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LAUSD Board of Education eliminates advisory votes

5/23/2011, 5 p.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Citing reports of voter intimidation and other election troubles, the LAUSD Board of Education eliminated advisory votes by parents and other stakeholders from the Public School Choice program that gives control of selected campuses to charter companies or other groups.

The Los Angeles Unified School District board voted 4-3 to eliminate the advisory votes, and called on Superintendent John Deasy to develop an alternative method for collecting input from the community on who should operate specific schools.

"Having gone through two rounds of PSC, we have a better sense of what works and what doesn't work with the process,'' board member Tamar Galatzan said. "We tried something and it didn't work, but we still value input from parents and community stakeholders.''

Galatzan said there had been 23 reports of voter intimidation in previous advisory votes--in which parents and other affected people cast ballots in an effort to gauge support of different groups vying to run selected campuses. Deasy eventually makes a recommendation to the board, which makes the final choice of operators.

Galatzan said there have also been allegations of voting disruptions, irregularities and threats to voter confidentiality. She cited one instance in which iPods were distributed to students in an effort to solicit votes.

Board members Richard Vladovic, Steve Zimmer and Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte voted against the proposal to eliminate the voting.

The second round of Public School Choice campuses is scheduled to open this fall, with another group planned for the 2012-13 school year.