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Recent News & Events

Recent News and Events

After 48 hours of intensive protesting and petitioning to LAUSD by LACES supporters, Superintendent Dr. Deasy announced to restore L.A.C.E.S. Title 1 funding for the school year of 2013-2014 in a response to L.A. Times reporter. Please see the LA Times article on May 20th, 2013: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-school-funding-20130520,0,2231694.story
Funding to L.A. magnet school restored


Open Letter to LAUSD Board Members and Staff
RE:  DISTRICT REFUSES TO RELEASE $300,000 2013-14 TITLE I FUNDS TO LACES
 
May 12, 2013
 
Greetings.  We are LACES parents.
 
We are both saddened and outraged that our TITLE I funding will be cut for the 2013-14 year and that LACES has been categorized at 49.63% in the DISTRICT's TITLE I FY2013-14 Ranking. We know that the DISTRICT received LACES TITLE I applications in a timely fashion but for some unstated reason has refused to count 10 student applications in our total.  If the DISTRICT would count these applications as required, LACES would, in fact, be four students above the 50% threshold.  As a result of DISTRICT'S error, LACES is losing $300,000 in TITLE I funding  and any Hold Harmless funding eligibility in 2014-15. 
 
The DISTRICT acknowledges:
 
♦          LACES applications were filed on time;
♦          DISTRICT  failed to process these applications when received prior to the deadline; 
♦          LACES met and abided by eligibility deadline;
♦          LACES meets the TITLE I eligibility criteria; and
♦          DISTRICT  is in error
 
THE DISTRICT REFUSES TO ACCOUNT FOR ERROR,
CORRECT ITS MISTAKE AND RELEASE THESE FUNDS TO LACES
 
Losing our $300,000 TITLE I funds means no nurse,  parent coordinator,  math study groups, inadequate counseling support, etc.
 
We want our situation stated on the public record and urge the DISTRICT to correct this error.  All LAUSD schools deserve adequate funding and support from the DISTRICT.  LACES has the highest ranking API score for high schools in the DISTRICT and sends almost 100 percent of our graduates to college.  Give us a break!!!!  Why has this seemingly punitive action been taken against us?  We try to do everything right and yet we face this reprehensible situation with the DISTRICT providing no remedy.
 
Like all LAUSD families and employees, we at LACES spend countless hours working to provide our children a better future, fundraising, and volunteering to  make our schools work in spite of six years of continual cutbacks we have all faced in LAUSD.  We follow the rules, vote, and pay our taxes.  We are at a loss when faced with this inexplicable and unjustifiable situation.  At your request, we all worked hard to pass Proposition 30, walking precincts, making phone calls, handing out literature, etc. to improve funding in our schools.  We need the DISTRICT to keep its end of the bargain.  LACES is legally and ethically entitled to and eligible for  these TITLE I funds.  Please correct this error and provide us access to these funds.  
 
LACES stands together with all schools in the 40-50% TITLE I FY2013-14 ranking and wants you to find a way to restore their funds as well when you address budget matters this week.  However, LACES' true ranking is greater than 50%  in the TITLE I FY2013-14 category but for the DISTRICT's error.
 
We are proud LAUSD and LACES parents.  However, We are deeply dismayed and angry that LACES has been treated so unfairly by the DISTRICT when this error is so glaring and indefensible.
 
PLEASE CORRECT ERROR AND RESTORE LACES $300,000 TITLE I FUNDS
Thank you.


Please make sure you vote on Nov 6th to let your voice heard.  For your information, a parent, Cinnia Finfer has compiled an endorsement grid, see attached file named Election Endorsements.  These are not personal opinions, we recommend you to refer to www.ballotpedia.org for background information.


Vote Yes on Proposition 30 to prevent $5 Billion in mid-year budget cuts to out schools!

Proposition 38 is not perfect, but would bring new money to our schools

For information on both ballot measures, please keep reading:
Proposition 38 details: http://www.prop38forlocalschools.org/how-it-works.aspx

The California Budget Project, which engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of improving public policies affecting the economic and social well-being of low-and middle-income Callifornians has taken the unusual step of endorsing Proposition 30.  http://www.cbp.org/pdfs/2012/120911_Proposition_30_BB.pdf.  Here's what it says about Proposition 38: http://www.cbp.org/pdfs/2012/120907_Proposition_38_BB.pdf



What happens if both ballot measures pass 


Town Hall Event on the Ballot Measures on October 16: How will the ballot measures affect LAUSD Schools? 
Cleveland High School, 8140 Vanalden Avenue, Reseda, CA 91335
Sponsored by LAUSD School Board member Tamar Glatazan, with Supt. John Deasy, guest speaker

Educate Our State is urging a Yes for Education vote on the two education ballot initiatives on the November ballot, the Governor’s Proposition 30 and Proposition 38, the PTA/Our Children Our Future initiative.  http://lacesmagnetschool.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=172050&type=d&pREC_ID=354865

How CA's education system has been defunded: http://www.cbp.org/pdfs/2011/111012_Decade_of_Disinvestment_%20SFF.pdf

League of Women Voters: http://ca.lwv.org/action/prop1211/flyer.html

California Legislative Analyst: http://www.lao.ca.gov/laoapp/ballot_source/propositions.aspx

The Title 1 Cut Is Pushing More LA Unified Schools To Go Charter - KPCC

A few months ago, the Los Angeles Unified school board approved hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts to the budgets of schools with mixed populations of middle-class and low-income students. Parents and administrators at many of those schools say that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In response, many of them want to break away from the school district by filing for independent charter status.  Click on the link to read or listen to the show.



Help LACES Fight Budget Cuts

Watch this video at http://friendsoflaces.com/blog/?p=423 and share it on Facebook and Twitter. LACES parents, students and teachers talk about the programs now on the chopping block. 



Six Urban Districts Awarded $3.5 Million Grants To Boost Student Access to AP Courses

Six big-city school districts recently were awarded $3.5 million grants from the U.S. Department of Education to expand their Advanced Placement (AP) programs. 

“Research shows that students who take challenging classes are more likely to earn a college degree,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “This program will help give more low-income students the opportunity to take advanced courses and prepare them to succeed in college and careers.”  

The six Great City School districts will receive the following amounts in 2011:

$650,000 –  Milwaukee Public Schools

$630,062 – School District of Palm Beach County

$588,975 – St. Louis Missouri School District

$584,195 –   Los Angeles Unified School District

$446,295 -  New York City Board of Education

$642,185 – Charleston County School District



School Transportation Temporary Restored -- Feb 3rd, 2012

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-school-busing-20120203,0,4896798.story

"The California Legislature restores $248 million for home-to-school transportation. Gov. Jerry Brown had eliminated school busing money after state revenues fell short of projections."




A Temporary "Safe Harbor" for 23 Schools That Lost Title 1 Fulding -- Feb 2nd, 2012

http://www.galatzangazette.com/home1/2012/2/3/a-temporary-safe-harbor-for-23-schools-that-lost-title-i-fun.html

"In an effort to dull the financial pain for 23 schools that lost Title I funding for next year, Board Member Tamar Galatzan asked Superintendent John Deasy to look into a federal safe harbor provision that would allow the District to continue to partially fund these schools for one year. On Friday, Deasy announced that such a provision does exist within the No Child Left Behind Act, and he asked for money to be allocated for them for the 2012-2013 school year."


23 School Meeting -- January 31st, 2012


Parents from LACES--Connie Boukidis; SOCES--Pam Levenstein, Alison Martin, Hooshik Bayliss-Nazarian, and Susan Rovner;  Millikan--Shana Landsburg; Dahlia Height--Katy Hickman; Hamilton--Manuel Urrutia met for a few hours at Mels Diner in valley.

 

Manuel Urrutia from Hamilton went through the budget with us on his computer. He has forwarded his info because I am sure that most of us do not realize how enormous the LAUSD budget is, but in the end how little of it actually is spent on our kids. Literally we start off with 12 billion then it immediately drops to $7 billion operating budget. Of that it goes to $3 billion which translates to about $6,000 spent on each kid. But once a lot of other expenses are deducted, it rounds out to $3,000 plus on each kid. So from $12 billion, it ends in $1.5 billion on the kids. It's hard to know and shocking where the rest of money has gone. You can download the LAUSD budget pie chart at the bottom of this page.


A parent at Millikan is pursuing a petition in the courts to require LAUSD to answer for their shortcomings. Some of the parents pointed out that perhaps we do not want to go that route.


Katy Hickman of Dahlia Heights brought the TITLE 1 proposal that Bennett Kayser has been working on which uses the threat of losing more schools to charters as one incentive to vote for a revision.  We are cautiously optimistic about a partial reinstatement taking place.

 

Since it appears that the TITLE 1 fund cut issue may come to a temporary conclusion but is not set in stone yet, we agreed to keep working on emails, letters and plan to attend the 2/14 Board meeting downtown. The other schools asked how other schools are able to reach their TITLE 1 parents since it there is a confidentiality issue.


Ms. Susan Rovner of SOCES made an excellent suggestion that we enlist the students in this whole process where they can use social media to broadcast this TITLE 1 issue through the student/leadership councils, etc.


Since Kayser's proposal emphasizes the threat of losing more schools to charters, it may behoove the schools who are in a position to threaten that to write new letters emphasizing that potential possibility. 


We also agreed to try to build a coalition amongst us for larger budget issues, proposed taxes, LAUSD transparency, etc.


We covered a lot of different issues, charters, busing, magnets, LAUSD future, redistricting, but the enormity of the LAUSD budget and lack of transparency as to where it is really all going was the most sobering part of the evening.



Town Hall meeting with Superintendent Deasy and School Board member Tamar Galatzan -- Jan 25th, 2012

http://www.dailynews.com/ci_19823505




Meeting with School Board Members Steve Zimmer and Marguerite LaMotte -January 19, 2012 

Two groups of parents from LACES and several other schools affected by the Title 1 cuts met with School Board members Marguerite LaMotte and Steve Zimmer.



 

Ms. LaMotte indicated that she was not interested in changing her vote.

 

Mr. Zimmer started by assuring us that despite the mid-year trigger cuts, transportation would not be eliminated.

Zimmer re-framed the issue as being not about restoration of the Title 1 cuts, which is unlikely to happen due to Supt. Deasy’s concern about compliance with Title 1 legislation, but about preserving the programs, regardless of the source of the funding.  Denying access to intervention programs to Title 1 students simply because they happen to not be in high-poverty school (Title 75% and up) is on its face inequitable.  While the cuts are affecting all schools, the decision about the Title 1 funds will have a disproportionate impact on the 23 schools that are losing Title 1 funds.   He said “these children cannot be denied their right to this funding.”.

He said that if the Title 1 funds are cut, the programs must be funded from other sources.  He did not offer specifics about these sources.  There needs to be a plan in place before they pull these funds to maintain these basic programs.  He said the funds are there, they just need to be transitioned,

Mr. Zimmer stressed that the Board must hear from Title 1 parents.   



Parent Advocacy Meeting -- January 18 
A meeting took place at the home of LACES parents Chris Carlson and Demetrius Pohl with a guest speaker Teri Levy, a representative from the education advocacy group Educate Our State. About 15 LACES parents and 1 parent from SOCES attended the meeting. Teri discussed local, state and federal funding issues, and gave advice on starting develop a long term advocacy strategy.  


Parents Urged the School Board to Reconsider Their Title 1 Funding Threshold Change Decision 

On January 10, parents from LACES, SOCES and a few other schools attended a regular meeting of the LAUSD school board to ask the Board to re-consider its decision regarding Title 1 funds.  Eight LACES parents spoke during the public comment period.  

Click on the link above to watch the video archive for Jan 10th, 2011 school board meeting.  In the mid section of the video, LACES parents Connie Boukidis and Jenny Skoble, along with several other parents from other schools affected by the Title 1 funding threshold change, explained to the School 

Board that the Board's decision was misguided. They urged the Board to reconsider its decision and find better ways to meet the budget challenge.


Meeting at Tarmar Galatzan's Office -- January 6 

Parents from LACES and several of the other schools affected by the Title 1 cuts met with Ms. Donna Muncey and Ms. Debbie Ernst, the LAUSD analysts who had made the recommendation to the board to change the Title 1 funding threshold.  Little progress was made, as the decisions were made purely on the basis of the numerical data.  No consideration was give to the fact that LACES is currently one of LAUSD’s most successful schools, and that a huge cut to its budget with no prior warning would have a devastating effect. At the same time, the $4.5 million the district would save from cutting funds to the 23 schools would be unlikely to have much effect when spread out over 610 higher poverty schools.  The meeting took place at the office of Tamar Galatzan, the one school board member who voted against the change to Title 1 funding. 



California Budget Trigger Cuts, Elimination of School Transportation, Title 1 Funding Cut 


In early December, the state announced its revenue projections were going to fall short by $1 billion, causing automatic “trigger cuts” to take effect  on January 1, 2012.  LAUSD stands to lose $38 million in transportation funding, which would effectively eliminate all free school transportation.  This posed a particular problem to magnet schools as their students come from all over the city and rely heavily on district-provided transportation.  Since transportation services are mandated by law for magnet schools, permits with transportation, and special needs students, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy filed a lawsuit against the state.

Just days later, on December 13, the School Board voted 6-1 to change the eligibility threshold for schools to receive Title 1 funds.  Title I requires that school districts rank their schools in order of poverty and to first fund schools having a poverty level above 75%.  Districts may then decide to allocate remaining funds to schools with lower poverty levels.  The Board voted to raise the threshold for receiving Title 1 funds from 40% free or reduced lunch-eligible to 50%.  A total of 23 schools, including LACES and several others of Los Angeles’ most outstanding schools, were affected by this decision. LACES lost $460,000 in funding.  Other schools lost even more.

A $460,000 cut to LACES will result in the severe reduction or elimination of intervention programs for low-income, disabled and English learners that have been instrumental in helping to close the achievement gap, as well as the loss of the two teaching positions, two counselors, the choir director, the parent liaison, a clerk, an aide, and three out of five days of the school nurse.


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