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Villaraigosa keeps focus on schools the day after State of City speech

April 14, 2011 |  8:57 am


A day after focusing on education during his State of the City address, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made the media rounds Thursday to reiterate his position.

Villaraigosa told KTLA Channel 5 that California was 47th in the nation in spending on schools, and although the actual ranking is in some dispute, there is no question the state has slashed funding for education, leading to thousands of recent and pending layoffs in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

By addressing school funding, the mayor was echoing the reaction of union leaders and a school board member to his remarks. L.A. Unified supports a plan by Gov. Jerry Brown to use money controlled by Community Redevelopment Agencies for schools.

The city of Los Angeles and other municipalities oppose that proposal.

The KTLA conversation quickly turned to the subject of teacher tenure, which can be earned after two years on the job.

“The tenure system isn’t working, where people basically have a job for life and every decision is based on seniority and not performance,” Villaraigosa said.

As in his speech, the mayor also talked about streamlining the thick teachers contract.

The KTLA anchors also talked about potholes, saying driving down Wilshire Boulevard was like “off-roading in a truck.”

“I got the message,” Villaraigosa said.

The city needs to redouble its efforts to address road conditions, he added, pledging to maintain the size of the police force despite a still-unresolved city budget deficit.


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-- Howard Blume

Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gives the State of the City Address at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2011. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times