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Wednesday, July 01, 2020


Updated: OCDE offers resources to help spread the word about the 2020 Census
The 2020 U.S. Census count is underway. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the federal Census Bureau conducts a nationwide population count once every 10 years. It’s one of the few national activities the American public does together. It’s also easy, confidential and critically important to students and their communities. The COVID-19 emergency shows just how important accurate census data can be. Consider that these anonymous statistics enable local governments to make highly consequential decisions about public safety, including staffing police and fire stations.


Defendant in Southern California semen-tainted flute case agrees to plead guilty
An international music program founder who allegedly distributed semen-tainted flutes to schools in Orange and Los Angeles counties and traveled to the Philippines to have sex with minors is expected to plead guilty to federal and state charges in October. John Edward Zeretzke, 61, of Ventura, who formed Flutes Across the World in 2009 and has worked with thousands of children across the United States, has agreed to plead guilty to one federal count of production of child pornography and six state charges of lewd acts with a minor under 14, according to court records.


LAUSD board votes to cut school police budget by $25 million
The Los Angeles Unified School District board voted to reduce funding by roughly 35% — about $25 million — for its independent law enforcement agency late Tuesday, June 30. It also ordered that all of the department’s roughly 460 officers be taken off campus and out of uniform until the district can look closer at the agency as a whole. The vote by a 4-to-3 margin took place late in the evening following hours of public testimony by activists and students supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and by parents and officers who spoke in favor of the police team.

Record number of LAUSD students learn online while school’s out for summer
This is the first time summer school has been made available to all students in the LAUSD, and Superintendent Austin Beutner said that's because the district believes it may help mitigate learning loss due to the pandemic that forced schools to close back in March and transition to online learning.


Black Students in San Diego Three Times More Likely to Be Suspended Than Whites
Across San Diego County’s 42 school districts, Black students represent less than 5 percent of the student population. And yet they represent more than 12 percent of the overall suspensions.


Reopening Santa Clara County schools this fall not guaranteed, officials say
In a key signal to Bay Area school districts, Santa Clara County officials said Tuesday that schools must follow stringent social distancing and mask requirements if they reopen for in-person learning this fall — but whether school and health officials take that route amid rising coronavirus cases remains to be seen. While the Bay Area’s most populous county wants “all students and teachers to return to school as soon as possible,” officials have yet to decide how much — if at all — that involves the physical classroom, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a Tuesday press conference.


Oakland Unified wants voters to approve $735 million bond for school upgrades
Oakland Unified’s school board voted unanimously Monday night to place a $735 million construction bond measure on the November ballot to upgrade aging facilities. The funds would go toward over 20 projects at more than a dozen schools and include such things as new classrooms, kitchens, transforming a vacant school into a new administrative building, and replacing restrooms that, according to one parent, students refuse to use because they are considered “foul.”

Guide to California’s education budget deferrals: pros, cons and costs of delayed payments
Prevailing in negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Legislature passed a state budget that will let K-12 schools spend at the same level in 2020-21 as this year — avoiding the billions in cuts that Newsom had proposed. But there’s a catch. Spending won’t equate to funding. School and community college districts will have to front $11 billion they would normally get from the state in exchange for IOUs. Districts won’t be paid back until 2021-22.

Benefits, harm of school police the focus of state task force hearing
The presence of police on school campuses does not necessarily result in safer schools or fewer suspensions or expulsions, researchers told legislators Tuesday at the state’s first hearing on the future of school police. The findings, reported by nonpartisan research firm WestEd, were among the numerous expert testimonies heard during the Task Force on Safe Schools hearing. Police, advocates and academic researchers also participated.


Petition Calls For Defunding San Diego Unified Police
Marches and protests stemming from the Memorial Day police killing of George Floyd led to renewed calls for meaningful police reform nationwide. That includes a movement to “defund police,” to fundamentally change policing by redirecting funding away from the department to other agencies within a city. It's also led to a call to defund school police, which has already happened in Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed.


Pasadena Unified has a plan for next school year, mostly
It’s still something of a work-in-progress, but Pasadena Unified has raised the major tent-poles of its plan to teach students next year, both on and off campus, even though officials still are ironing out many of the details. Unlike this most recent spring semester — when the district developed distance learning protocols on-the-fly — this time, officials set out to develop a program better tailored to coronavirus-related limitations for the fall. Still, the keyword for this plan is “fluid,” as uttered by nearly every official who discussed this program during Thursday’s school board meeting.

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