POLITICS/EDUCATION: Los Angeles Unified School District: "New LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff seeks end to 'business as usual'"....
* Daily News: "New LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff seeks end to 'business as usual'" - From the DN:
Having spent more than a decade teaching in a Los Angeles Unified classroom and chatting with colleagues, Monica Ratliff's perception of the district administration was a hive of bureaucrats toiling away in the downtown monolith known simply as Beaudry. But after an intense three-day orientation last week at the Beaudry Avenue headquarters, the newest member of the school board said she actually found common ground with the leaders responsible for running the nation's second-largest school district.
"They all lit up as they talked about their work and how proud they are to be with LAUSD and how they want to provide the best support they can for the students," said Ratliff, known for putting her fifth-grade pupils ahead of politics as she ran her underdog campaign for the East San Fernando Valley seat. "One of my big interests is to reconnect the staff of Beaudry with staff at the school sites. I think that people are coming up with fantastic ideas that aren't being conveyed."
Ratliff said the back-to-back meetings with about 50 district executives included two constructive sessions with Superintendent John Deasy. . . . . . . .
A former public-interest attorney, Ratliff became a teacher because she figured she could help youngsters steer clear of trouble, then ran for the school board because she wanted to help those beyond her classroom. . . . . . . . .
The board meets today, and Ratliff said she'll be watching online as the board approves a $6 billion budget, which includes $288 million more in revenue. After talking to constituents, she said, she has strong views on how she'd like the money to be spent.
Ratliff said she's going to spend much of the summer in her new office on the 24th floor of Beaudry, taking a "deep dive" into board issues, and will visit classrooms in her East Valley schools once classes resume in August. While she hopes to improve communication between various district factions, she also wants to retain the same independence that marked her campaign. That means studying and voting on the issues based on their merit and steering clear of the politics and deal-making.
"This is a moment of opportunity," Ratliff said. "I really feel that it's not business as usual."