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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

Appeals Court Strikes Down Villaraigosa School Plan

A state appeals court Tuesday struck down a law that would have given L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa more control over the Los Angeles Unified School District, perhaps marking the final blow for the central piece of the mayor’s plan to reform the troubled district. A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that Assembly Bill 1381 was illegal because the state constitution specifically grants voters the right to determine whether a school board is elected or appointed. “Therefore, the legislature could not simply enact a statue granting the mayor authority to appoint the members of the LAUSD Board of Education,” the strongly-worded decision released Tuesday said, adding later that the constitution also prohibits the transfer of authority to “entities outside the public school system.” The decision upholds a lower court ruling in December. In a statement released Tuesday afternoon by the mayor’s office, Villaraigosa said he plans to continue working to reform the district, although he did not specifically say he would appeal the decision. “I am going to continue to support candidates in the May elections who are champions of change,” said the mayor, who has aligned himself with a slate of reform-minded candidates bidding for the open school board seats. “Whatever the outcome, we will have a new school board on July 1. And I intend to work with the new board to implement the proposals embodied in our School House framework.” In a separate statement, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who backed the Villaraigosa reforms, said: “I applaud the mayor for his continuous efforts to ensure that every student receives a high-quality education. I will continue to work with the mayor in defending the innovative and necessary changes to the LAUSD.”

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