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OTHER ITA SITES:
Schwarzenegger Gives Villaraigosa More Power
Most people would now agree that the Los Angeles Unified School District is in need of some overdue changes. While classes continue to be overpopulated and text books remain in short supply, there is a real need for change. With lights and ceiling tiles falling off regularly our students just aren't able to learn, there is a real need for change.
At long last change is about to happen, but will it really make a difference to our children. A bill was signed on Monday, September 18 by governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican) granting mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Democrat) limited control over the Los Angeles Unified School District.
When this bill goes into effect in January 2007, Villaraigosa, as well as other mayors, could, if they get it right, change how 730,000 students are taught in the city of Los Angeles. The signing occurred at a ceremony at the Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles. The bill provides Villaraigosa with direct control over three schools, which have yet to be decided upon, and their feeder schools.
Villaraigosa has requested to work with specific schools, Crenshaw and Dorsey in Los Angeles; Sylmar and Monroe in the San Fernando Valley; Belmont which is west of downtown; and Roosevelt in Boyle Heights.
Although the mayor has direct control, he will not have complete control of the schools. This authority he will have to share with the school board (which will loose most of its powers under the new bill), the superintendent and a new council of mayors. There are more power shifts to be taken into account such as, the superintendent will have new budget responsibilities with the school board having limited power to review the budget. The board will now have no direct management over their staff.
The mayor has faced a lot of ill feelings by the district who opposed the bill and were absent at the bill signing. The bill is a watered down version of the New York bill passed by their current Mayor. Villaraigosa accepted the changes as a stepping stone to gaining full power some time down the road. The board voted 6 to 1 to take legal action and sue to try and block the bill. At this time, Villaraigosa only has one ally on the board, Monica Garcia.
Villaraigosa is a Democrat who has endorsed Phil Angelides in the November election against Schwarzenegger who is a Republican. This should make for a very interesting time as they all appear to be supporting each other. How will the politics work out? How do the children benefit? Will the children benefit or has this bill just put them into a political mine field?
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