Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California last week signed into law a bill that gives Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa substantial authority over his city’s public schools.
Starting Jan. 1, Mr. Villaraigosa and a council of mayors that represents the 26 other cities that lie within the boundaries of the 727,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District will share authority over the district’s budget and choice of a superintendent with the elected school board.
Mr. Villaraigosa, a Democrat, will have direct control over three low-performing high schools and the middle and elementary schools that feed into them.
Gov. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, signed the legislation, which has been championed by the mayor, at a jam-packed news conference at the Los Angeles Central Library.
However, the measure still is likely to face legal challenges before it takes effect. The Los Angeles school board, which vigorously fought the mayor’s plan in the California legislature, has said it will sue over the question of whether the state constitution permits the power-sharing arrangement.
A version of this article appeared in the September 27, 2006 edition of Education Week