LAUSD leaders consider proposal to give groups control of new, struggling campuses

The future of more than 30 campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be decided today when district leaders consider a proposal to give a variety of groups control of new or struggling campuses.

The Los Angeles Board of Education will consider recommendations from Superintendent Ramon Cortines for the operation of the campuses under the Public School Choice program, which the board backed last year, when 85 proposals were submitted by groups interested in managing 12 low-performing schools and 24 new campuses across the district.

After several weeks of review, Cortines last week made his recommendations for each of the affected campuses – with the proposed operators including charter school companies; collaborations of parents, teacher and local district administrators; and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.

"This has been a process of inclusion, collaboration, transparency and transformation at all levels – within the staff rooms, community centers and living rooms of everyone involved," Cortines said.

The plan to allow outside groups to govern individual campuses angered some education advocates, including the teachers' union, United Teachers Los Angeles. But given the board's approval of the process, UTLA helped some groups of teachers and local school administrators submit management proposals, and some of them are among Cortines' recommended operators.

UTLA President A.J. Duffy said last week he was pleased that Cortines had recommended that the parent/teacher/administrator teams operate more than three-quarters of the 36 schools up for bid. But he called on the school board to reject the superintendent's recommendation that outside operators, such as charter school companies, be given control of some campuses.

"We want the school board members to review all the teacher/parent plans the superintendent did not recommend," Duffy said. "Local communities wrote plans. Parents made their choice. Both of these should be respected."

UTLA officials plan to hold a candlelight vigil and rally this morning outside LAUSD headquarters in advance of the 1 p.m. board meeting.

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