On Monday morning, James Harris and Rosie Torres are to be sworn in as new members of the Oakland school district's board of directors.
But just two weeks later, Harris goes to court, where a judge might declare him ineligible for the post because of where he lives -- in Oakland City Council District 7, but in the San Leandro school district. If that happens, the seat will be vacant.
Judge Evelio Grillo initially sided with Harris and against Alice Spearman, who challenged Harris's eligibility after he beat her handily on Election Day. But at a hearing last month, Grillo raised more questions -- and set another court date for Jan. 23.
Spearman says she's confident that not only will she prevail in court, but that she'll get her seat back, either through appointment or a special election.
Next week, Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to introduce a 2013 version of a 2012 idea: a completely new funding model for California school districts.
The so-called "weighted student formula" Brown put forward last year and then dropped would have given districts a base amount of money for each student -- $5,421, on average (it varies by grade) -- and an additional 20 percent for English learners and low-income students. It also would have permanently lifted restrictions on more of the state's special-purpose grants, including economic impact aid and K-3 class size reduction, freeing districts to spend the money as they wished.
In 2009, California lawmakers did the same thing with about 40 such pots of money, including one once devoted to adult education. As a result, that program has been diminished or eliminated in many districts, including in Oakland Unified.
The state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office suggested some changes to the governor's proposal last year, but said it was a "positive first step."
In a story my colleague Theresa Harrington wrote today, School Services of California CEO Ron Bennett said the proposal's introduction last year was "an absolute disaster," with critics saying the new formula would hurt districts with few disadvantaged students.
Of course, we don't yet know the details of the 2013 proposal, but it's expected to be conceptually similar. What are your thoughts about it?
J.R.: More income redistribution will not help what ails these low-performing districts. The CTA says the teachers aren't to blame for poor results, that the root cause of the problem is the home life of the child, and if that is true then money won't change much. The government cannot bridge the chasm that fractured and dysfunctional families create.
LK: I would want to keep the class size reduction money for class size reduction. OUSD will never get back to a 20-1 ratio unless forced to. Also, money should be disbursed on students enrolled and attending, not on ADA (average daily attendance). ADA disadvantages Title l schools in that attendance is generally poorer in those schools. Monies should follow the students regardless of what time of the year they transfer.