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LA Unified's parcel tax math
L.A. Unified is hoping voters will pass a $298 parcel tax in November to help raise about $255 million annually for schools from property owners within district boundaries and improve future budget forecasts.
The district currently faces a $390 million budget shortfall. The school board approved putting the annual tax before voters for the November ballot last month.
"Sacramento cannot take this money away," said Superintendent John Deasy in his presentation to the board. "They cannot cut this fund; this fund goes directly to our schools."
Here's how the parcel tax math would work out:
Property owners within LAUSD boundaries would pay $298 annually for five years starting in 2013-14.
The $255 million in revenue is drawn from the district estimate of about 928,000 parcels within its boundaries, with about 36,000 owned by seniors, said LAUSD spokesman Thomas Waldman. Low-income seniors would be exempt from the tax, but the definition of whom this includes is still being formulated, Waldman said.
National Endowment for the Arts wants LA arts official to lead education initiatives
The National Endowment for the Arts has hired a Los Angeles County arts official to lead its education initiatives.
For more than a decade, Ayanna Hudson has led the L.A. County Arts Commission’s "Arts For All" campaign. When she started, she said, only one school district in the county had a policy and plan to improve arts education.
"We now have 50 districts in the county that are committed to implementing arts education," said Hudson. "We've worked with them to develop a policy. [...] That's about 62 percent of school districts across the county."
Hudson’s been selected to lead the NEA’s arts education branch.
She’ll be the federal agency’s most visible face on arts education and she’ll lead a grants department that awarded $13 million in grants last year to arts organizations that reach K-12 students.
Transitional kindergarten supporters find new hope
The California Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Education voted today to reject the governor's proposal to eliminate transitional kindergarten in his budget.
The party-line vote — with Democrats rejecting the governor's plan and Republicans against or absent — matches a March 13 vote by the state Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. Gov. Jerry Brown's 2012 budget proposes to save the state $224 million by pulling the plug on the new program that begins this year. Such a change, however, would require the Legislature action to change the current statute.
"It's good news for California kids, families and schools," said Democratic Sen. Joe Simitian, of Palo Alto, who authored the Kindergarten Readiness Act, which provides for the program. "...Unfortunately, I think the proposal has created a lot of anxiety and uncertainty around the state."
Activists start petition to recall LAUSD board member Monica Garcia
Critics of the proposed budget cuts at L.A. Unified have launched a drive to recall School Board president Monica Garcia, but the effort has some hurdles to overcome.
Robert Skeels, an education advocate and the man behind "Occupy LAUSD," is leading the charge.
Garcia, he says, has betrayed her constituents’ trust by targeting adult education, early education and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. The programs have all been on the chopping block in the wake of a massive LAUSD budget gap.
Recall supporters need to gather signatures from 15 percent of the registered voters in Garcia’s district — about 26,000 names.
Skeels thinks he can do it.
"The recall process is us gathering the signatures," said Skeels. "If we gather the requisite number of signatures, the officer is immediately recalled once it’s been certified by the city clerk."
Preliminary pink slip hearings for L.A. Unified teachers start Monday
The annual hearings for teachers who receive preliminary pink slips from L.A. Unified will begin Monday at California Market Center downtown.
The district sent out more than 11,700 such notices to educators last month, with roughly 9,500 including teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses for the 2012-13 school year. The notices are required by law to be sent out by March 15 each year often before budgets and their consequent impacts can be finalized.
L.A. Unified's board approved an updated 2012 budget plan last month that — without union concessions — includes major cuts to adult and early education as well as elementary arts programs to offset a $390 million budget shortfall. The plan provides no funding for its winning Academic Decathlon program, marching band and outdoor education.