The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday is expected to give Supt. Austin Beutner “emergency powers” to take actions that might otherwise require board approval up to and including shutting down the entire school system in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The action is seen as precaution that would allow Beutner to act quickly as the need arises — but no immediate use of these emergency powers is anticipated in the nation’s second-largest school system.
Under the proposed action, which is scheduled for a vote at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon, the school board would declare a state of emergency. That declaration would give Beutner the authority to relocate students and staff, revise student transportation arrangements and approve alternative educational options. It also provides paid leaves of absence for employees due to quarantine or illness, allows staff to serve as disaster service workers, and provides for necessary alterations, repairs or improvements to district property.
L.A. Unified is responsible for the education and safety of more than half a million district and charter-school students. If adult education and early education numbers are included, that total rises to more than 670,000. There also are about 100,000 full- and part-time workers.
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