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LAUSD board approves school choice plan

August 25, 2009 7:46:49 AM PDT
After an almost four-hour debate, the controversial school choice proposal was approved Tuesday in a 6-1 vote, turning over control of a third of LAUSD schools to charter school operators and other outsiders.United Teachers Los Angeles and several other unions did not support the measure because of how it would affect their collective bargaining agreements.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supported the school choice measure. It would allow charter operators and other institutions to bid for control of 50 new schools and 200 low-performing campuses.

The change affects one-third of LAUSD's student population.

The mayor and school superintendents said they needed to back a plan that gets different results, not the status quo.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said L.A. public schools are improving, and the school choice proposal was not a giveaway.

Cortines said groups would be chosen to run schools based on their track record, adding that parent involvement is also a key component to better education.

"They think for too long that we school people, in many cases not all, have said, 'Bring the lemonade and cookies, and then go home.' And they say, 'We want to be a part of the discussions and the planning and the decision-making regarding what's best in education for our children,'" Cortines said.

Cortines will have 60 days to develop a plan.

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