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Partnership Awards Restructuring Grants to L.A. Schools

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Seven Los Angeles public schools last week won $10,000 grants from a joint public-private restructuring effort to help advance their school-based management ideas.

In addition, 26 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District will have access to management consultants and other technical experts as part of the effort to add momentum to school reform in the city.

The "school-restructuring initiative'' grants are sponsored by the district, United Teachers-Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Educational Partnership, a local business effort.

The schools that vied for the grants are among some 78 out of the total 600 in the district that have begun restructuring programs. But the district does not provide special funding for the initiative, and many restructuring efforts have become stalled because of a lack of funds, officials say.

"No business would try to change its management system to improve its product without making an investment in training and resources,'' said William Rusnack, the chairman of the partnership. "Unfortunately, because of severe budget cutbacks, that is what the Los Angeles Unified School District has had to do as it has tried to move to a school-based management system.''

Varied Uses

The schools that won the grants plan a variety of uses for the money.

The Alexander Hamilton High School Complex will use its grant to reorganize into five "schools within a school'' that emphasize music, math and science, foreign languages, humanities, and communication arts.

The Marlton School, a special-education facility, will use its grant to develop a sign-language program for parents of deaf students and to create a camping program for students.

Jefferson High School plans to buy translating machines so that Spanish-speaking parents can participate in reform meetings.

The other schools receiving the grants are Colfax Elementary School, Fourth Street Elementary School, Franklin High School, and Vaughn Street Elementary School.

In addition, a number of corporations plan to lend employees for management consulting at participating schools. Among the companies involved in that effort will be Apple Computer, International Business Machines Corporation, the Disney Channel, and G.T.E. California.--M.W.

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