The board is likely to approve Slavkin's proposal today and ask its staff to come up with specific plans. But a final vote is probably months away and may follow protracted debate, as board members balance their competing interests--making it easier for receiving schools to absorb the newcomers while lightening the burden on those students who must travel out of their neighborhoods to school.
Almost 25,000 children are bused each day from their neighborhood schools to less-crowded campuses in the San Fernando Valley, South Bay and on the Westside, but space is rapidly disappearing in those schools as well.
Union Elementary School near downtown Los Angeles had been sending the children it couldn't hold to Pacific Palisades Elementary, until last fall when that school filled up.
By the time Wilbur Avenue in Tarzana had been selected as its next receiver, Union had collected more than 40 students to bus out, and that increased to 71 by October.
Each spring, district officials try to estimate how many students will have to be "capped" out of their overcrowded neighborhood schools the next fall, and designate receiver schools to bus them to.
Extra teachers are sent to those schools from a special pool of more than 100 instructors. They are assigned as few as 20 students per class, to leave room for new bused-in pupils.
But last year, district officials were caught by surprise by the deluge of new students that never let up.
The district's Capacity Adjustment Program began 10 years ago, busing a few thousand children from packed East Los Angeles schools, to relieve overcrowding that had been called one of the "ills of segregation" by the judge presiding over the district's desegregation case. Then, there was plenty of classroom space at schools a short bus ride away. But since then the district has grown dramatically and now nearly 25,000 of the district's 610,000 students have to be bused away from overcrowded schools.