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Breakup Bill Still Alive, Boland Says


NORTHRIDGE — A bill easing the breakup of the Los Angeles Unified School District is "not dead yet," and hearings in Los Angeles will let parents show their support, a lawmaker said Monday.

Assemblywoman Paula Boland expressed that guarded optimism before a Northridge lunch meeting of business and community leaders at which Gayle Wilson, wife of Gov. Pete Wilson, also spoke.

"We've got a chance," the Granada Hills Republican said.

Boland's report followed the defeat last week of a separate proposal by state Sen. David Roberti (D-Van Nuys), to dismantle the nation's second-largest school district. Boland's bill was blocked in the Assembly Education Committee, which refused to allow the entire Assembly to consider the bill.

The Boland proposal was passed by the state Senate. It was designed to make it easier to place a school breakup measure on the ballot through the initiative process.

Under current law, supporters of an initiative drive need the Los Angeles school board's approval and the signatures of 25% of the district's registered voters before their breakup measure could be put on the ballot.

The Boland bill would eliminate the requirement for school board approval and sharply reduce the signature requirement to 10% of registered voters.

Boland said Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin (D-Union City), chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee, has told her a hearing on her plan will be held in the Los Angeles area before January.

Calling it a moderate measure for democratizing the initiative process, Boland said her bill will produce a showdown between the teachers' union lobby and parents. A public hearing in Los Angeles will enable parents and students to have their voice heard by the Assembly Education Committee, she said.

"That's good news," Boland said. So far, this committee has held hearings on the breakup issue only in Sacramento.

A second vote in the Assembly Education Committee is likely to come early next year. "It gives us more time to organize," Boland aide Scott Wilk said of the delay.

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