Will There Be A Strike? What Happens Then?

If you haven’t heard, there’s been quite a bit of rumor swirling around about a potential teachers strike as LAUSD and UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles) hash out their labor negotiations. What does this mean? What will happen? When will it happen? What happens to my kids’ school if there’s a strike? What if I have to work when there’s a strike? Will schools shut down? Who’ll watch my kids???

I know. I know. So many questions, so many unknowns. These are good questions. All of them. For all of us.

I received the following additional questions from a working mom today, which made me decide to tackle these questions and share my response more widely with all of you parents in the hopes that it provide you with some understanding of where we are at currently with this pending situation.

Q: As you have heard, the LAUSD is possibly going on strike. We have been told by the principal that they will still have classes that will be combined and taught by administrators should there be a strike. Further, they are saying that if we do not attend these classes that our son would be marked as absent. This seems illegal to me. Do you know who I can contact that would know about whether or not some of these suggested strike actions are legal?
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Ok, let’s dive into this.
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In a perfect world, LAUSD and UTLA will be able to settle their differences, and come up with a workable solution through the mediation process they are currently going through, and avoid a strike altogether. However, UTLA’s members have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, and if they feel they need to use that tactic to get what they want, they have agreed to stand together should their leaders enact that option. Latest word I heard was that if it did happen, the strike wouldn’t be until December, but who knows. The negotiations are done privately. At any point if the mediation process breaks down, then yes, a strike is a definite possibility.

Meanwhile, LAUSD, and specifically LAUSD School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin, have assured me that should there be a strike, schools will NOT be shut down, they will bring in subs or whomever they can (administrators) to keep schools in session.

Also, understand that schools get paid by their ADA – Average Daily Attendance – money. This is just a fact of how schools are funded in our California public school system, which is why they are so adamant that attendance stay high, and if your child is not in school, why they insist you bring a doctor’s note or legitimate written excuse so they can still collect the daily attendance dollars. If a child is marked absent without an excuse, called an “unexcused absence,” schools are docked that child’s ADA amount for that day. So cumulatively, they are losing a lot of money due to absences. And this is why, at the end of the year if your child has more than 7 unexcused absences (you forgot to send the note!) they send you some threatening letter with a bunch of legalese under threat of prosecution that it is your parental responsibility to get your child to school or they will sue you. It’s all about money. And they are serious. [You can read all about excused and unexcused absences and attendance and Ed Code in this handy LAUSD tome, “School Attendance – A Parents Guide.” Or how chronically absent students cost a district millions of dollars here. And read the CA Legislative Analyst’s Office 2018 Update of K-12 Student Attendance and Funding.]

So, back to the labor issue. If there’s a strike and the majority of students walk out too – schools will not be getting paid their ADA funds multiplied by all the students who are absent during a strike. Meaning, the strike will not only affect teachers who will lose teacher pay for each day gone, but school budgets will also be impacted with lost ADA funds each day a strike wages on and students do not attend. It is NOT a win-win. It is quite a lose-lose for everyone, unless UTLA and LAUSD can end up cutting a deal they can live with and UTLA calls off the strike threat.

Complicating matters is that with the rising fiscal cliff of unpaid health and pension benefits careening towards LAUSD, taking up a significant portion of the annual operating budget and driving them towards near insolvency, if LAUSD doesn’t balance their budget, the State and County have already come knocking twice to warn LAUSD that they WILL take over if they cut a deal with UTLA that they cannot afford. So it is a dramatic time right now as both sides continue the mediation process. A process which is done between the negotiating partners, which we-the-people-the-stakeholders have no say or control over.

It’s worth mentioning that since Independent Charters have the flexibility to hire and fire and negotiate their own staff’s benefit packages directly, and have the autonomy to manage their own budgets and governance decisions, they will NOT be impacted at all should there be a strike.

But LAUSD neighborhood schools, Affiliated Converted Charter schools, Magnets, Dual Language Programs, Schools For Advanced Studies (SAS) Programs, Small Learning Communities (SLCs), Academic Criteria Schools (ACS), as well as other Specialized Academies within LAUSD, will ALL be impacted by these negotiations and potential strike.

I hope this explanation helps you understand the process and ramifications. I am holding hope that the strike is avoided and a settlement can be reached. For all our sakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Webinars Just Added!

The GoMamaGuide “Lunch & Learn” Webinar Series has officially launched and I want to thank everyone who has participated so far! I am loving the no-driving part, seriously. Brilliant.

Since it’s eChoices season and several of you weren’t able to jump on those first few webinars, I’ve added two more that will directly help you with your eChoices application.

An additional Mastering Magnets webinar is scheduled for this Thursday, October 11…

And since SAS joins Gifted Magnets as part of the eChoices app this year, you might want to also check out Understanding Gifted Options next Tuesday, October 16 where we cover all your GIFTED worries, and break down the goods on SAS, GATE, and that string of acronyms: GHA, HG, HGA, IHP.

All Webinars start at 12p and run 60 mins. But if you can’t make it live, don’t sweat it, as long as you sign up BEFORE the start of the webcast, you’ll get the replay for another 7 days afterward. To sign up, just CLICK ON THE PICTURE (above) of the event you’d like to attend. If you have related questions you’d like me to cover, you can email them to me in advance, or use the live interactive Q&A feature during the webinar. Learning has never been so easy, informative, and focused on just what you need to hear. It’s like we’re together, but without all the LA hassle.

So grab a snack and your burning school questions, and join me for a Lunch & Learn Webinar. Book your spot today!

Heads Up! SAS Now Included in Oct/Nov EChoices App!

Heads Up Everyone.

If you are considering applying to an SAS or Schools For Advanced Studies (gifted) program for next year, LAUSD has moved the application deadline from March (when it had previously been due), to the newly revamped Oct/Nov eChoices application.

That means SAS apps are DUE by Friday, November 9, 2018 by 5p. 

FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS EARLIER THAN LAST YEAR!

Yep.

This is causing a slight last-minute panic, both for SAS schools AND parents, however I have gathered everything you will need to get this done on time.

Here are the bullet points:

• You will have up to 3 choices for SAS on the eChoices application, so choose and sequence them wisely. You will have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice, so think about which SAS school you want the most, and also consider which one is most likely to have space as residents will have priority enrollment in the school before SAS applicants.

• You only have the potential to draw one SAS offer from the eChoices lottery, however you could also apply and get drawn for a Magnet AND a Dual Language Program AND an Admissions Criteria School (new category) as well. In fact, you could ostensibly win all 5 program categories on the eChoices application. Then you will have to make a choice between programs.

• So to recap, if you want to apply to some SAS programs, you will do it in Oct/Nov on the online eChoices application while you’re also applying for Magnets, Dual Language Programs, an Admission Criteria School, and also Permits With Transportation (if your school is a sending school.)

• If the SAS program you are interested in is also an Affiliated Converted Charter School, you cannot use this process. You must apply directly through the school’s onsite non-resident lottery. At a later date. Set by each school. (Valley, Palisades peeps, we’re mainly talking about you here!)

• There are NO POINTS for any program EXCEPT the Magnet program. (That’s a relief!)

• Additionally, in order to apply to an SAS program, your child must meet the GIFTED eligibility threshold and submit the necessary paperwork by the Nov 9th deadline. 

• There are multiple ways to meet eligibility, however probably the easiest method is to have your child’s Teacher and Principal or Director fill out the Verification of Eligibility Form, especially if your child is coming from preschool, private school, a charter, or another non-LAUSD program.

• In addition, for incoming Kindergarten SAS applicants, you will also need your child’s current Teacher and/or Director to fill out and sign the SAS Kindergarten Readiness Checklist Form.

To repeat, you’ll need BOTH these forms (linked below) filled out and signed:

The Verification of Eligibility Form
The SAS Kindergarten Readiness Checklist Form

Send the signed completed forms either by mail or deliver in person BEFORE the Friday, November 9, 2018 5p deadline:

U.S. Mail:
Unified Enrollment
P.O. Box 513307
Los Angeles,  CA  90051

or Hand Deliver:
L.A. Unified Headquarters/Unified Enrollment
25th Floor Reception Desk
333 South Beaudry Ave
Los Angeles, CA  90017

Don’t you love a good paperwork scramble? Yeah. I thought so.

• If your child is already enrolled in an LAUSD school and has already been identified as GATE, the District will automatically check the student’s eligibility through the school’s records so in that case you won’t need to submit these forms.

SAS Schools Alphabetical List
SAS Schools FAQ
SAS Schools List by Grade Level

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SAS-eChoices Commentary:
(Warning! Tanya’s getting on her soapbox. Hey, my blog, my soapbox!)

I’ve been calling around to various SAS schools for the past week to gather as much intel as possible ahead of this October 1st eChoices/SAS launch, and I can tell you after speaking with more than half a dozen SAS school office personnel, they are just as “in the dark” about these new application changes as “we the people” are. One Office Manager from a prominent SAS program asked me to call her back once I found out what the new policy was! Really? So instead of the SAS School being the source of intel, the parent has to be? Really? Another SLC Coordinator from an equally high profile SAS school in another part of town echoed similar sentiments. She just kind of sighed and resolved herself that this year “we’ll just figure it out as we go.”

Oh great. Tell that to the parents who were not informed of the changes, who will show up in March and have completely missed the SAS deadline.

Well yes, there’s a late application starting in February, but your child will then be placed at the bottom of the already sequenced waitlist. Result? Well…you do the math.

True to LAUSD form, this notion of consolidating a number of program applications onto a “common app” and moving the deadline a good 4.5 months earlier than usual should have been rolled out and announced widely months before we all found ourselves at the start of the application cycle. However that simply was not the case. It appears that some SAS schools are literally just now finding out about these new changes right at the same time you are, creating unnecessary stress and confusion in what could have been a smoother, more inclusive rollout. Or maybe the Principal or Magnet Coordinator knew about it, but the office staff fielding parent phone calls had no idea at all. I guarantee there will be disappointed parents who “didn’t get the memo” (since as far as I can tell there wasn’t one) who will bring their paper SAS apps to the schools in March just like in previous years, only to find they will now be placed hopelessly far down the waitlist and have little chance of enrollment. Because. No. Notice.

And shall I continue?

You know what’s great about producing a list of all 288 SAS programs all cutely colored and listed in alphabetical order?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing is great about that. Except for, um, at least there’s a list. 

You’ve got elementaries along with middles and high schools, all mashed together in one long alphabetical list of schools that span over 720 square miles across this vast behemoth of a city. Clearly no one on the “eChoices Common App Graphics and Strategic Planning Team” has ever ACTUALLY had to find a school for their kid within a reasonable commuting distance from where they live.

Ok LAUSD. Let me break it down for you.

For a parent seeking a school for their children, this is absolutely not helpful. I mean, if my 2nd grader needs an SAS program and I live in Van Nuys, why the heck do I want to wade through a 3-column multi-page list of hundreds of schools I’ve never heard of, mixing San Pedro schools with Silver Lake schools with schools in Cheviot Hills and KTown? And how the heck am I going to know the difference if I’ve never even heard of these schools to begin with? It doesn’t work, folks.

I feel like that scene in Spinal Tap, where Nigels’s backstage playing with his “mini” baloney sandwich….

“I’ve been working with this now for about half an hour… I can’t figure out….”

 

 

So in conclusion, parents, here is your memo.

The SAS application is now going to be part of the eChoices application which means it, and all the necessary supporting eligibility documentation, will be due by Friday, November 9th before 5p. Do this at the same time you are applying for Magnets, and Dual Language Immersions, and that other new category, ACS, and Permits with Transportation if you qualify for those.

Should you find you need assistance with this or any of your K-12 Los Angeles public school choices, please know I am available for phone and in-home consultations, and I would be more than happy to work with you to come up with your very own personalized public school plan based on your specific needs and what makes sense for your family.

Best of luck to all of you.

xo

(exit soapbox.)

 

 

GoMamaGuide Launches New “LUNCH & LEARN” WEBINAR Series!

Just in time for LAUSD’s new 2019 eChoices application period (which opens Monday, October 1st – due Friday, November 9th), I’m launching my new GoMamaGuide “Lunch & Learn” Webinar Series featuring live interactive online classes to help you get schooled in the essentials of public school choice. These are the classes I’ve been teaching to stressed out parents all over Los Angeles for over a decade!

Many of you have been asking for more seminars and rather than try to hit every neighborhood in LA, with these online webinars no one has to deal with traffic, or find parking, or book a sitter, or even agree on a date. I will be running them at noon so we can still schedule in-home visits in the evenings. So join us from the comfort of your computer, get savvy while you lunch, and if you can’t make it, or want to review it, you can catch the replay for another 7 days afterward.

Here are the first three webinars in the lineup. More will be announced soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanya Anton is the creator of GoMamaGuide and author of a series of guidebooks helping parents navigate the daunting array of K-12 public school choices throughout greater Los Angeles. A frequent guest speaker and public education consultant, Tanya has appeared on NPR’s “Which Way LA” seven times, presented on motherhood and social activism in NYC, lobbied against school budget cuts up in Sacramento, and also appeared before the LAUSD School Board on several issues. Having spoken to literally thousands of stressed-out parents about to enter the LA school system, Tanya has inspired many to not only reconsider their public school options but also become a vital yet interconnected agent of change within them. Visit GoMamaGuide.com.

 

 

 

 

 

First Day of School 2018!

Get those backpacks ready! It’s almost time…

And in case you aren’t sure of when, the following might help:

First/Last Day of School 2018-2019

*Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD):  Aug 14, 2018 – June 7, 2019

*This includes LAUSD neighborhood schools, magnets, affiliated converted charters, dual language programs, small learning communities, specialized academies, and SAS programs.

Other districts:

Beverly Hills Unified:  Aug 13, 2018 – May 30, 2019

Burbank Unified (BUSD):  Aug 13, 2018 – May 23, 2019

Culver City Unified (CCUSD):  Aug 27, 2018 – June 14, 2019

El Segundo Unified (ESUSD):  Aug 29, 2018 – June 14, 2019

Glendale Unified (GUSD):  Aug 22, 2018 – June 11, 2019

Santa Monica Malibu Unified (SMMUSD):  Aug 23, 2018 – June 12, 2019

*Independent Charters get to set their own calendars as long as they cover the required number of instructional days/minutes as per the law, so each is different. Check with your individual charter school for their start/end dates.

Let us know if you’re feeling happy, sad, excited, nervous, enthusiastic, apprehensive, determined, something else, or all of the above when it comes to going back to school!

Last Chance for eChoices/Magnets TODAY!

echoices18

Last chance to get that eChoices app in is TODAY! Thursday, November 9th before 5p. You can go back in and review, reprioritize, or change your Magnet and Dual Language Program choices, but whatever is on your application by 5p today is what gets submitted.

To those of you who are applying, whether you are trying to get in, or to NOT get in and collect those points, or you don’t even care about magnets and just want one of those Language Immersions, I wish you all good luck!

Initial results will be emailed to you in late March.

 

 

Mastering Magnets Webinar This Monday Nov 6 at 12p

New Webinar!

MASTERING MAGNET SCHOOLS:
Everything You Need to Know (Those Points!)

This Monday, November 6th, 2017 

12p

$40

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In this 60 minute webinar, we’ll break it all down. Magnets: what they are, how to apply (step-by-step), what’s new for 2018 and that darn that “Point System” demystified. Learn how to maximize your eChoices strategy for optimal results. With LIVE Q&A.

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Registration is now closed. Please check back for future webinars.

Mayday, Mayday, The LAUSD School Finder Is Lost!

Tues, 10/31 UPDATE: The School Identifier is back up, thankfully!

Dear LAUSD,

You couldn’t have picked a worse time to have your Resident School Identifier go down. It’s been 4 days now. We are at the height of school admission frenzy as we make our final sprint towards that November 9th eChoices deadline. People are trying to look up their “zoned schools” to determine their options, or if they have suddenly become zoned into one of your 35 new (!) magnet schools, or a dual language program, or your newly created “zone of choice” areas, and/or if they will have residential priority (aka “Continuous Enrollment”) at one of these new magnet schools or other programs, and right now your link is completely dead. DEAD. Nada. And has been since Friday. And this other page you send us to, to “find a school” in the above matters, is frankly, USELESS.

Leader in technology?  Not so much. This is basic stuff here LAUSD. C’mon. Folks need to find their zoned schools right now. It’s rather critical. And time sensitive. If you refuse to  publish the actual maps mapping out school boundary lines, and insist we use your digital Resident School Identifier, but then even that doesn’t work, parents got nuthin’!

Hope you get on it and fix it, like, stat!

Thanks so much for letting me vent…

…on behalf of all of your dear parents who are feeling the squeeze!

xo

UPDATE: Monday afternoon: I called LAUSD and was told they are aware of the situation and are “working on it.”

PHBAO, Overcrowded and Twins Points UPDATE for 2018-19 Magnet Application

 

OVERCROWDED POINTS UPDATE
It’s been brought to my attention that there are a handful of neighborhood schools, out of the nearly 1300 within LAUSD, that will buy you an extra four “Overcrowded” points on the Magnet eChoices application.

Overcrowded points historically were assigned for zoned schools that were so full they had to operate on a multi-track year, meaning a group of students started school in the fall, and another group started in the summer or even in multiple tracks in multiple months, and school went year-round in order to fit everyone in.

After LAUSD spent all those billions of dollars worth of bond money building out 131 new schools over the past decade, (the largest buildout in the country btw), we ended multi-track schools, we ended CAP sending and receiving, (busing kids from overcrowded schools to under-enrolled schools), the final multi-track school, Bell High School, went to a single track calendar and those 4 “Overcrowded” points went the way of the dodo bird, from what I understood. They became extinct. Nobody had them.

But I just spent 20 minutes on hold with the LAUSD Office of Student Integration (you’re welcome) in order to verify this astounding discovery. While so many schools across LAUSD are now under-enrolled, there are currently 9 LAUSD schools that are in OVERCROWDED status believe it or not, according to last year’s list, meaning if you are zoned to one of these schools, you get an extra 4 points!

Now, I was told that this is last year’s list and the new list for 2018-19 will not come out until December – AFTER the Magnet deadline – however, she did confirm that these are the schools on the current Overcrowded list:

92nd Street
Bridges
Carpenter EL
Dixie Canyon EL
Franklin EL
Hesby Oaks
Kittridge EL
MacArthur Park VAPA EL
Wisdom EL

Playa Vista EL and Westwood EL, who have recently moved their TK programs off to nearby hub schools to make additional room on campus were on my mind, which I specifically asked about, and as far as she was concerned, were not on the list. Yet. Check back in December though when the list updates.

PHBAO POINTS
As for determining PHBAO status, in addition to calling your zoned school’s office, or waiting 20-30 minutes on hold for a person at the Office of Student Integration to get to your call, I found this PHBAO LIST of Schools online, (also to be updated in December), but it will at least give you a good idea of current standings. PHBAO stands for Predominantly Hispanic, Black, Asian and Other, (i.e. the majority is non-Caucasian) and if you are zoned to one of these schools, you get 4 points. We cover this extensively in my talks and consultations, and you can learn all about points in my latest guidebook, The GoMamaGuide to LAUSD.

***ALSO NEW! TWINS/MULTIPLES ADVANTAGE
For 2018-19, eChoices finally worked some magic to support families with TWINS and MULTIPLES!! Before now, each child was treated as an individual and took their shot in the lottery, which meant many times only one child would get in and the other twin was out of luck until the following year when they would get those extra 3 sibling points. Now, if one twin gets in, the other twin or multiples jump up to the next number(s) on the top of the list. Meaning, if there is one more seat available, they will get it. In essence, finally being able to allow twins and multiples to get in together in the same program in the same year.

We discussed how crazily upward trending (and by that I mean unaffordable) real estate has started to force out diversity in certain neighborhoods, so schools that once were PHBAO, are no longer PHBAO, and therefore families who have siblings already attending the magnet program who have a younger rising sibling whose zoned school has fallen out of PHBAO will likely have NO chance of getting their siblings in, since Sibling status only gives you 3 points, yet PHBAO status gives someone 4 points. Since this whole magnet system works on a weighted points-based lottery starting from the highest down to the lowest points, the way this is currently set up, a particular magnet program would have to exhaust ALL their PHBAO applicants before a Sibling-nonPHBAO student could get in to join their other sibling. Meaning, families will become divided with little chance of keeping their kids together in the same magnet program.

I asked this administrator to please take this concern to her superiors and magnet coordinators, because inadvertently this points-based discrepancy will be splitting families apart. I suggested at a minimum giving siblings 4 points – equal to PHBAO points – so at least the playing field is level. She seemed receptive to my concerns and said she would bring it up at the next meeting. If you too are concerned about this, please talk with your magnet coordinators so they can discuss potential adjustments for future years, just as they were able to do with this year’s TWIN/MULTIPLE FIX.

As always, if you have no idea what I’m talking about and your head is spinning with question marks about all these points, let’s book a call to go over your magnet strategy and I’ll do my best to shoehorn you into my schedule right now.

That’s all I got for the moment. Hope you enjoyed the update.
-Tanya

 

 

 

 

 

GoMamaGuide to LAUSD: Elementary Edition has arrived!

Hey folks,

I’ve been promising to write this guidebook literally for years, and now, HERE IT IS!

Packed with information yet delivered in easily understood bite-sized pieces. Get the Big Guide to LAUSD. Covers every region within LAUSD: North, South, East and West!

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**Just Released! Biggest Guide Yet!

GoMamaGuide to LAUSD – Elementary Edition
LA Public Schools Demystified
By Tanya Anton

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* Offers a thorough understanding of ALL your LAUSD public school options
* Outlines how (and when) to tackle each type of application process
* Magnets and “The Point System” demystified
* How Charters work and who is eligible
* Dual Language Immersions, GATE, Open Enrollment, and other options
* Permitting in and out of District
* How to tour: what to look for in a school and more…
* Learn how to expertly navigate schools in LAUSD!
.* Covers how to navigate all of LAUSD!
Includes:
* Complete List of all LAUSD Public Elementary Schools (broken down by category and region)
* Handy month-by-month Application Timeline
* Evaluating Your Priorities Exercise
* Bonus Materials, Charts and Resources
* Nearly 70 pages!
* All this for only $30 –about what you’d spend on a pilates class!
* No need to leave home — Guidebook shipped to your door!
Note: 
Individual schools are not ranked or profiled. For individual assistance, and to find the best fit schools for your child, please consider booking a consultation with me.
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GoMamaGuides have already helped thousands of LA parents.
About the GoMamaGuidebooks:
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