SHERMAN OAKS : Meeting Will Focus on Future of Schools

The future of the Los Angeles Unified School District will be the chief topic of a community meeting Wednesday sponsored by the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn.

Los Angeles school board member Mark Slavkin, who represents West Los Angeles and the West Valley, is slated to speak at the 8 p.m. meeting at Union Federal Savings, 13300 Ventura Blvd. The meeting is open to the public.

"I'll be there to provide information and to encourage people to get involved," said Slavkin, who was reelected to the seven-member board in April. "We face great challenges, but if we can get people from the community involved, I'm optimistic."

Besides providing information on the district's current financial crisis, Slavkin said he will urge people to join in opposition to the proposed voucher system, which would make tax dollars available to parents who want to send their children to private schools. Public educators argue that the measure, which is slated for the November ballot, would destroy the public school system and hasten the segregation of students.

Though many Sherman Oaks residents do not have school-age children, and many others send their children to private schools, the fate of the Los Angeles public school system is of great concern to the community, said Richard Close, president of the homeowners association.

"It's critical for L. A. to have a school system that works," Close said. "A community cannot prosper without one--the quality of the public school system is a major part of the quality of life."

While Close said there is general agreement that the system is inadequate and must be changed, his group does not favor a particular solution.

"The public needs to find out what steps are being taken to bring the school system back to a local system," Close said. "We are going to be disseminating information and we are going to find out from a member of the school board what is being done."

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