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Dividing L.A. School District

In response to “Schools Issue Muscles Into Mayoral Race,” news analysis, Jan. 21:

The Los Angeles Unified School District has become an unresponsive, unmanageable and unaccountable bureaucracy. It is in desperate need of reform.

The issue is not secession--it’s about empowerment. It’s about parents being more involved in their children’s schools. It’s about bringing decision-making closer to the people in each community. It’s also not just about the Valley. It’s about the entire city--and every community having greater control over the schools.

Dividing the LAUSD into several small districts will provide greater parental involvement and greater local control over how education tax dollars are spent. It will put responsibility for budgets, personnel and school policy in the hands of truly local school districts.

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How many districts should there be? There is no magic number. Some have proposed five to seven; others proposed as many as 25 to 30. We must provide certain safeguards:

* The schools in each new district must receive at least as much money as they would as part of the LAUSD.

* The issue of inadequate facilities and overcrowding must be addressed. Sufficient resources will have to be shifted so that every district has comparable facilities.

* The quality of education for all children must improve. At the moment, our schools are largely segregated and deliver inferior education, particularly to minorities. No community has real control.

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We need more resources for education, and we need to give parents more control over how their children learn. And any mayor who says it’s not part of his or her responsibility is not the kind of mayor we need for the future of our city.

JOEL WACHS

Councilman, 2nd District


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