With millions in Proposition 30 dollars trickling in and more revenue promised under Gov. Jerry Brown's school-funding plan, Los Angeles Unified board members are jump-starting the debate over the best way to rebuild a school district devastated by five years of budget cuts.
Two resolutions will be introduced during a special meeting Tuesday, laying out conflicting strategies for how to serve a district where 80 percent of students live in poverty and nearly 30 percent are learning English. Both plans look ahead to 2014-15, when the new national curriculum and statewide testing system are slated to take effect.
"This is our first opportunity to talk about investment and not stabilization," said board member Steve Zimmer, whose district includes Hollywood, the Westside and parts of the San Fernando Valley. "What is exciting is to be able to implement the transformative reforms that are now the new reality of LAUSD in an environment that we can truly invest in them."
Zimmer and colleagues Bennett Kayser and Richard Vladovic have co-sponsored a resolution seeking a long-range plan to hire more teachers, counselors, librarians, custodians and support staff. They want to use revenue expected from a voter-approved sales-tax hike to shrink class size to levels last seen in 2007-08 — before the state financial crisis led to $5.2 billion in cuts.
Back in 2008, classes averaged 19 students for every teacher. Most schools had full-time nurses and