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July 7, 2013 | By Stephen Ceasar
In his 40-year career in education, Don Brann has led districts big and small, created a chain of charter schools and revitalized faltering school systems. But he has never come across a district in such dire straits as his next challenge - Inglewood Unified School District. "I don't think anyone has," he said. "This is an extraordinary situation. " Last week Brann took the helm of the financially troubled school system - one that has been taken over by the state, must bridge a massive deficit and prepare to begin paying back a $55-million state loan, while also staving off plummeting enrollment.
June 26, 2013 | By Richard Winton
The family of a teenage girl sexually abused by a Chino Hills High School science teacher even after officials learned of inappropriate emails between them has been awarded $5.6 million by a jury. The Chino Valley Unified School District was ordered to pay 60% of the verdict handed down Tuesday by a Rancho Cucamonga jury, and the former teacher, John Hirsch, who is now a convicted sex offender, must pay the remainder. "The jury was outraged at the school district's conduct. This could have been easily prevented if the school had chosen to protect the student, instead of protecting the teacher," said attorney David Ring, who represented the girl's family.
June 20, 2013 | By Jean Merl
The Long Beach Unified School District has won a $2.6-million judgment in its lawsuit against a former student who falsely accused classmate and football player Brian Banks of rape, officials said Thursday. "The court recognizes that our school district was a victim in this case," district Supt. Christopher J. Steinhauser said in a statement. "This judgment demonstrates that when people attempt to defraud our school system, they will feel the full force of the law. " The Los Angeles County Superior Court judgment handed down June 17 includes the $750,000 settlement the district had originally paid to Wanetta Gibson, as well as interest, attorney fees and $1 million in punitive damages.
June 2, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Approved by voters in November, Proposition 39 is expected to raise close to $1 billion a year by eliminating a tax break enjoyed by some multistate businesses. The money, however, comes with a significant string attached: For the first five years, half of it must be spent on projects that improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions. Gov. Jerry Brown wants to direct next year's allotment exclusively to public schools and community colleges, which isn't a bad idea. But he's doing it in a way that violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the initiative.
May 21, 2013 | By Ruben Vives
Los Alamitos Unified School District is scheduled to vote Tuesday evening on a proposed plan to increase athletic facility fees, including controversial rental rates based on the number of people using a sports field. Dubbed as a capital improvement plan, district officials say the new fees will help generate funds for large-scale projects and major repairs to the fields. But critics argue that the plan is costly -- as much as a 600% increase in some cases -- and it would affect mostly youth sports programs, which rent the softball and fields for games.
May 13, 2013 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
A group of parents and students have filed a federal lawsuit against the Compton school district alleging a pattern of abuse and racial profiling of Latinos by school police. One family alleged that school police targeted a student's father for arrest and deliberately got him deported to Mexico after he filed a complaint against an officer. In another incident, school officers allegedly beat, pepper sprayed and used a chokehold on a bystander who was taking video of an arrest on his iPod, and erased cellphone videos taken by students.
May 11, 2013 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Can a public high school hold its graduation ceremony in a local church? The Supreme Court has been pondering that question in its private conference for six weeks, discussing whether to take up a Wisconsin case that could reset the line separating church and state. Last year, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that the Elmbrook School District, near Milwaukee, violated the 1st Amendment and its ban on "an establishment of religion" by holding a high school graduation ceremony in the sanctuary of an evangelical Christian church.
May 8, 2013 | By Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times
Cheerleaders in a small Texas town can continue to display their Bible verse banners at football games, after a district judge ruled Wednesday that their actions did not violate the Constitution. The cheerleaders in the football-dominated town of Kountze garnered national attention when they sued the school district in a case that pitted free-speech rights and religious freedom against the doctrine of separation of church and state. Hardin County 365th Judicial District Court Judge Stephen Thomas said the banners that included religious messages - such as "If God is for us, who can be against us?
May 7, 2013 | By Howard Blume
Los Angeles school district officials knew of sexual misconduct allegations in 2009 against a teacher at a Wilmington campus who was arrested more than three years later, the district's top administrator confirmed Tuesday. The teacher, Robert Pimentel, 57, was arrested in January. Some of the charges result from alleged conduct at De La Torre Elementary that occurred well after senior administrators apparently became aware of concerns raised by parents in 2009. L.A. schools Supt.
April 30, 2013 | By Abby Sewell
Los Angeles County officials rejected a bid Tuesday from several Santa Clarita Valley school districts and a water district hoping to consolidate elections and avoid the kind of voting rights lawsuits that other local governments have been hit with. The measure failed on a 2-2 vote, with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining. County election officials  opposed the change, arguing that shifting the districts to November even-year elections would exceed their ability to conduct elections.
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