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L.A. Schools Promote Free Tutoring for Some Students

September 23, 2003|Duke Helfand | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles school officials on Monday urged parents whose children attend chronically underperforming schools to apply for free tutoring in math and English, which begins in November.

The Los Angeles Unified School District mailed applications earlier this month to 186,000 students, from 104 schools, who are eligible for the extra assistance.

The federal No Child Left Behind education law requires school districts to pay for supplemental tutoring for low-income students whose schools repeatedly fail to meet testing improvement targets. To qualify, students must attend one of the targeted campuses and receive free or reduced-priced lunches because of low family income. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, Sept. 26.

"We want youngsters who participate in this program to get something that will improve their reading, math or language test scores," said John Liechty, associate superintendent in charge of extended-day programs for the school district.

L.A. Unified parents can choose from 26 public and private providers of tutoring services, including Sylvan Education Solutions, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Huntington Learning Centers. The school district also is providing free tutoring, on Saturdays, through its Beyond the Bell Learning Centers.

Students can get as much as 100 hours of free tutoring through next August, depending on the provider, officials said.

The school district has budgeted $47 million of federal Title I money for the initiative, enough to pay for about 47,000 students, at roughly $1,000 apiece, administrators said.

Last year, the first time the free service was offered, just 10,000 of 164,000 eligible students took advantage of it.

Families who miss Friday's deadline can apply again. Applications for a second round of tutoring are due by Dec. 5. Students in that stage will get free tutoring from February through next August.

For more information, parents should call their child's school or visit the district's Web site at http://btb.lausd.net/ses.

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