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Superintendent seeks more resources, increased learning

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner has announced an effort to provide more resources to schools and improve student learning.

The initiative aims to develop a plan to move resources and decision-making from the bureaucracy to schools, to empower school leaders and teachers and more equitably fund schools.

The input of students, their parents and communities, along with teachers and school leaders, will be sought to help identify the needs of schools and students.

According to Beutner, the district will hire two firms to help in the effort.

Kitamba, an organization led by education professionals, has experience in education and will work to design strategies to build capacity and produce lasting improvements in learning and life outcomes for students. Ernst & Young has expertise in helping organizations find and implement ways to be more efficient.

Miguel Santana, Peter Taylor and Zev Yaroslavsky will work with Beutner and the district. They are lending their expertise to this effort as volunteers. Deputy Superintendent Vivian Ekchian will lead the effort from the district’s side.

Santana has nearly three decades of experience successfully managing municipal finances as the former chief administrative officer of the city of Los Angeles and as deputy chief executive officer of Los Angeles County. He is currently the president and CEO of Fairplex, which operates the Los Angeles County Fair.

Taylor is the president of ECMC Foundation, a national foundation that makes investments in postsecondary programs and initiatives focusing on college success and career readiness. He served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for the University of California system and was recently appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Board of Trustees of the California State University system.

Yaroslavsky is currently the director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Department of History. As a former Los Angeles County supervisor and City Council member, Yaroslavsky has four decades of public service working on issues ranging from school-based wellness, balancing city and county budgets, the environment, transportation and the arts.

“This is about empowering and supporting our school leaders and teachers, providing the resources needed to improve student learning and crafting a path to increased parent and community participation in schools,” Beutner said Aug. 10. “We are grateful for the support of the philanthropic community and the civic leaders who are involved in improving public education in Los Angeles.”

“Our students, teachers and school leaders deserve more resources to help them be at their best,” Santana said. “I’m honored to be partnering with L.A. Unified, parents and communities to improve our public schools.”

“This is an opportunity to make L.A. Unified work for all students,” Taylor said. “Equitably investing in schools and empowering school leaders and teachers is what our students, parents and communities need.”

“I’m excited about working with the greater Los Angeles community to ensure that every student receives an education that prepares them for the economy and society of the future,” Yaroslavsky said. “A thriving public education system is vital to the health and success of our communities and our cities.”

“This collaborative effort to better support our schools and improve student learning is fresh thinking from our new superintendent,” school board President Mónica García said. “This work will help us develop a plan to help our students most in need and continue our progress toward 100 percent graduation.”

The work of Kitamba and Ernst & Young is being funded by the Fund for Equity and Excellence, which was recently formed to help support public education in Los Angeles.

The initial funding partners of this effort include the Ballmer Group, California Community Foundation, California Endowment, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and Weingart Foundation.


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