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Vote could open 250 L.A. schools to outside operators

Backers of the Board of Education decision tout choice and competition. Foes call the move illegal, illogical and improper.

August 26, 2009|Howard Blume and Jason Song

"When all is said and done you will have sold this district down the road for political gain for some of you," he said at the meeting, "and for a mayor whose own program has been a dismal failure. And if you end up . . . giving the mayor more schools, then shame on you."

Other critics have joined Duffy in questioning whether schools built with bond funds to relieve crowding, can be turned over to entities not under direct district control.

For their part, charter schools may have to operate differently in district-owned sites. They could be required to enroll more disabled students and higher numbers of lower-income students than at some current charter schools.

Both sides gathered coalitions of supporters. The charter-backed group Families That Can organized a massive rally outside district headquarters before the vote.

And the critics were not exclusively union members. Some called the plan an abdication of district responsibility or a failure to acknowledge district progress.

David Crippens, who chairs the committee overseeing school-construction spending, cautioned against "change for the sake of change."

But school board President Monica Garcia, a Villaraigosa ally, asserted that "kids can't wait. . . . My support for this resolution is in the hope that the district can move faster."

Shortly after the vote, Villaraigosa savored a political and policy victory at district headquarters in downtown L.A.

"We're not going to be held hostage by a small group of people," Villaraigosa said, referring to the teachers union and other opponents. "I'll let you infer who I'm talking about."

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howard.blume@latimes.com

jason.song@latimes.com

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