Mayor’s Supporters Plan Victory Rally
With passage of AB1381, and signing by the Governator all but certain, the supporters of the mayor’s plan to take over the LAUSD will rally Wednesday morning at Animo High School.
The 9 am gathering will take place at the Green Dot facility, at 11100 South Western Avenue. At least a thousand parents and students are expected to attend, according to Rose Group staffer Tracy Mallozzi, who, with Laura Benetti, has been handling the public relations for Steve Barr, organizer of the Los Angeles Parents Union, and head of Green Dot charter schools.
The Parents Union announcement calls the legislation “a historic opportunity to improve Los Angeles schools by strengthening accountability and empowering parents and educators.”
Unfortunately for the supporters of mayoral takeover of our public schools, no one seems to be addressing the certain to be filed litigation, which will inevitably result in the entire legislation being thrown out by the courts. The lawyers will make a bundle, and the status quo will remain, except for moving the battle to the next round of school board elections, and a possible referendum on the proposal.
The fallout is also expected to affect politics within the Los Angeles teachers union. The current UTLA leadership endorsed the mayor’s plan after a closed door meeting with Villaraigosa a few weeks ago. The support was narrowly formalized at a mid-summer session of the UTLA House of Delegates at which almost half the members were absent.
Union president A.J. Duffy has gambled that he can persuade his troops to go along with the deal, but a petition signed by 500 teachers has forced a referendum on AB 1381 for early October. Ballot arguments will be submitted by next Tuesday, the 5th, with voting packets sent to LAUSD schools on September 20th. The count will take place October 5th.
Former president of both the Los Angeles and state teachers organizations, Wayne Johnson, says that AB 1381 recognizes that the “level of public dissatisfaction with the district has reached the boiling point.” He says that “It is important that UTLA members keep their eye on the big picture,” which includes giving teachers a greater voice in reforming the LAUSD.
The California Legislative Counsel, Diane Boyer-Vine, has already made two separate analyses which conclude that AB 1381 is contrary to the state constitution, which requires that education governing be separate from municipal government. In her most recent announcement, she wrote that the courts “would likely conclude that the authority or control over educational functions currently performed by a school district may not be transferred by statute to the mayor of a charter city.”
The LAUSD hired the Sacramento law firm, Olsen, Hagel & Fishburn to handle “governance issues.” The board is proceeding to recruit Superintendent Roy Romer’s replacement this fall without input from the mayor – which could spark a separate round of lawsuits. The executive search firm working for the board has insisted that all negotiations be kept out of the press, until the successor is announced.