Opposition Builds to LAUSD Cuts in After-School Programs (Video)

Critics warn of the negative impact on neighborhoods from potentially having up to 42,000 elementary and middle school students on the streets instead of on campus playfields.

Six days after the California Department of Education turned down an appeal by the LAUSD to restore funding for after-school programs, some 50 parents, children and other community members gathered Friday outside to oppose the District’s own $7.5-million cut to the Beyond the Bell initiative, which could “dump 42,000 children onto the city streets and into latchkey status,” in the words of Board Member Bennett Kayser.

Kayser presided over the meeting, the second in eight days at Dahlia Heights, called on the issue of cuts to after-school programs. Featured speakers ranged from activists and parents to politicians and a school policeman. Much of what was said wasn’t new, but some of the speakers certainly conveyed the importance of ensuring that thousands of school kids not be forced off campuses at 3 p.m. and left to loiter in the streets until their parents pick them up.

Dahlia Heights is among 566 elementary and middle schools that will lose the “open-playground” Youth Services Program starting in the new school year unless the LAUSD Board agrees to restore funding. (Four out of seven board members must vote against the cuts for them to be averted.) It would be the first time since 1915 that the District will offer no after-school options to families in hundreds of schools.

Related: Dahlia Heights Parents Brace for Cuts to After-School Programs (Video) 

Jennifer N June 24, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Yay Lisa! If the public only knew how much money is wasted on downtown administration, and awarding contracts to friends. The categorical funds money grab from schools is the worst. Taking funds directly from our neediest schools to fund pet initiatives (and the lunches and meetings surrounding them). People should be asking their elected school board members, who supposedly decide funding, why they have allowed the superintendent to steal from our poorest students!
ERHS Moms June 24, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Why don't the citizens of Los Angeles make a more concerted effort to protest against these jokers? They have been misappropriating funds for thirty years or more now. It's simply unfathomable that John Deasy even has the job of superintendent! When he applied to LAUSD, (in '08?) he lied on his application about having a PhD, for which he only had 9 units and they STILL kept him. They are so ridiculous and a most particular brand of crook! No matter how bad they look they still have no fear of continuing their rotten ways. It's so hard to believe that they even care about students, at all, regardless of what they say, because their actions are so reprehensible! They come up with stupid pet projects one after another always claiming that THIS one will be the one to make all the difference to education. The only thing proven to help learning is lower class size, but instead of cutting the waste at the top of the administration downtown, they continue to cut the teachers thus harming the kids. At one time they said the ratio of teacher to administrator was 1 to 8, yet the ratio of teacher to student is now up to 1 to 42+. I wonder what percentage of administrators downtown have been cut? Back to Deasy: Why on earth does he think he needs or deserves a personal driver? It seems that everyone down on Beaudry is so self aggrandizing! Heck, they can't even return a phone call appropriately so why would we believe they have the best interests of our kids at heart?
AFG June 24, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Why can't they pay for their own parking? A lot of workers downtown pay for their own parking. I thought that drivers for them were banned years ago. These jokers just never quit! I don't even think they mind being sued- after all it's not their money. In any other corporate business the person who "misplaced" millions of dollars, or misappropriated funds, or got caught doing whatever wold be fired. It seems that the Board of Ed just divides and multiplies crooks, each one rottener than the one before. It's time for the teachers in LAUSD to ban together and stop taking this crap.
Elijah H June 24, 2012 at 07:23 PM
That's what I was wondering too. As far as I've heard, this only appears to be affecting schools with low free/reduced lunch enrollment; schools which don't qualify for outside additional funding for afterschool programs through LA's Best and other non-profits. Raging against the LAUSD beaurocracy is laudable, I agree that there is waste to be found. And I'll also make an argument here that the bloated LAUSD beaurocracy is an argument for charters, which partially bypass district-level waste (but unfortunately also end up self-funding budget deficiencies out of the pockets of parents). In my opinion, LAUSD should have been broken down into smaller, more efficient districts ages ago, and the resistance to that movement helped push parents to support the charter movement. The solutions sought above are worthwhile pursuing, but they are short-term. Those wasteful projects would only be replaced with something more egregious in time, it's just the nature of the beast which is LAUSD. I'd love to see Mr. Kayser working from inside LAUSD to change this culture. Instead, I see him speaking at events like this and promising support for the most vocal parents through short-term fixes. What about the schools in our area where parents can't be quite as involved, and can't stage a media event, Mr. Kayser? What are you doing for them?
Ajay Singh June 25, 2012 at 05:18 PM
In answer to a parent who asked Saturday about the fate of afterschool programs at Eagle Rock Elementary—and to other readers who might want to know—according to ERE Principal José Posada, the school has been informed by the Beyond The Bell Branch that its afterschool program will continue, but not in the same way as before. The “open playground” Youth Services Program is being eliminated (unless at least four of the seven LAUSD Board members vote against it in coming weeks, as the story above mentions). Meanwhile, what’s being retained is the Youth Development Program, which includes such activities as afterschool academic enrichment, homework support, recreation/physical fitness, and book reading aimed at improving comprehension skills. The programs, which served some 250 students at ERE, will be modified to serve a total of about 150, says Dr. Posada. Parents have received a letter from LAUSD, informing them that they need to make after-school care arrangements.


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