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LAUSD board to vote on breakfast in the classroom, school police

May 13, 2013|By Dalina Castellanos
  • Students, parents and teachers held a rally in front of the headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District in downtown Los Angeles in 2012. Protests are also expected outside Tuesday's school board meeting.
Students, parents and teachers held a rally in front of the headquarters… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

The Los Angeles school board meeting is expected to draw more than 1,500 demonstrators Tuesday as members are scheduled to vote to continue funding the classroom breakfast program, an increase in the school police force and other budget items.

In a memo to board members last month, Supt. John Deasy outlined eight items that the district would not fund without explicit board approval.

Those included classroom breakfasts, which feed more than 2,000 students in 280 schools across the L.A. Unified School District.

Hundreds of positions in the schools and cafeterias are tied to the program’s fate, a situation that has pitted two of the district's most influential labor unions against each other.

The Los Angeles teachers union opposes the program, citing messes and distractions in the classroom, while Service Employees International Union Local 99 said more than 900 cafeteria workers among nearly 45,000 school service employees it represents would lose their jobs if the program were eliminated.

UTLA planned to rally outside the board meeting Tuesday for a smattering of reasons, including the breakfast program. A rally was planned for early morning to call on board members to staff schools with health and human services professionals. A second demonstration in the afternoon would support smaller class sizes, fully staffed schools and the restoration of vital services that would come from Proposition 30 funding.

Deasy also is seeking funding for the district’s school police force.

“We have built a number of schools in the past two years and have not maintained the … force at the ratio that we had prior,” Deasy wrote in the April 12 memo.

L.A. Unified Police Chief Steve Zipperman said his department is asking for a $4-million budget increase to patrol the district’s schools and facilities.

The department received a similar budget increase last July, but it was used to “recover from the deficiency we had.”

Zipperman said his budget had remained static since 2006, though the district has opened 96 school sites since then.

The board is also expected to cast votes regarding a request for an additional $1.4 million for the district's public television station, KLCS-TV, small schools that are under-enrolled and other programs.

In addition, the board is scheduled to vote on a proposal to ban the use of suspensions for so-called willful defiance. Under that category, disproportionate numbers of black males are being suspended, officials said. They say that out-of-school suspensions can lead students to fail and drop out.

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Twitter: @dalinac

dalina.castellanos@latimes.com

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