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L.A. Unified moves forward on corporate sponsors, earlier school year

The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education moved forward Tuesday on two initiatives that generated controversy: a policy to attract corporate sponsors and an earlier start to the school year.

“I’m uncomfortable with this,” said board member Steve Zimmer, who said he cast his vote supporting sponsorships in the wake of state budget cuts because “the public is not funding public education in California.”

Under the approved rules, the district superintendent could ink agreements up to $500,000, with school board approval required for larger amounts. Sponsors would not be able to sell or market specific products to children; instead they would have “branding” opportunities.

Examples could include signs on scoreboards or naming rights to auditoriums or athletic fields or a brand name on a drum purchased with a corporate donation.

“Let me tell you this is all advertising,” L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said, adding, “we’re not going to put advertising where it offends.”

He added that efforts would be made to share the money generated by sponsorships equitably among schools.

One estimate put potential annual revenue at $18 million, but Cortines cautioned that expectation might be overly optimistic. The district already was able to preserve some sports programs with a fundraising effort that netted about $1.5 million.

 “We’re asking for help from our corporate community,” said school board president Monica Garcia. “We’re trying to get help.”

On the other controversial item, the board approved 6 to 1 an earlier academic calendar. Instead of starting after Labor Day, the official start of the school year will be Aug. 15. The main advantage is for high schools, which will be able to finish first semester before the winter break.

“It’s a logical break in the school year,” said Principal Diane Klewitz of Verdugo Hills High in the San Fernando Valley.

Some schools moved to the new calendar this year.

Critics, however, have complained about students attending school during a hotter part of the summer.

Board member Richard Vladovic applauded the academic benefit but said too few parents knew about the change. They should have been included in the decision-making process, he said. For that reason, he voted no.

He and board member Zimmer proposed waiting one more year before going with the early start. The teachers union took that position as well.

But Cortines said a delay would result in increased transportation costs -- because the district would be split between schools that have adopted the new schedule and those that haven’t.


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Comments () | Archives (12)

I pity the kids and teachers in those schools having to study and train for sports in the hottest, smoggiest time of the year. Maybe the corporations can brand the students, too, or tattoo them.

The quest for more money continues in the largest organized crime syndicate in LA County. LAUSD has a continuing history of greed. Now is the time to fix that problem.

Steve Zimmer, stated "the public is not funding education in California". Who is funding education in California? Who is paying his salary on the board if it is not the public? The public is tired of LAUSD wasting money on everything, but the students. LAUSD has wasted too much money on consultant fees. Cortines, the administrators, and the school board is all over paid. It is time to clean house in the next election. All the mayor's puppets need to go because the schools are in a mess just like LA. The mayor cannot run the city let along LAUSD.

transportation costs? i went to belmont hs, class of 63. took 2 buses and paid out of my parents pockets. why are these students so special? socialsm?

yea! a move towards doing what is right for our students. We should not plan our school calendar based on weather! It was 85 degrees on Monday of this week. We had a 100 degree heat wave in November! This is the right thing to do for the STUDENTS! - Students First. And yes I am a teacher - a Middle School Teacher in LAUSD.

With the LAUSD drop out rate of over 50% more money into the system is not the answer. More accountability and transparency is the answer!

The US Supreme Court once ruled that the school system must educate illegal aliens, until the school is out of money.

Cortines, and the the school board members needs to recognize that the school system is fiscally broke and needs to start an I-9 program to ensure that all students are here legally.

Starting the LAUSD school calendar in August is a nightmare. I remember when the LAUSD went to a quarter system, year 'round, and it was a dismal FAILURE. Air conditioning units were non-existent, Grad Nite at Disneyland was a bust, parents had to re-arrange travel plans for vacations, little league, CIF football/baseball sports schedules and youngsters, who would work during the summer months for college savings, were screwed.

How many youngsters, in the inner-city and the San Fernando Valley, will have to suffer from heat prostration and heat stroke, before LAUSD gets the picture?

The time has arrived when the schools need to get back to basics, even if it means-

1. Primary Readers, such as "On Cherry Street" and "Our Neighborhood."

2. Spelling books by Madden & Carlson, "Success in spelling."

3. No-nonsense mathematics books and get rid of the hand calculators. (FYI- I had the knowledge of how to use a slide rule, by the time I was 10 years old.)

4. Start pushing for the production of "serious" science projects at the fourth grade level.

5. Bring back mandatory shop classes and have "construction" in the elementary schools.

6. The end of ESL, ethnic studies and other "junk" classes.

The time has come to get back to basics and start an I-9 process for students.

I agree any sponsorship money should be spread equitably through he district, but how much will LAUSD be paying for lawsuits when schools with more sponsorships (in neighborhoods with more spending power) sue to keep all their income?

Students: Today the lesson is about the American Government and this lesson is brought you by Chevron

Hey, this is great! Soon, we'll have History 1, sponsored by GM, Biology 2 by Monsanto and PE by Coke!

super LAME.

I'm in all for the earlier start. It will put LAUSD in line with many other school districts so our students can do many other things with their family members, as well as summer camps and looking for summer jobs. It is not that hot in August--at least not any hotter than September and October. L.A. climates do not follow typical seasonal climates for inland states.

It sounds like a good idea. I used to teach at a year round school , and we routinely had school all through the summer.


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