Students’ futures are top of mind for LAUSD heading into election day and beyond

By Nick Melvoin

Nick Melvoin

Melvoin represents District 4 on the school board of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

What was the witch’s favorite school subject? Spelling.

Classes at the Los Angeles Unified School District — including spelling — remain virtual for now and as we are doing our best to help our students celebrate Halloween distantly, it’s just a further reminder about what a tough year this has been, particularly for our students, families and school communities. And as the months ahead hold plenty of uncertainty, there is one thing we know for sure: our school communities need more, not less, to get through this crisis and get back into the classroom safely.

As we continue working tirelessly to keep our kids engaged and learning remotely in an ongoing crisis, we are also advocating for the resources we need to safely bring them back to school as soon as possible.

Especially with the precarious status of additional state and federal support, our kids’ futures are on the ballot this year. No matter how you plan to vote in this election, I hope you will exercise your civic duty and make your voice heard. The November ballot includes various federal, state and local contests — including Proposition 15, the Schools and Communities First Act, and Measure RR, the local School Upgrades and Safety bond measure. If approved, Prop 15 will generate more revenue for public education statewide by increasing property taxes for large corporations, and Measure RR will provide funds to upgrade, modernize, and replace aging and deteriorating school facilities, update technology, and address inequities in our children’s schools.

Previous bonds have enabled LA Unified to undertake the rapidly progressing campus modernization project at Venice High; expand access to early education by reopening the Kentwood Early Education Center; fund multi-million dollar renovations and campus upgrades at Marina Del Rey Middle School; complete an outdoor learning space at Marina Early Education Center and fund another coming soon to Westminster EEC; and more.

We were also able to provide learning devices and hotspots to every student when the pandemic shut down schools last March. Of course, there is no replacement for the in-person instruction our kids need, and more than seven months later, we are busily preparing to safely reopen our campuses for hybrid instruction as soon as we can.

That includes rolling out a free COVID-19 testing program for all students, families, and employees; getting our facilities ready with the resources and equipment we need for a healthy and safe learning environment; beginning in-person tutoring services and special education assessments for high needs students; opening supervision sites for the children of employees with a goal of expanding to make them safely accessible for more families; offering free flu shots to our school communities; and more.

I’ll keep advocating for the needs of our children at every level of government, and regardless of how you vote, I hope you will join me in exercising your civic duty this Election Day. Your voice matters — make sure it’s heard.

And when we do get students back in school, who will help the little pumpkins cross the road safely? The crossing gourd.