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August 6, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Two hearing-impaired teenagers received another chance to pursue lawsuits against their Southern California school districts Tuesday for transcription services for classes. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided unanimously that lower courts had misapplied the law in ruling for the school districts and returned the cases to district judges for reconsideration. K.M., a student in the Tustin Unified School District in Orange County, and D.H., a student in the Poway Unified School District in San Diego County, sued after they said they were denied a trained stenographer to provide real-time captioning of conversations on computer monitors.
August 6, 2013 | By Howard Blume
The Los Angeles Unified School District, and seven others in California, will have more freedom to spend millions of federal dollars, create new ways to evaluate teachers and schools and replace restrictive testing and other rules, under a groundbreaking agreement announced Tuesday. The eight school systems are the first in the country to win such rights based on a direct appeal to the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, the department would consider exemptions to the No Child Left Behind law only if state governments applied.
July 30, 2013 | By Stephen Ceasar
The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday invited districts nationwide to begin applying for the latest batch of high-profile federal school-reform grants. Individual school districts will be able to seek about $120 million in “Race to the Top” federal funds. The four-year awards will range from $4 million to $30 million, depending on the population of students served. The Department of Education is expecting to make 15 to 25 awards. “The Race to the Top-District competition is an opportunity for trailblazing districts across the country to implement models of personalized learning so that every child graduates college- and career-ready,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement.
July 24, 2013 | By Stephen Ceasar
The Arcadia Unified School District and the U.S. Department of Education have reached an agreement to end an investigation into allegations of discrimination against a transgender student, officials said Wednesday. The resolution, which the Arcadia school board passed unanimously Tuesday, closes an investigation by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights into whether the district prohibited a student, who was born female but identifies as a male, from accessing boys restrooms and locker rooms because he is transgender.
July 8, 2013 | By Richard Winton
Redlands school district officials waited six weeks to tell police about allegations of a sexual relationship between a teenage student and a teacher who later gave birth to his baby, according to court records. The Redlands Police Department said in a search warrant that school officials appeared to ignore state law, which requires educators to immediately report abuse allegations to authorities. The teacher, Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, was charged Monday with multiple sex crimes involving three boys who were her students.
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.
July 1, 2013 | By Anthony York
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown ushered in the most sweeping changes to the way California funds its public schools in 25 years on Monday, signing into law a new funding formula that was the centerpiece of his legislative agenda for the year.  Schools that serve low-income students and non-native English speakers will receive more money under the formula, while all school districts will be given new flexibility in how they spend the funds they receive...
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 7, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Many Californians have helped their schools in recent years by voting for bonds to build and refurbish campuses. For the most part, the investment in schools has been necessary and right, but that doesn't mean voters always got their full money's worth. As Times staff writer Dan Weikel reported this week, many school districts have gotten around the state's prohibitions on spending public money for bond campaigns by forging relationships with companies that stand to benefit when the bond is issued - underwriters or building contractors.
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