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VALLEY PERSPECTIVE

Diverging Views on Breaking Up LAUSD

March 19, 2000

At public hearings on a proposal to form two new San Fernando Valley school districts, speakers have agreed on little except their desire for change.

The breakup proposal put forth by the group Finally Restoring Excellence in Education, or FREE, calls for a northern and a southern Valley district with Roscoe Boulevard as the primary boundary line between them.

The Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization, after a series of hearings, will make a recommendation in June to the State Board of Education, which in turn will decide whether to put the breakup proposal to a public vote. The next public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Walter Reed Middle School, 4525 Irvine Ave., North Hollywood.

VALLEY PERSPECTIVE asked several community members who spoke at a Feb. 24 hearing in Van Nuys about the plan and its potential effects on education.

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GINA RUIZ-GOLDMAN, 31, Sun Valley

Owner of a Sun Valley court reporting, transcription and translation business; parent of a 9-year-old.

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I am in favor of separating the Los Angeles Unified School District.

I graduated from LAUSD. The education I received was not an excellent one. My parents had to send me for extra tutoring, and at that time, they did not have any money. We lived right in front of Belmont High School. I was doing terrible in math, and the English that I learned I didn't learn from the school district. I ended up going to community colleges to catch up on what I wasn't taught--the fundamentals in math and English.

They bused me to the Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in Reseda. Now I find that the same thing is happening to my daughter. [She] goes to Brentwood Science Magnet. We live in Sun Valley.

She was enrolled in Pacoima but they didn't have any books. They were trying to raise the money for the books. I panicked. I said, "No, I'm going to bus her."

Yet it's not better there [at Brentwood]. She's falling behind. I definitely think it's because of the school. There are too many kids in one classroom.

The only positive thing the L.A. school district has is that it combines kids from different nationalities. That's important, so kids can be able to get along with everybody. That's what L.A.'s all about, the mixing of different cultures and religions.

I want to make sure, as a parent, that change is made for the benefit of the kids.

A lot of people say kids are going to be discriminated against or that the poor will be left out. I live in Sun Valley, and if I thought this was going to happen, I would not be supporting this.

I couldn't believe that people were against the plan. I'm just worried for my daughter, my nephew, and the sons and daughters of the people I know.

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