Education A National Roundup

L.A. Mayor Scales Back Bid for Control Over School System

By Lesli A. Maxwell — July 11, 2006 1 min read

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s bid for control of the nation’s second-largest district has taken a more modest form as it wends its way through the California legislature.

Mr. Villaraigosa’s original plan to strip the Los Angeles Unified School District’s elected school board of nearly all its authority drew fierce opposition from the local teachers’ union and its statewide affiliate. (“L.A. Mayor Seeks Role in District,” April 26, 2006.)

The first-term mayor, a Democrat and a former lobbyist for United Teachers Los Angeles, agreed to rewrite his proposal and give teachers a central role in choosing curricula and shaping instruction—responsibilities that have been controlled by the central office.

The union and its affiliate, the California Teachers Association, are now supporting Mr. Villaraigosa’s bid, but the 727,000-student Los Angeles district remains vehemently opposed. His new plan, which cleared its first legislative committee late last month, includes a mayors’ council that would consist of Mr. Villaraigosa and the mayors of the 26 other municipalities served by the district.

The council would select a superintendent, who would control the budget and handle contracting responsibilities now managed by the elected school board.

Mr. Villaraigosa’s plan must survive several more votes before it reaches Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, who has said he would sign the measure.

A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week