Woodland Hills : Expert Says LAUSD Will Fight Breakup


Activists seeking to create a new school district in the San Fernando Valley should prepare for an onslaught by the Los Angeles Unified School District, which will try to use its might to quash the plan, says an attorney who specializes in educational issues.

Laurence B. Labovitz told the Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday to prepare for “a campaign of disinformation” by the district. For example, he said, the LAUSD would try to convince parents that the new district would have inferior schools and would not survive economically.

(Although school district officials do not believe a breakup effort will be successful, they have pledged to work with supporters of such plans.)


Labovitz said that a district in the Valley--home to about 175,000 of the LAUSD’s 640,000 students--would have sufficient resources to go it alone.

Last summer, the state Legislature approved a bill, which took effect Jan. 1, that eases the process of carving up the LAUSD.

The next steps, Labovitz said, include forming a campaign committee and conducting a feasibility study to determine if the Valley should have one or more districts.

One key issue, he said, is the determination of who would vote on the breakup. For example, he said, would only voters living in a proposed new district be eligible? If residents throughout the LAUSD area were asked to vote, he said, the measure would probably be defeated because parents of ethnic minority students, who make up 87% of the district’s population, would probably oppose the measure for fear that it would weaken the LAUSD’s remaining schools.

Labovitz, who represents several school districts throughout the state, also told the chamber that the creation of a new district might increase property values and lure back homeowners who fled the Valley so their children could attend schools in other districts.