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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

If strike closes LA schools, it could be 'nail in the coffin'

A threatened strike by Los Angeles Unified's service workers -- custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and special-education aides -- could be a "disaster" for the huge district, writes Will Callan on The 74.

Enrollment is declining, "in part to exasperated parents fleeing the district," he writes. Absenteeism is high. Families "worry that a strike could be the 'nail in the coffin'" for the district.

Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

“I can absolutely tell you that one more major disruption like that, that’ll be it,” said Christie Pesicka, a parent advocate in the district. “Enrollment will plummet again.”

Even if students are enrolled, most public schools are funded based on average daily attendance. The kids have to show up. Increasingly, they're not.

Chronic absenteeism -- missing 10 percent or more of the school year -- has doubled since before the pandemic, estimates Hedy Chang, executive director of the nonprofit Attendance Works. Probably 16 million students, compared to 8 million in 2018-19, are chronically absent. In California, says Chang, "chronic absence went from 12.1 percent to actually around 30 percent of the student population."

In my hometown of Chicago, known for the high voting rate of the deceased, schools are masking truancy by counting truants as transfers, according to an inspector general's report, write Nader Issa and Sarah Karp in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Schools are penalized in the district's rating system for high absenteeism and dropout rates, so administrators have an incentive to fudge the numbers, said the report.

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2 comentarios

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
31 ene 2023

As a Californian, I do have some authority over this conglomerate, since I'm a voter; and I call upon the state to abolish this incompetent district, and similar incompetents (such as Chicago) here and in other states, with the district's assets to be relegated to its constituent municipalities, which can then negotiate with local educational agencies to organize the schools' academics, while negotiating new contracts with teachers and other staff, whose unions should be significantly chastened by having ruined their contractual partner.

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27 ene 2023

From a 2018 report from the libertarian Reason Foundation:

"In addition, in four years [2022] the combination of pension costs, health and welfare costs, and special education costs are projected to take up 57.5 percent of unrestricted general fund revenue (LAUSD’s main operational funding) before the district spends a single dollar to run a regular school program."

That was pre-covid. Now, no one is showing up to class, and enrollment is falling through the floor. The district is a basket case. It's also a "unified" district of massive size. If I had any authority in any of the constituent parts of the conglomerate, I'd be looking for the exits.

"Economies of scale" is really not a thing in the public…

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