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Soboroff Favors Smaller, Neighborhood School Boards

February 13, 2001

Mayoral candidate Steve Soboroff said Monday that if elected, he will visit every neighborhood in Los Angeles to build a consensus on breaking up the giant Los Angeles Unified School District.

Soboroff said he would create a master plan to divide the 723,000-student district into 20 to 40 neighborhood districts, each with one to three high schools and the middle schools and elementary schools that feed them students.

In his first policy statement on education, Soboroff reiterated a proposal he made last March. During two years as chairman of the citizen oversight panel for school construction, Soboroff said, he became convinced that the nation's second-largest school district is too large to deliver high-quality education or build needed schools.

A decentralization plan adopted last July that created 11 subdistricts was "a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough," Soboroff said.

The subdistricts are governed by the Los Angeles Board of Education; Soboroff's plan would create autonomous boards.

With no legal authority over the schools, the mayor would not be able to initiate a breakup plan. Soboroff said Monday the mayor's task would be to build support for a plan and present it to the Legislature for action.

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