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Committee Prepares 5-Year Plan for Schools : Education: A coalition of parents, teachers and students proposes a 15-point plan to lower dropout rates and increase job opportunities.

May 09, 1991|ROD WADE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Culminating a year of analysis and strategy sessions, the Glendale Schools 2000 committee presented a 15-point plan to the Board of Education on Tuesday designed to improve districtwide achievement.

The five-year program aimed at lowering dropout rates and furthering job and college opportunities for graduates would cost the district more than $46 million if fully implemented. The cost for the first year would be $13 million.

The committee, made up of teachers, administrators, students and community members, was charged with forming plans to establish a district mission statement.

Included in the report are plans to establish a non-voting school board seat for an elected high school student; use cable television with educational programming to reach students' homes, and create a code of ethics for district employees.

The report also called for "Shared Decision Making," a program allowing administrators, teachers, parents and students to provide the district with educational programs and policy recommendations.

To monitor the program's success, the committee suggested that an annual assessment of district graduates be instituted.

The school board authorized the program last March. Since then, community members and staff responsible for each of the 15 proposals have been meeting monthly devising plans to guide district policies through the year 2000.

Programs the committee wants to implement immediately will be presented to board members during a special review of the proposals Tuesday, said Donald W. Empey, deputy superintendent of instruction.

One program, for example, includes the fostering of cross-cultural understanding and respect. It could cost nearly $8 million spread over five years for textbooks, 45 traveling teachers and a coordinator to teach a foreign language to all elementary students.

Less expensive plans include teacher training, an "International Friendship Week" and a pamphlet for parents defining educational acronyms and jargon.

Other strategies are to:

* Guarantee programs that meet special needs of all students, such as the handicapped, the gifted and those not proficient in English; $3 million.

* Broaden the options for graduation with more use of certificates of completion and proficiency exams; $70,000.

* Acquire technology for district operations and instruction; $8 million.

* Recruit and retain teachers with special skills to deal with the district's technological and multiethnic needs; $6 million.

* Involve families in the education of their children; $4.5 million.

* Assess the performance of graduates in the employment marketplace; $325,000.

The committee recommended that the programs' funds be generated by a coalition that will pursue state and federal grants as well as money from public and private foundations.

In addition, the committee recommended "the passage of a local area bond issue or tax increase."

Supt. Robert A. Sanchis said the earliest such a measure could be put on the ballot is 1992.

Sanchis said the state Legislature is considering a ballot proposition that would change the current law requiring a two-thirds vote to pass bond measures.

"If bond issues only required a simple majority, we might have a chance," district spokesman Vic Pallos said. "But getting two-thirds of Glendale voters to support a bond issue is almost impossible."

The $13-million figure, however, is just a "wish list," Pallos said, indicating the district doesn't expect to implement all 125 items recommended by the committee.

Empey said the urgency and manageability of the program led committee members to formulate a three-step phase of implementation, and that first-year expenditures could be as little as $500,000.

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