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Villaraigosa’s school rule in court’s hands

first_img(818) 713-3722160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The fate of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s education-reform bill rests in the hands of a state appellate court panel, which heard arguments from both sides Monday. The state Court of Appeals panel is expected to rule late this month on whether the Legislature has the authority to give Villaraigosa control over Los Angeles Unified – the key to the success of Assembly Bill 1381. The ruling can be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The bill was authored by the mayor, in collaboration with the district’s teachers union, and ultimately signed into law last September. It would shift much of the school board’s authority to the district’s superintendent and grant Villaraigosa direct oversight of three clusters of low-performing schools. But the school board successfully challenged the law, touching off a series of legal maneuvers that led to Monday’s hearing. The LAUSD argued that the Legislature overstepped its authority in granting Villaraigosa a role in running the district. General Counsel Kevin Reed said a ruling in the appellants’ favor would have some “fairly serious unintended consequences down the road.” “It does open the door for really any entity that the Legislature decides is – like the mayor, a decent guy with a lot of charisma and a lot of passion for what he wants to do – to put that individual in charge of schools,” said Kevin Reed, the district’s general counsel. “It’s a pretty dangerous argument.” But Thomas Saenz, the chief counsel for Villaraigosa, said lawmakers need to be able to change school governance in order to ensure student success. “All of those reform efforts designed to improve education for kids are imperiled if you end up with a constitutional right of school board members to retain all of the authority they’ve always had, and that’s essentially what’s being argued,” Saenz said. [email protected] last_img read more