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L.A. teachers union among groups seeking answers on running 13 schools

February 3, 2011 |  3:07 pm

Several groups, including the Los Angeles public schools teachers union, are expressing concern that the L.A. Unified School District has postponed a decision on who will run three low-performing schools and 10 new campuses.

The Board of Education was originally supposed to decide in mid-February, but the nation’s second-largest school system announced this week that it has pushed back the deadline a month.

Groups competing to run the schools include local school district administrators, teams of district teachers and charter schools, which are independently run and usually nonunion.

Because of the delay, school board members will not have to vote on who gets to run the schools until after the March 8 school board election.

It means board members cannot be judged on election day on whether they favor charter schools or teacher-led groups, said Betty Forrester, an officer for United Teachers Los Angeles.

The board’s decision on who runs the schools also could affect the number of district layoffs and the number of jobs that shift from union to nonunion status.

On Feb. 15, the school system is scheduled to unveil a grim budget proposal for next year. The need to complete that difficult work has contributed to the delay, L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said.

Other contributing factors include recent school lockdowns after reported security threats and the need to review which charter schools would receive district-owned classroom space and where. The latter task was recently added to Cortines’ tasks,  he said.

“I just told the board I couldn’t do all the things you’re asking me to do” on the original timetable, he said.

Numerous groups, including charter school operators, have said they are worried the postponement will make it more difficult to set up new programs in time for the start of the school year.

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-- Howard Blume

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