LAUSD Reportedly Mulling Bold Reorganization Plan

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a confidential plan, gleaned from official documents and interviews with school officials, that would divide the Los Angeles Unified School District into 32 geographically-based “networks.”

The new, decentralized system is the brainchild of LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner, the Times reports, and is aimed at cutting costs and improving student performance in the nation’s second-largest school district.

“The superintendent is trying to move toward a decentralized system that puts the student first,” an anonymous official close to the plan told the Times. “He’s trying to generate better educational outcomes. That’s the No. 1 goal.” The source added that “savings from the central bureaucracy could be plowed back into education at the school level,” and used to stem the district’s current fiscal woes. Currently, LAUSD is spending $500 million more per year than it takes in and student test scores are lagging behind the state average.

According to the Times, the plan will be unveiled publicly sometime next month. Since August, LAUSD has reportedly been consulting with parents, teachers, and officials and asking some LAUSD employees to explain and defend their duties.

Currently, the plan entails 32 geographically-based networks, each of which would include elementary, middle, and high schools. The plan would likely include staff reductions at the central district office downtown and would involve greater control among schools and their networks.

New York City tried a similar reorganization in 2007 but, unlike Beutner’s, the networks were not geographically-based. While it led to fiscal savings, student performance improvements did not follow and the networks were mostly dismantled by 2015.