The Los Angeles Unified School District board will consider a $1.1 million plan Tuesday aimed at resolving class-scheduling issues at Jefferson High School that left some students unable to attend courses they need for graduation and some being sent home or being assigned to classes they had already passed.
The scheduling issues led to a judge issuing an order requiring state education officials to intervene in the situation and work with the district to develop an immediate resolution.
The district’s staff will propose to the board that the school day at Jefferson High School be extended for 30 minutes for 124 days to help affected students make up for lost learning time. The proposed resolution also calls for the addition of classes and funding for support services, such as student transportation.
According to a staff report, the district asked officials with the state Department of Education for financial assistance, “as there is not a budget for these expenditures.” State officials, however, “indicated that they are not able to provide financial assistance.”
Last week, Alameda Superior Court Judge George Hernandez Jr. issued a temporary restraining order requiring the state to step in and help resolve the problem.
The judge’s order required state officials to meet with the district, identify every Jefferson student assigned to two or more so-called “content- less” or home classes and those assigned to classes they have already passed, and offer them substitute courses. They were also ordered to develop a system for providing additional instruction time for students who were enrolled in classes late.
According to the district, officials identified 48 Jefferson High students enrolled in two or more periods of home or “service” courses. They also identified 204 juniors and seniors who were retaking a course they had already passed, but many of them were re-taking courses such as computers, design, physical education or band that were designed to be taken multiple times.
As part of the proposal being presented to the board Tuesday, the district also plans to review class schedules for the next semester at the school “to alleviate large class size and expand curriculum offerings by adding courses needed by students.”
The review of the school found that there are sufficient instruction materials available at the campus, but some additional teachers may be needed, and some classrooms may need to be adjusted to ensure there is adequate room for the number of students who need to take certain classes.
Hernandez wrote in his ruling that the scheduling problems at Jefferson High School are due “in part to Jefferson’s (and/or LAUSD’s) inability to implement new scheduling software,” a reference to the district’s troubled MiSiS computerized student information system.
The judge noted that there was “no evidence of any organized effort to help those students who have been assigned to courses several weeks into the semester to catch up to their peers.”
The ruling was made as part of a lawsuit in Alameda County alleging state shortcomings in ensuring adequate educational opportunities at selected campuses statewide.
Continuing issues with the MiSiS computer system have added to mounting criticism of Superintendent John Deasy, whose future with the district has come into question. During its meeting Tuesday, the school board is also expected to have another closed-door discussion about its pending performance review of Deasy.
Following a similar discussion two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times reported that the board had asked its staff to have discussions with Deasy about a possible agreement for him to step aside.
Deasy’s contract with the district lasts until June 2016, but it can be terminated by the board at any time with 30 days notice.
— City News Service