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L.A. Unified applies for grant without teachers union

November 1, 2012 | 12:00 pm

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy during a meeting of the Los Angeles School Board in February. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Unified School District has decided to submit an application for a high-profile federal grant without the participation of the teachers union.

Current federal rules for “Race to the Top” grants require a written commitment to the terms by the local teachers union. But United Teachers Los Angeles officials have steadfastly objected to the district's application, mostly because of the cost involved, they said.

L.A. Unified could qualify for up to $40 million. The funds are modest compared to the school system's multibillion-dollar annual budget, but officials said they could provide crucial services to students as well as additional jobs.

“I have instructed staff to submit an application with all required signatures except that of the teachers union,” said L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy in a statement Thursday. “I want to make the case that here in Los Angeles, after months of trying repeatedly to form a partnership for youth and faculty on this issue our students should not be penalized due to the absence of a [union] signature,” said Deasy. 

UTLA leaders had expressed concern that the district's plans could overextend the financially struggling school system. Union President Warren Fletcher said he also was worried that the grant could lock in practices and policies that still needed to be settled by negotiations among officials, the teachers union and the union that represents principals.

Deasy has said repeatedly that he is disappointed that that the union has chosen not to join with the nation's second-largest school system to win the competitive grant. As recently as Monday, Deasy indicated that any hope for obtaining the grant was lost.


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-- Howard Blume

Photo: LAUSD Supt. John Deasy during a meeting of the Los Angeles School Board in February. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times