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The pros and cons of LAUSD’s plan to decentralize into 32 networks




Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner speaks to students before a press conference at Belmont High School near downtown L.A. on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner speaks to students before a press conference at Belmont High School near downtown L.A. on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.
Kyle Stokes/KPCC

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Yesterday, the LA Times reported that the LAUSD Schools chief Austin Beutner is looking at a plan that would decentralize the district by breaking it up into 32 different networks.

The goal is to give schools more decision making power, make the bureaucracy smaller and cut down on costs. That last goal is an important one to Beutner, who has pointed to analysis that says the district is currently spending $500 million per year more than what it’s making, which would mean that funds would be gone in three to four years. The teachers union has disputed this projection. This plan would still have to be approved by the Board of Education.

What do we know about how these networks would work? Is it a good idea to decentralize LAUSD in this way? What would this mean, on the ground, for educators and students?

Guests:

Howard Blume, reporter covering education for the L.A. Times, where his recent story is “School chief's plan would divide L.A. school district into 32 networks”; he tweets @howardblume

Katie Braude, executive director of Speak Up, a grassroots parent organization  

David Tokofsky, a consultant strategist with the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents principals and other administrators working in LAUSD; former LAUSD board member and a former teacher in the district

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA, the union representing 34,000 educators and health and human service professional



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