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

Cal State administrators accused of crossing line in Prop. 30 advocacy

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Members of the California Faculty Association at a protest last year. The California State University trustees want to warn students that enrollment and other cuts are likely if voters do not approve an education tax increase on November's ballot.

People fired off a lot of gun analogies at the California State University board of trustees meeting on Tuesday.

Cal State system chancellor Charles Reed told members of CSU’s finance committee that the university needs to raise undergraduate tuition by 5% in case Proposition 30 – a tax increase for education measure – fails at the polls in November.

“There is an automatic trigger and nobody has to do anything. It gets pulled midnight November 6th. The Department of Finance will notify the CSU that we will need to cut our budget an additional $250 million,” Reed said.

To dodge that bullet, Reed said, the university needs to raise revenue with tuition increases.

“I figure, if they can have a trigger, we can have a trigger.”

If Prop. 30 wins, Cal State roll back a nine percent tuition increase that hundreds of thousands of students have had to pay starting this semester. But the 15 Cal State Trustees and the presidents of the 23 campuses - a ready force of high caliber campaign workers – must adhere to limits on how strongly they can advocate for the ballot measure.

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California Department of Education to take over Inglewood Unified, district on verge of bankruptcy

The Inglewood Unified School District today became the first Southland school district in nearly 20 years to lose local control over its ballooning budget deficit.
 
California Governor Jerry Brown today approved an emergency loan of $55 million to Inglewood Unified School District to keep it from going bankrupt. The move triggers an immediate takeover of the school district’s administration, said Inglewood-area State Senator Rod Wright.
 
“We will have a quality education for the city of Inglewood and the Inglewood Unified School District, that is our goal, that we will achieve by any means necessary. And if it required having a state takeover that is what we had to do,” Wright said.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said his office will work with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to appoint an overseer for the district. “The governor’s action was necessary to keep Inglewood’s public schools operating and serving students despite the district’s extreme financial difficulties,” Torlakson said in a written statement.

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Loan from California averts bankruptcy for Inglewood Unified

The Inglewood Unified School District today became the first Southland school district in nearly 20 years to lose local control over its ballooning budget deficit.
 
Governor Jerry Brown today approved an emergency loan of $55 million to the Inglewood district to keep it from going bankrupt. The move triggers an immediate takeover of the school district’s administration, said Inglewood-area State Senator Rod Wright.
 
“We will have a quality education for the city of Inglewood and the Inglewood Unified School District, that is our goal, that we will achieve by any means necessary. And if it required having a state takeover that is what we had to do,” Wright said.
 
Inglewood Unified’s elected school board and its superintendent will lose their decisionmaking authority. California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction will appoint an overseer who will assume the their responsibilities. Inglewood Unified’s board had taken budget cutting measures in recent months that members said could help them prevent bankruptcy.
 
Wright said a combination of the bad economy, budget cuts from Sacramento, and poor budget decisions by the board led to the school district’s situation.

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Georgia team meets with LA officials to reform school discipline

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LA officials are meeting with a team from an Atlanta suburb that has pioneered methods to reduce on-campus arrests, in hopes of creating a similar, more holistic system to deal with misbehaving students. (Sept. 13, 2012)

Los Angeles school, law enforcement and county officials are meeting Thursday with a team from an Atlanta suburb that pioneered methods to reduce on-campus arrests. They hope to create a similar, more holistic system to deal with misbehaving students.

Rather than focusing on punishment, these methods focus on looking at bad behavior as a symptom in kids, who are still mentally and emotionally developing, and trying to deal with the root causes of their actions. 

The technical assistance team is headed by Judge Steven Teske of Clayton County, Georgia, who has worked on changing the response to low-level juvenile offenses since 2003. He has helped officials in counties across the country drop their arrest rates. In his own county, Teske's efforts dropped the fighting offenses in schools by 87 percent between 2002 and 2010; graduation rates rose by 20 percent.

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Inglewood Unified cuts employee pay 15 percent to avoid bankruptcy

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

Inglewood Unified aide Trina Hubbard was one of many district employees who urged the school board not to cut employee pay.

A lot of Inglewood Unified School District employees showed up to Wednesday night’s school board meeting. Some made lots of noise. Others were quiet. All were upset at the latest proposal to cut their pay in order to help close a $7 million budget deficit and keep the district from running out of money early next year.

Maria Lopez, a teacher at Inglewood High School, joined protesters with whistles and cow bells outside her campus auditorium where the board met. She complained that teachers already shoulder five unpaid days off this school year.

“We are taking a big pay cut in benefits and salary. We can’t afford any of these cuts,” Lopez said. By the end of the night the school board had approved the pay cut.
 
The stakes are high for Lopez and other employees as they grapple with shrinking paychecks to meet their living expenses. The stakes for the school district are arguably higher. The district’s solvency hangs in the balance. Inglewood Unified may run out of money to meet its expenses as soon as March.
 
School districts can’t declare bankruptcy. Instead, California legislators issue a bailout loan with a high price for the school district: its independence. The locally elected school board and the appointed superintendent would be stripped of their authority and a state overseer would make decisions about the district.
 
Inglewood Unified board member Arnold Butler says the pay cut proposal would go a long way toward preventing a state take over.
 
“The district is involved in a number of activities. This happens to be one of the many strategies we’re going to utilize to avoid that and to forestall any kind of takeover by the state. The state is not interested in taking us over,” Butler said.
 
The trouble is, many of the key steps toward insolvency have been set in motion. In July the district’s school board requested a state loan while saying that it could still avoid bankruptcy.
 
Earlier in the day Butler and his fellow board members met to discuss the details of state takeover.
 
The president of the Inglewood Teachers Association has welcomed a state takeover as a way to start from a clean slate. Others have said that stripping local control of the school district could make matters worse because the decision-makers wouldn’t know what the district needs.

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