The Los Angeles Board of Education voted last week to enter a consent decree that would require the district to equalize funding for its schools, as demanded by black and Hispanic groups. (See Education Week, Dec. 11, 1991.)
The board voted 4 to 2, with one abstention, to enter into the consent decree negotiated over the past two years, but only after amending the decree this month in ways that were seen as likely to discourage its approval by the other parties involved.
Ron Rodriguez, a teacher, filed suit in 1986 alleging that the district's system for distributing resources resulted in stark funding inequities. He was backed by minority advocates who said black and Hispanic children suffer most from inequities among the city's 600 elementary and secondary schools.
The agreement calls for the district to allocate funds on a per-student basis, giving individual schools roughly equivalent amounts per child to be budgeted for teachers, administrators, supplies, and various services.
Under the current system, money follows teachers and allows some attractive schools to recruit disproportionately experienced faculties and receive more funding from the district. Lawyers for Mr. Rodriguez have asserted that schools in poor or minority neighborhoods can receive $300 to $400 less per student as a result.
A Los Angeles County superior-court judge last week declined to
accept or reject the agreement after the plaintiffs balked at
amendments barring mandatory employee transfers and reducing, to 90
percent from 95 percent, the percentage of schools that must be funded
equally by the fall of 1997.