Long-planned modernization projects at University and Venice high schools are back on track after the Los Angeles Unified school board voted 5 to 2 Monday to reorganize priorities to avoid losing state funding earmarked for the schools.
The $5.3 million for the two Westside high schools is part of $13.6 million allocated for projects in the district that were threatened because board policy put construction of new classrooms ahead of modernization. Last year, $18.6 million was returned under the state's use-it-or-lose it funding rules and the district will try to recoup that money, although prospects appear dim.
Some board members, including Westside member Mark Slavkin, balked at the prospect of giving money back in a year of heavy budget cutting. Slavkin questioned whether new construction projects, some of which are in the incipient stages, really interfered with completing modernization projects.
New School Supt. William Anton agreed with the effort to keep the money, asking district officials to reorganize their workloads to accommodate the projects. Board members Rita Walters and Leticia Quezada dissented.