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68 Teachers Get Reprieve on Transfers


Nearly half the Los Angeles teachers facing transfers because of low enrollment won a temporary reprieve Thursday, but about 70 will be sent to other campuses, leaving schools to reorganize classes and schedules.

Supt. Sid Thompson agreed Thursday to leave in place for at least four months 68 Los Angeles Unified School District elementary teachers at schools where enrollments fell short by eight or fewer students. The four months would give the affected schools time to see if enrollment increases.

Teachers will be transferred immediately from schools where the gap between actual and expected enrollment is more than eight students.

The teacher transfers have become an annual rite in the massive school district, but the January earthquake left campuses--especially those in the San Fernando Valley--with lower than expected enrollments, officials said.

At those campuses, dozens--even hundreds--of students failed to enroll when classes began a month ago; teachers at those schools will be transferred after the district takes its official enrollment tally today. They will be sent to campuses with higher enrollments and not enough teachers.

The news was met with anger at some campuses that did not meet the enrollment requirements, and joy at others. Over the past several weeks, parents worked feverishly to try to persuade the district to keep the teachers at all the campuses.

"This is a one-semester, one-time waiver for the fall semester," Assistant Supt. Irene Yamahara said. "There still will be teacher movement . . . but it won't be nearly as much."

Over the past several weeks, Valley parents, teachers and students have held rallies to protest the transfers, saying that more disruption--on top of the trauma suffered by students from the earthquake--would be too much for the children.

School board member Julie Korenstein, who tried to persuade district officials to keep the teachers at the schools in the hardest-hit areas, said she was delighted by Thompson's decision. "I am very pleased that we are able to help many of these schools," she said. "We're all sighing with relief--especially in the San Fernando Valley."

"It's wonderful--absolutely wonderful," said Lorie Norwalt, principal at Calabash Street School in Woodland Hills, where one first-grade teacher would have been transferred because the school was one student short. "It's a relief, really. We're elated."

The decision to leave teachers at the 64 schools will cost the district about $800,000. If Thompson had kept all the teachers at the campuses with low enrollments, it could have cost the system $2.3 million, officials said.

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