Friday, December 22, 2006

Judge blocks Mayor Villaraigosa's school takeover

Judge scuttles mayor's school takeover plan
By Howard Blume
Times Staff Writer
December 21, 2006

A judge today nullified legislation giving Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa substantial authority over the Los Angeles Unified School District, a stunning setback to Villaraigosa's plans -- already in progress -- to assume direct control of dozens of Los Angeles schools.

The mayor, at a news conference this afternoon, said he has instructed lawyers for the city to appeal the ruling. He said he would also ask that the California Supreme Court hear the appeal directly.

"We will not be set back," Villaraigosa said.

He added: "We refuse to be deterred by the forces of the status quo."

The ruling was a sweeping victory for the school district and puts in question the mayor's education agenda, which was embodied in the legislation before the court.

Under Assembly Bill 1381, Villaraigosa would have ratified the hiring and firing of future superintendents through a Council of Mayors that he would have dominated. And he would have had direct authority over three low-performing high schools and the elementary and middle schools that feed into them.

Judge Dzintra Janavs found the entire law defective and ordered public officials "to refrain from enforcing or implementing" any part of it.
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