break will see added police patrols

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AFP/Getty Images

A student walks past a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) school bus in Los Angeles, California on February 13, 2009.

LA Unified students head back to school on Monday morning and district officials want parents to know they should expect to see a lot more police on school campuses. 

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said the increased police presence should help set parents at ease after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Among the dead were 20 children and six adults. The gunman also died in the attack.

Even before the shooting, 200 school police officers were already stationed throughout the district, including one at every high school.

To boost patrols, Deasy is drawing from LAPD, the sheriff’s department, and at least a dozen other law enforcement agencies in the county. Officials said the increased presence is not a response to any threats, rather to help reassure parents, educators and children.

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Some Miramonte sex abuse lawsuits move toward trial

Miramonte lawsuits

Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Attorneys Luis Carrillo (L) and Brian Claypool (R) talking to reporters about their clients' civil lawsuits over alleged lewd acts against Miramonte students

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Mackey on Thursday ruled that two lawyers could back out of settlement talks with the Los Angeles Unified School district over alleged abuses at Miramonte Elementary. The attorneys said the district's offers after four months were "insignificant."

The first trail has been scheduled for September 23.

The lawyers, representing students and parents who allege they were harmed by former  teacher Mark Berndt, had agreed to suspend litigation last fall. They pulled out of mediation last week and filed a motion with the court to be allowed out of the deal. 

At least 120 other cl;aims releated to Brendt's actions are still in negotiation. David Holmquist, LAUSD's lawyer, said he's been working towards resolving the pending lawsuits and hopes to spare the children the trauma of testifying in court.

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Attorneys for Miramonte kids say LAUSD is not negotiating abuse claims in good faith

Miramonte lawsuits

Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Attorneys Luis Carrillo (L) and Brian Claypool (R) talk to reporters about their clients' civil lawsuits against LAUSD over alleged lewd acts against children committed by teachers.

Lawyers representing 35 students who say they were abused by a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School want to pull out of settlement negotiations with LAUSD.

The attorneys - Luis Carrillo and Brian Claypool - said the school district is not making much of an effort to compensate the children who they said were victimized by Mark Berndt. Berndt is facing 23 criminal charges for feeding some of his students cookies laced with his own body fluids.

“We spent three full days in mediation, as did Mr. Carillo’s group of clients and I think only three offers were made and they were insignificant," Claypool said at a press conference in Pasadena.

LAUSD general counsel David Holmquist said the attorneys' complaints are unfounded.

“We have been working with counsel for all parties involved, including Mr. Claypool and Mr. Carrillo, to develop a reasonable and fair resolution process and reach resolutions that provide for the ongoing educational and health needs of the students," he said in a written statement.

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