Battle between charter schools and LAUSD intensifies

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Battle between charter schools and LAUSD intensifies
The LAUSD board will debate proposals on potential restrictions on charters in December.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A fight between teachers from charter schools and the Los Angeles Unified School District is gaining steam as they battle for resources.

On Tuesday, the school board got more bad financial news, as an independent financial review panel urged drastic cuts to fend off a financial crisis.

The experts predict a $300 million budget imbalance within three years, which would continue to increase $150 million annually after that.

Teachers are already feeling the squeeze and they are targeting the charter schools' biggest booster, philanthropist Eli Broad.

The billionaire plans to expand charters, which would further drain funds from LAUSD schools.

"Eli Broad is misdirected," said Ayde Bravo with the United Teachers Los Angeles. "The teachers are working with very little resources, but that is not taken into consideration."

Teachers are challenging the school board, which authorizes the charter schools, to take a stand.

Board member Scott Schmerelson has a resolution ready for debate. It condemns the Broad Foundation's plan to move 250,000 students to the privately operated charters, which face fewer regulations.

It further states, "The Broad Foundation does not address the the approximately 300,000 students who would be left in an LAUSD system precariously drained of resources..."

The California Charter School Association said parents want options.

"The charter school kids are getting more days of learning, they are three times more likely to graduate college ready," Shawn Brown with the California Charter Schools Association said.

On Tuesday, the Broad Foundation said, "Our goal is to ensure every student in Los Angeles has access to a high-quality public school. We want to work collaboratively with the district so that together we can make that goal a reality."

The issue comes to a head because of dropping numbers. The Blue Ribbon Panel reports that in the last six years, 100,000 students were lost and with them went $900 million in funding.

"We must do a better job of retaining students in LAUSD. And this goes way beyond charter schools. Some of your kids are going to charters, but a bunch of them are going elsewhere. And you need to find out where and you need to keep them in school," Delaine Eastin with the independent financial review panel said.

The panel is urging an array of cuts and it will only intensify the clash between LAUSD and charter schools.

The board will debate proposals on potential restrictions on charters next month.