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Charter Schools Will Be Nervously Watching This Week's LAUSD Board Debate

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More than 250 students at South East High School, an L.A. Unified School District school in South Gate, protested the proposed co-location of a charter school on their campus on May 22, 2018. (Kyle Stokes/KPCC)

It’s been barely a month since huge changes to California’s charter school laws took effect — and already, charters in Los Angeles are complaining that local officials’ plans to implement the new law could put their schools at risk.

On Tuesday, the LAUSD board will vote on a newly-written plan to implement Assembly Bill 1505.

While the law is certainly likely to make it harder to open some new charter schools, many local school leaders complain LAUSD officials' proposed plan goes even further, stretching the district’s new regulatory powers in ways that could “ban new charter schools and close existing quality schools.”

LAUSD’s policy, “as drafted, is profoundly illegal,” said Myrna Castrejón, president of the California Charter Schools Association.

Officials in LAUSD’s Charter Schools Division — the department that would actually carry out this new policy — declined an interview request.

But school board member Jackie Goldberg said most of the 224 independently-run charters currently operating in LAUSD have little to fear from the district’s new policy. She argued the charter association’s concerns stem from features of the new law, not from LAUSD overreach.

“Their view is, ‘We like the old system,’” Goldberg said. “‘Anything you’re doing to change the old system was wrong.’”

So what's the dispute about? Why are charter schools so concerned? And do they have reason to be worried?

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Yes, This Summer Has Been Hotter Than Normal

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A pedestrian uses an umbrella on a hot sunny morning in Los Angeles in October 2017 amid a late-season heatwave. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

If this summer has felt warmer than normal, that's because it has been.

This July was the 11th hottest on record for the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Here in California, temperatures have been about two degrees hotter than average, making this the 19th warmest start to a summer on record. Drought conditions, particularly in the northern part of the state, have slightly worsened over the past few months, due to high heat following a less than stellar rainy season.

(Courtesy National Weather Service)

In July, we saw heat waves cook SoCal's valley and desert areas with triple-digit scorchers. Death Valley hit 128 degrees, one of the hottest days ever recorded on planet Earth.

Hotter temperatures lead to an increase in heat-related deaths, especially among marginalized populations.

High temperatures also increase our wildfire risk, in part, because they dry vegetation to dangerously low moisture levels. High heat has been a contributing factor to the above-average number of fires we've seen across the state this year, including the 29,000-acre Apple Fire still burning in Riverside County.

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Morning Briefing: A First, And Last, Job For Beloved Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round Man

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Julio Gosdinski, who has died at 49, was the longtime operator of the Griffith Park merry-go-round and for the last nine years a co-owner as well. (Courtesy Dora Herrera)

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Over the weekend we learned of the death of Julio Gosdinski, the beloved longtime operator of the Griffith Park merry-go-round.

“This was his ‘first and last job,’ is what he likes to say,” his friend Dora Herrera, who is an officer with the Friends of Griffith Park board, told reporter Josie Huang. Gosdinski was found dead at his home Friday at age 49.

He came to the U.S. from Peru when he was 12 and started working on the merry-go-round when he was a teenager. Gosdinski played such a big role in running and maintaining the famous carousel, friends say they're worried about what's next for the attraction he co-owned.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today

— LAist

Coming Up Today

Christine N. Ziemba has your guide to weekly events. Watch wacky videos compiled from found footage. Listen to risky storytelling. Get crafty and drink crafty. Head to the latest SFV drive-in.

Residents and staff at some nursing homes in LA County weren’t tested until months into the pandemic. At one nursing home in L.A., residents were tested on May 22, but an outbreak had already been underway. At least 16 people there have died. Investigative reporter Elly Yu spoke to family members grappling for answers.

Long before coronavirus, many restaurants had complained that the "Big Four" food delivery apps — UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub and DoorDash (which owns Caviar) — were charging too much in commissions and fees. Amid the economic devastation of the pandemic, Gina Pollack examines complaints that have only grown louder and more intense, and found a growing number of restaurants are ditching the big third-party apps.

The most significant changes to California’s charter school law since its passage in 1992 took effect before this school year, and already charter advocates are unhappy about how LAUSD is handling the changes. The California Charter Schools Association says LAUSD’s board will vote this week on a proposed implementation plan that grossly abuses districts’ new powers under the new law and Kyle Stokes is following the story.

The Past 48 Hours In LA

Rabbits In Danger: A devastating virus for both wild and domestic rabbits has officially arrived in L.A. County. Julia Paskin reports on the concerns being raised. One of those: If the rabbit population diminishes, wild animals such as coyotes and raccoons will travel deeper into residential communities in search of prey.

Penguin Encounters: The Aquarium of the Pacific has reopened its popular penguin exhibit and is offering one-on-one encounters — with some new rules and a $150 cost per person for a half-hour.

Apple Fire Update: As firefighters gain more control over the Apple Fire, which has now burned in Riverside and San Bernardino counties for more than a week, they're now working on "burn area repair."

No Mask, Big Fine: If you're planning to be out and about in Hermosa Beach, be sure to have your mask handy. The city has started enforcing a new ordinance. First fine: $100. Second fine: $200. Third and more: $500.

Pandemic Relief — With Big Caveats: After failing to get an agreement in Congress to extend some critical pandemic relief programs, President Trump on Saturday issued several executive orders, including one that brings back a weekly supplement for unemployment benefits — but at a lower amount. He's calling on an extra $400 in relief, down from $600, and says states must pay 25% of the total.

'Cautiously Optimistic': It's a phrase they've used a lot, but L.A. County public health officials said again over the weekend that they're "cautiously optimistic" about current hospitalization trends. They also announced 61 new deaths, bringing that total to 4,977, and also said to expect the positive COVID-19 cases to rise once a state backlog is fixed.

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Photo Of The Day

The cardboard fans came early and stayed late to witness the Dodgers on Sunday take the weekend series against the rival San Francisco Giants 2-1.

(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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