Something unusual happened at the most recent Los Angeles school board meeting. Even before newly elected Monica Ratliff was sworn in, the pro-privatization majority was in retreat.

Here is a fascinating account of the background and context:

So glad you are reporting this. I only wish that Zimmer had gone ever further on the class size issue and had reminded everyone that LAUSD has the largest numbers of charter schools. Every time a start up charter or independent conversion charter gets approved, money gets taken out of LAUSD’s budget. This has been brought up time after time, and even the budget director mentioned it at a recent meeting. So, it begs the question as to who Galatzan and Garcia are really supporting? Who is more important to them, charter schools or the vast majority of students in traditional schools?

I think the answer is obvious. After all, where does the big money come from when it comes time to collect campaign funds? The list of funders from Garcia’s recent board race reads like a who’s-who list of charter friendly corporations and charter operators.

Below is a paragraph from a recent IG report on how special education funding is negatively impacting LAUSD and thus contributing to class size increases. This happens because charter schools have a much lower percentage of special ed students and for those they do enroll, most have the least severe disabilities.

http://notebook.lausd.net/pls/ptl/docs/PAGE/CA_LAUSD/FLDR_ORGANIZATIONS/FLDR_OIG_PUBLICATIONS_AUDIT_REPORTS/13497FUNDINGSPECIAL%20EDUCATION%20PROGRAM.PDF

“An increasing number of charter schools is eroding the District’s ADA base for special education funding. The California funding system for special education is based on Census-Based funding model that funds special education programs based on school’s Average Daily Attendance (ADA) numbers. The establishment of charter schools takes away ADA numbers from the District resulting in less funding for the District’s special education program.”

Another item not discussed anywhere was the denial of a charter school.

From the LA Times:

“The board also voted to reject a bid from an independently operated charter school to remain open. Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory High School had sought a second, five-year charter, as well as permission to expand to offer a kindergarten-through-12th-grade program.”

This charter has two schools. The last time one of their schools came up for renewal, denial was also recommended. But, Garcia convinced her buddies on the board to overturn the charter division’s recommendation. After the vote, she got out of her chair and went into the street to celebrate with the head of the school, leaving behind her duties and missing out on voting on other issues.

This time, things were different. While the school was allowed to present their reasons for overturning the denial, when the board was asked to vote, NONE of the board members said a word. There was NO discussion…..ZERO!!! The vote was taken immediately and it was 6-1 in support of the denial. Of course, Garcia voted to overturn.

I suspect that this silence was pre-determined decision by the board. Perhaps it was because of the horrific report from the Inspector General’s office:

http://notebook.lausd.net/pls/ptl/docs/PAGE/CA_LAUSD/FLDR_ORGANIZATIONS/FLDR_OIG_PUBLICATIONS_AUDIT_REPORTS/12492ACADEMIA%20SEMILLAS%20CHARTER%20SCHOOL.PDF

The report above clearly states that, when an audit was requested, the school repeatedly refused to turnover any records. Perhaps the head of the school felt he had Garcia’s back and that, like before, the board’s charter friendly majority would ignore this “minor” problem. But not this time. Perhaps the board did not want an open discussion during which it may have been revealed that the board has been complicit in rubber stamping a charter that so blatantly disregards the rules.

Bottom line….the charter friendly board members took a major hit on Tuesday. Actions and statements by Garcia and Galatzan received numerous negative responses from the audience. Most certainly, this was only a precursor of what is to come.