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Los Angeles School Board Approves Parent-Trigger Overhaul

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In an uncharacteristically quiet and uncontroversial vote, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a parent-driven petition to overhaul the troubled 24th Street Elementary School in the West Adams neighborhood of the city, invoked by the state's parent-trigger law.

This is the first time that the parent-trigger law has been invoked in Los Angeles, and the third time that such a law has been used in the country. All three uses of the parent-trigger law have occurred in California, although seven states now have such laws on the books.

The LAUSD Board of Education voted to approve the petition to turn the academically struggling school into an independent charter school by the 2013-14 school year. The elementary school's parent petitioners solicited responses from charter school operators interested in running the school and received eight letters of interest in response. The parents, 69 percent of whom signed the petition to overhaul the 24th Street Elementary School, will vote on the charter school operator by March 8, according to Parent Revolution, a Los Angeles-based group that has helped guide all three parent-trigger efforts in California.

The overhaul of 24th Street Elementary School was approved less than one month after the petition was filed—a far cry from the contentious year-long process that ultimately led to the transformation of Adelanto, Calif.'s Desert Trails Elementary School into a charter earlier this year.

"For the first time, a school board has approved a Parent Trigger petition without any form of legal challenge or question," said Amabilia Villeda, the lead parent organizer for the 24th Street Elementary School Parents' Union, in a statement following the vote. "With their unanimous vote, the LAUSD Board has given its full support to transform our school—and give our children the opportunity for a better education."

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