Granada Hills Charter High School was granted a five-year extension of its charter by the Los Angeles Unified School District board on Tuesday.
The campus had one of the best academic records in the district before becoming a charter school last May.
At the time, board members granted the school only a one-year charter because they said they wanted to develop a comprehensive strategy on creation and supervision of charters districtwide.
Supt. Roy Romer at the time expressed fears that a Granada Hills charter might lead to the loss of some of the best academic high schools in the district.
One year after that vote, no such strategy has been developed. Nevertheless, the board voted unanimously for the extension with little discussion.
Also Tuesday night, the Los Angeles school board debated but decided to postpone action on the fate of its local district administrative structure as it looked at making more cuts to its 2004-05 budget.
The board focused in large part on the fate of the 11 local districts that were created four years ago to reduce the district's central bureaucracy. Those sub-districts have come under fire from the teachers union, which describes them as a waste of resources and a symbol of bloated administration.
In recent months, as the board has authorized a spate of budget cuts and authorized the elimination of 480 non-teaching jobs, United Teachers-Los Angeles President John Perez has called for the elimination of the local districts.
On Tuesday, Perez lumped them into what he called "the fat in the district's budget."
Each local district oversees a student population of between 50,000 and 80,000 and has a budget of between $8 million and $12 million.
Tuesday, Romer proposed to further cut the general fund budgets of the local districts by 10% -- in addition to 18% cuts made previously -- but said that he needs the structure of the local districts to oversee L.A. Unified's plans to build 160 schools in the next few years.
"I believe that we are in a position that we need to be very economical," said Romer, after presenting his plan to reduce the budgets but not the size of the districts. "But we don't need to jump off a cliff and destroy or take apart the infrastructure of the district."
Debate among board members was heated. Some board members supported Romer's proposal, and going further with the budget cuts, while others proposed scrapping the local district structure altogether in favor of separate divisions for elementary, middle and high schools. But all agreed that the district was facing a financial crisis.
"I think if we don't make some systematic changes, the district will be bankrupt in two to three years," said board member Mike Lansing.
The district must cut about $500 million from its 2004-05 budget in order to address a projected shortfall from the state budget.
So far, about $477 million has been trimmed, and the board is looking at ways to further bridge that gap.