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State delays final ruling on L.A. Unified's dirty bathrooms

January 29, 2010 |  3:47 pm
The fight over the cleanliness of bathrooms in Los Angeles public schools moved to Sacramento today, but a state commission delayed ruling on the district's plea to the state to pick up the cost of keeping those bathrooms clean.

The district is seeking  $22.6 million to help bring the schools' dirty bathrooms into compliance with state law. The state requires that school bathrooms be cleaned regularly, and stocked with toilet paper, soap and paper towels or hand dryers. The district argued that a 2004 bill by Assemblyman Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) codifying those requirements amounted to a state-imposed mandate, and that Sacramento should give the district extra money to keep its restrooms clean.

The commission delayed a formal ruling on the issue at the request of the school district. A final ruling is expected at the commission's March 26 meeting.

A staff report from the Commission on State Mandates recommends rejecting the request.

"The Legislature ... has not increased the level of service provided by school districts to their pupils," the recommendation states. "Accordingly, the activities required by the [Nuñez bill] do not impose a new program or higher level of service."

--Anthony York in Sacramento