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Layoffs May Follow City Takeover of L.A. Schools

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And following up on that report, Claudio Sanchez is in our studios.

And, Claudio, one big question is what will Mayor Villaraigosa do with the schools once he gets them?

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ reporting:

Renee, the mayor has yet to release any specifics. All that we have to go on right now is a draft that his staff leaked to the Los Angeles Times a few days ago. It proposed massive cuts in school district staff, mostly central office managers and administrators. It also hints at a new contract that would tie teachers' pay to their workload and responsibilities, not seniority. That's a big change. School would negotiate their own work rules and budgets.

Eventually, every school campus would be organized into separate schools of 500 students or less. The worse schools will be closed down and reopened as charter schools. This is probably one of the more provocative, or at least controversial moves because it means transferring an enormous amount of money to private groups. Allowing more independent and private groups to take over the public schools, essentially.

MONTAGNE: And so, then what would be the mayor's next move?

SANCHEZ: The mayor's next move really is to go to the legislature and see if it can sign-off on this. And then, at some point, through a referendum, I suppose, voters would have to approve how he would dismantle this school district. Which is precisely what mayors in Boston, Chicago and New York City have done, with mixed results, I must add.

MONTAGNE: Claudio, thanks very much.

SANCHEZ: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: Again, NPR's Claudio Sanchez.

The mayor here in L.A. is just the latest in a long string of officials who tried to fix failing schools by stepping in and taking over. You can read about past takeovers at npr.org.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.