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Fremont, Jordan and Manual Arts high schools will lose millions in funding

May 5, 2011 |  1:25 pm

Three struggling Los Angeles high schools face sharp funding reductions over and above those expected as a result of the state budget crisis, The Times has learned.

Fremont, Manual Arts and Jordan high schools are going to lose millions in supplemental funding because they failed to hit improvement benchmarks.

The funding, through the Quality Education Investment Act, has provided an additional $1,000 per student to lower class sizes and provide extra counseling, among other measures. The grants were never permanent, but had the potential to last as long as seven years.

Instead, these three schools will lose the money three years early amid a state budget crisis that has hit schools hard.

The original goal of the funding was to see what a struggling school could accomplish with an infusion of resources in key areas. Instead, the money has allowed these schools to hold the line against deep statewide cuts to schools over the last three years.

All told, 101 L.A. Unified schools received the funding, and the money also could be at risk at some other campuses if test scores fall short of required targets in the fall. The three high schools that have already lost money failed to meet milestones that the schools had set for themselves, a district spokesperson said.

Moving forward, these campuses will no longer be spared from the effects of the state budget crisis at key moments in their efforts to improve. Fremont High, the largest of the schools, will lose an estimated $4 million a year. That school, located south of downtown, reopened in July after a “restructuring” that resulted in the displacement of more than half the faculty.

Jordan High in Watts is supposed to reopen next year, with part of the campus run by a nonprofit under the control of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Another portion of the campus would be under the management of one or more independent charter schools.

Manual Arts, just south of downtown, has struggled with administrative turnover as well as sluggish improvement. It’s under the control of an independent nonprofit but still operates under L.A. Unified's union agreements.

District officials realized that these schools would lose funding late last year, but the bad news was never made public. The Times learned of the situation in interviews with current and former officials who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about the subject.


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-- Howard Blume

California Schools Guide