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LAUSD pursues Race to the Top grant without union support

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy discusses the Race to the Top grant program on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.
November 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Unified School District will still pursue a $40 million federal grant, despite opposition from the teachers union.

Race to the Top could get LAUSD as much as $40 million, but its teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, did not want to apply. A requirement for the grant is that the superintendent, school board and union all agree on the application.

"The District is taking this action with full knowledge that the teacher's union, United Teachers, Los Angeles, communicated its refusal to become partners in the original grant application," LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Deasy is asking the U.S. secretary of education to consider the district's application for Race to the Top funds without the union being on board. Deasy argued the grant would help students prepare for college.

"The Board of Education voted unanimously to support the grant, and it received tremendous backing from numerous critical education partners across Los Angeles and California," Deasy wrote. "It is simply wrong for the opposition of one organization -- UTLA -- to deny LAUSD the opportunity to funding that would provide tremendous benefits to our students."

UTLA is against the move, arguing the money commits the district to ongoing costs long after the funds run out. Warren Fletcher of UTLA said the maximum amount of money that the application could have brought in would have been $40 million, but the minimum amount the district would have to spend would be $43.3 million.

The grant would also require teacher evaluations, which the union opposes.

The deadline to submit applications was Tuesday, but because of Superstorm Sandy, the deadline was extended a few days. The government will award grants to just 15 school districts across the country.

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