Angry Adult Ed Supporters Threaten Recall of LAUSD Board Members

School board president gets lion’s share of blame for cuts to adult education.

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

Charging that the Los Angeles Unified School District school board plans to eliminate adult and early childhood education in June, concerned adult students and educators took to the streets twice last week in protest.

Related story: LAUSD School Board President Target of Recall

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Manifestantes Amenazan con Destituir a los Miembros de la Junta de LAUSD

Their picket signs and messages increasingly threaten a recall of Board President Mónica García and her fellow members on the school board.

Hundreds of protesters from all over LA County took over Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights last Friday, March 29. LAPD Hollenbeck Police Captain Anita Ortega, who watched the protest from across the street, put the crowd at close to 500.

Much of the protesters’ anger was directed at García, who represents many of the schools on the Eastside.

“[Monica García] Nobody wants you here,” one speaker said Friday from the Mariachi Plaza stage. “When we decide to remove you, we will remove you,” someone yelled out in Spanish.

Protesters rallied at Mariachi Plaza on March 29, and at Lincoln Park on March 30. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Anger-filled words on protest signs were everywhere.

“Monica: Adult Education isn’t business, isn’t luxury, isn’t politics. It’s a right,” read one protest sign. “Dump Monica,” and “Hey Monica! Next March you’ll need job training, too!” read other signs.

When asked why their posters focused on Garcia, protesters said it’s because of her background and position on the board.

“Shame on Monica García, isn’t she a Latina? Didn’t her family learn to speak English?” said Jaime Franklin, an English teacher at the adult school at Franklin High School in Highland Park.

“This is where her office is and she is board president,” Hollywood Community Adult School teacher Carlos Palm told EGP, while carrying a sign calling García a “traitor.”

Last month, the LAUSD school board approved a budget for the 2012-13 school year that maintains adult and early education, but only if furlough and salary concessions are approved by labor unions.

It also requires voters to approve a $298 tax on every parcel in the school district.

The plan was approved 6 to 1, with only Board Member Marguerite LaMotte (District 1) opposing.

"Recall/volunteers" signed in for the rally in Lincoln Park. EGP Photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo

However, after the vote Superintendent John Deasy cautioned that cuts could still come if UTLA doesn’t make concessions or if the governor makes more cuts to education between May and November. LAUSD has also considered cutting after-school programs and increasing class size, and over 11,000 employees have already received pink-slip layoff notices.

On Saturday in Lincoln Heights, a smaller group of protesters again rallied against the cuts to adult education and promoted a recall of García.

“RecallMonicaGarcia.com Pink Slip for Monica Garcia!” one sign read, the website is not fully developed.

An organizer at the Lincoln Park protest told EGP more information can be found at saveadulted.org and on Facebook under “Save Adult Education.”

John Fernandez, a former LAUSD teacher and school board candidate, was especially strong in his criticism of García, calling her a “vendida, hypócrita … es la muerte” (sell-out, hypocrite and death incarnate).

He accused Garcia of being loyal to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose partnership is running several schools in the city with mixed results, and noted her ties to Councilmember Jose Huizar and former school board candidate Luis Sanchez. Sanchez was one of Fernandez’s opponents in the race for the board— neither candidate won.

Epimenio Ponce attends Roosevelt-Garfield Community Adult School. He told the crowd he plans to collect recall signatures at his school. “My dream is to be somebody who can contribute to this country,” Ponce said in English and Spanish, noting that the English he knows he learned in adult school.

Not everyone at the protests was as ardently focused on García, however.

Rally organizers Curt Clyborne and Araceli Pelayo, who would only identify themselves  as adult educators, downplayed the recall message. They said the purpose of the rally was to inform the public about the essential services adult education offers and the importance of coming together to preserve it.

A recall, not directed at any one board member is a consideration, but what we are really trying to do is send them the message that they are our elected representatives and “have to be attentive to our needs,” Clyborne said. Someone has to represent the people who need adult education to get a high school diploma or GED, or entry-level job skills, he said.

Clyborne said local colleges are unable to provide those forms of adult education, and “if we pull this out from under the community, there’s not going to be anything there.”
It’s nothing against just one member of the school board, Pelayo said.

“We need their support.” They were elected to represent us and our children, she said.

“It’s not just adult education, it’s early childhood, it’s the cuts to K-12, it’s everything.”

The district faces a $390.2 million budget shortfall in 2012-13. Deasy hopes approval of a parcel tax in November will generate about $170 million. But the measure could be facing a tough fight, since it requires approval by two-thirds of voters — the same voters who rejected a smaller parcel tax in 2010.

García’s communication director, Lizette Patrón, said the budget approved on March 13 includes funding for adult education, and outlines three plans for restoring funding pending negotiations with teachers and the outcome of the parcel tax vote proposed for November.

“From the February 2012 fiscal plan of $557million, about $180 million was restored in the March 13th Plan, including $15.6 million for Adult Ed (Career Technical Education, CTE) to high school students through the Regional Occupational Program (ROP),” Patrón told EGP in an email.

García and Deasy met with Gov. Jerry Brown regarding the budget, and García’s “efforts were key in helping restore funds and reduce the deficit,” Patrón said.

García was first elected to the school board in 2006. She is in her fifth term as board president. Prior to being elected to the board, García served as chief of staff to José Huizar, who was LAUSD Board President at the time. Her current term expires June 30, 2013, according to the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office.

Information from City News Service was used in this story.

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April 5, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

14 Responses to “Angry Adult Ed Supporters Threaten Recall of LAUSD Board Members”

  1. George Buzzetti on April 5th, 2012 3:33 pm

    I was at both protests. The one at first and Boyle was extraordinary. I am so glad that the community has finally focused on the problem, Monica Garcia. She is destroying the community she was elected to defend. I want to say to those who want to recall Garcia “Do not waste your time on recalling her. By the time you do that she will be out of office. Instead, make sure that the public knows that she is a sell out and keep her from other public office so she will have to go for job training and not be able to get it. Then, you must make sure that you get the board member you deserve. Do not give them any excuses. Make it real clear that they are here to protect you not corporations and other handlers such as Gates, Broad, HP, Walton Foundation and all the other parasites. Then you can be successful.

    The district this year has $10,433/student. This is about $2,000/student more than the average school district in California. There are 19,000 pink slips in California, 11,000 are from LAUSD. LAUSD is only 13% of the students in California. They are just scaring everyone to get the unfair parcel tax passed. Why should a person in an inexpensive house or condo pay the same as a billionaires high rise?

  2. Christina Jin on April 8th, 2012 11:54 am

    Please tell Ms. Patron that the voters and citizenry will not be fooled by her nor Ms. Garcia into believing that anything was done of major substance in the March 13th plan. Essentially what was done was a restoration of about 10% of the Adult Ed budget to cover high school concurrents only. This poppycock about educators helping pass a $300 tax increase per parcel (remember by a 2/3 majority) doesn’t stand a chance, nor will convincing already suffering K-12 teachers to take more furlough days to support Adult Ed. Meanwhile in an earlier meeting the same day the board handed out 10 charter applications with no debate, eyeing sites that hope would be abandoned by Adult Ed.

  3. Cassandra Ofilium on April 11th, 2012 4:08 pm

    Adult Ed teachers in Los Angeles USD make over 50 dollars an hour with full benefits and pension. Why not reduce this heavy salary first, and then have enough money for the rest of the program.

  4. alfred on April 12th, 2012 1:28 pm

    what a shame on Monica Garcia she is forgeting that she has family
    that some day they are going to need be retrained to change career
    everything that goes up some day come down and hurt us were we feel the most.
    Monica I’m still learning i’m on the middle of my goal i’m 50 years old
    please think not just on me think of thousands of your paisanos
    and Kids borned in california

  5. s404n1tn0c on April 12th, 2012 1:41 pm

    Well that 11000 staffing cut at roughly, lets say 30000 per teacher per year and that’s pushing it. Amounts to 330,000,000. Yes 330 million. I sure hope the board is not redirecting any penny of that savings. I sure hope their not doing that Curly Shuffle.. we know so well that they can do.

  6. Spade on April 12th, 2012 1:46 pm

    LAUSD board members has been bought out by our city politicians. I don’t hear LA Mayor addressing this issue at all. I guess he needs people to fill up his investments in charter schools. Adult Ed has been cut to the bone in the last 3 years and we are now operating at optimal efficiency with the least amount of money. Dropping Adult Ed now is like taking a piss in the ocean, I don’t think we’re going to pollute the ocean. Yes, Some senior Adult instructors do make 50 an hour with an 18 hour a week work schedule and a shorten school year. You do the math an there’s nothing to brag about. If you’re not a senior Adult Ed Instructor you may need a second job!

  7. s404n1tn0c on April 12th, 2012 1:48 pm

    I smell conflict of interest here. ” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose partnership is running several schools in the city ” What’s with that Tony?

  8. Misael Ramirez on April 12th, 2012 1:49 pm

    Monica Garcia,You have been five years in the power it is too much. you could not find solution for students problem, please go home. Students do not want you in the school board like president.

  9. Eric_J on April 12th, 2012 2:07 pm

    Closing the adult education programs is not the answer the economy is looking for. How are you going to get the skills that the job is requesting? Forcing students and adults seeking better careers to college and paying $200 parcel tax is no good. Where are they getting the extra money to pay? Is not the reason to go to school to earn more money??

  10. Simon rivaling on April 13th, 2012 6:11 am

    Los Angeles needs these services. Early and adult education are essential programs that contribute to the progress of our city. Our elected officials are unresponsive. They Ned to go.

  11. Mely on April 13th, 2012 10:08 am

    EXCELENTE ARTICULO!!! Es muy triste saber que una persona olvide sus raices y principios solo por dinero o por guardar su posicion. Monica Garcia estoy segura que su familia vino a este pais para superarse y para darle una buena educacion a usted y demas hermanos, que hubiese pasado si su familia hubiera venido a este pais en esta situacion con la probabilidad de no tener acceso a la educacion porque cierto grupo de personas quieren HACER NEGOCIO lo que en realidad es un DERECHO!!! Si usted esta en ese puesto es por la educacion, asi como usted hay muchos *como mi persona), que queremos aportar a este pais. Asi como la colocaron en ese puesto asi se puede destituir solo por el hecho de NO APOYAR A SU PROPIA COMUNIDAD. QUE TRISTEZA.

  12. Russ on April 14th, 2012 7:58 pm

    Ms. Garcia’s own website says she is “born and raised in East L.A.” and graduated in “Chicano Studies” and Social Work. She is only the 3rd Latina in the 155 year history of the LAUSD Board of Education – what an honor and opportunity she has to serve her people and community.

    With that background, why is she not sensitive to the needs of her own community?

    Why does she ignore the need for early childhood education and adult education – two of the most critical needs in Los Angeles.

    Why is she still in office?

  13. Russ (omit last name please!) on April 14th, 2012 8:02 pm

    Ms. Garcia’s own website says she is “born and raised in East L.A.” and graduated in “Chicano Studies” and Social Work. She is only the 3rd Latina in the 155 year history of the LAUSD Board of Education – what an honor and opportunity she has to serve her people and community.

    With that background, why is she not sensitive to the needs of her own community?

    Why does she ignore the need for early childhood education and adult education – two of the most critical needs in Los Angeles.

    Why is she still in office?

    And why doesn’t the L.A. Times publish this news about LAUSD. Biased news is not objective journalism.

    Thanks EPN

  14. dr. priscilla reed on May 4th, 2012 8:28 pm

    I am so glad to see the people of Boyle Heights standing to utilize their recall power. Boyle Heights we support you in your efforts. Thank you Mrs. LaMotte (District 1) for opposing, this out of control plan. Is their anything we can do to help you all. The plan was approved 6 to 1, with only Board Member Marguerite LaMotte (District 1) opposing.

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