Los Angeles Unified school board member Tamar Galatzan wants to spend $290,000 in bond money for computer labs for five of her San Fernando district's elementary schools. The new computers, which include a range of tablets, desktops and laptops, will come in addition to L.A. Unified's plan to equip all students with an iPad.
The request was approved by the bond oversight committee Thursday but must be approved by the school board before it can go forward.
L.A. Unified has spent about $4.5 million in bonds on computers in addition to the iPad program since 2011, according to its 2013 Strategic Execution Plan. Two thirds of that money - $3 million - is planned to be spent on Galatzan's district - the western San Fernando Valley.
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William Johnston, who was superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District during the 1970s, is urging officials to stop using bond funds to buy iPads - leading an oversight committee to take up the issue Thursday.
"I believe the current purchase of iPads with school bonds is illegal," Johnston said in a letter addressed to the chairman of the district's bond oversight committee, Steve English. "New developments and technology will make them obsolete, requiring replacement. School bonds are designed to buy property, build schools, equip schools with lasting equipment."
The committee has sided with the current administration, recommending the school board use school construction bonds to expand the iPad program. Once fully implemented, it's expected to cost $1.3 billion, most of which will be spent on upgrading wifi at schools.
Los Angeles Unified School district is proposing to cut the time that elementary students spend learning how to play musical instruments from a full school year to one semester, to serve more students across the district.
A plan by the Los Angeles Unified School District to cut the time elementary school children are taught orchestra in half is angering teachers - many of whom learned about it only after KPCC reported on the arts budget, which was released unexpectedly at a committee meeting last week.
"I think this is just such a travesty," said Kristin Vanderlip Taylor, a traveling visual arts teacher for elementary students at two schools in the district - Sylmar Leadership Academy and Roscoe Elementary. "I mean, honestly, it's not in the best interest of the students."
Traditionally, schools that get a musical instrument teacher get him or her for the full school year. Now district 0fficials want to cut that to one semester to reach more students. Each of the district's 32 traveling orchestra teachers would serve 10 elementary schools a year starting in the Fall, according to a district report.
Children who live in areas of extreme income inequality may be at higher risk for maltreatment, according to a new study from Cornell University. Based on five years of data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, researchers found children living U.S. counties where income inequality was more extreme suffered greater levels of abuse or neglect.
To be published in the March edition of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, this study charts new territory for child abuse and neglect. Previous research has examined the connections between income inequality and health and well-being, but this is the first study of how the rich-poor gap might increase child maltreatment.
The researchers said they can't say income inequality leads to abuse, rather that the two factors are related somehow. They controlled for factors such as extreme poverty, race, education levels and public assistance levels and found that as income inequality rose, so did the rate of child abuse or neglect.