LOCAL Education

Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Here's the latest:

  • The Rodriguez investigation now includes conflict-of-interest issues, in addition to previously-announced charges.
  • The L.A. Unified school board spent much of Tuesday’s meeting arguing over nuts and bolts, and ultimately voted to continue starting the school year in August.

Is money for L.A.'s neediest students spent as intended?

 (Howard Blume / Los Angeles Times)
(Howard Blume / Los Angeles Times)

No one questions that students at La Salle Avenue Elementary, with their low academic achievement, could use a hand up.

A civic coalition spearheaded by United Way of Greater Los Angeles puts the South L.A. campus at the very top of schools needing more services and attention; the L.A. Unified School District, however, puts the school at 293rd on its need index out of some 1,000 campuses, according to advocates.

That dichotomy is at the heart of two just-released reports, an ongoing lawsuit and a now yearly push to change the way the nation’s second-largest school district does business.

This dispute is over extra money the state provides to get extra help to the students it deems need it most: foster children, those from low-income backgrounds and those learning English. It adds up to about $1.1 billion per year for L.A. Unified.

“If you have students who are are generating those dollars, they should be the ones receiving services from those dollars,” said Sara Mooney, education program officer for the local United Way.

District officials said they still were reviewing the new research on Monday and the input from outside groups.

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