The schedule for the day included a keynote address by Superintendent Torlakson followed by a panel forum consisting of education officials and consultants. The moderator and host for the event was Mr. Micah Ali, President of LACSTA, and President of the Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees. The event was attended by approximately one hundred and fifty persons and represented about thirty-five school districts throughout L.A. County.
During his address to the attendees State Superintendent Torlakson said that in CA. morale is up overall and pink slips are down. He also said that while the billions of dollars gained from passage of proposition 30 was very much needed CA. still faces budget issues. Torlakson stated that he is committed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed local school funding formula although some folks are asking for changes to parts of it. He said he likes linked learning where teaching connects strong academics with real-world experience – and is really supportive of increasing access to online learning for students and their parents.
After the State Superintendent’s address the panel forum started. Estelle Lemieux of the CA. Teachers Assn. said that CTA will support Gov. Brown’s local control budget, classroom reduction and will probably support adult education as a standalone program. Jon Isom, who represents school district’s as a financial advisor said that he is concerned about outstanding bonds owed by school districts, and Dennis Meyers, Executive Dir. of the CA. School Board Assn. has concerns about how will schools/districts restore funds lost over the past five years? Ben Allen, Esq. attorney and School Board Trustee for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District said that he is concerned about the constraints from Sacramento policy & law makers that make it difficult oftentimes for local school board members to operate effectively.
Darin Brawley, Compton Unified School District Superintendent said that he sees three areas in education that challenge Superintendents ability to do their jobs effectively; budget, facilities, and new educational design. Brawley said that with budget cuts and lower ADA it forces districts into deficit spending, many facilities are aged, and he spoke of the need for new technology, especially in the area of career technical education. And finally John Baracy, who serves as a school bonds underwriter for district’s said that the current state of public education in CA. makes his job even more critical, and that is the need to analyze the tax base for districts and develop and manage their bond plans.