$50 million donated to local schools

first_img“Today we’re adopting 708,000 children. Actually, we have none of our own. These kids are all our kids,” Melanie Lundquist said. “We believe in the children, in their right to a good education and our civic responsibilities. And we invite each and every person to join with us on this quest to rebuild the backbone of America – public education.” The announcement also kicked off a general fundraising campaign to raise millions for all of the schools in the nation’s second-largest district. Melanie Lundquist said she plans to work on the campaign three days a week, and Villaraigosa said he hopes the district’s success will persuade others to donate. “Hopefully, we’re going to convince people as we start to turn around our schools that we’ve got to invest more in these schools if we want to be the best in the nation,” he said. “This money will support new programs at the partnership schools as well as transformative initiatives throughout the school district. It will allow us to implement reforms that the community and teachers want and need in our partnership family of schools.” Superintendent David Brewer III said the Lundquists’ donation kick-starts an effort to build partnerships with the community. “I am glad that you have put the first stake in the ground to make sure that everybody understands that we cannot educate these children by ourselves, as great as our teachers are,” he said. “The bottom line is, we need everyone in this city to educate our children.” Melanie Lundquist – who with her husband attended Los Angeles Unified schools but now live in Palos Verdes – said she began talking with Villaraigosa in 2004 about ways to make a significant contribution to the city. The Lundquists had not given to LAUSD before, she said, because they didn’t believe the money would be spent effectively. “In the philanthropic world you would never give an investment to an organization that is not prepared to handle anything like that investment,” she said. “If it’s too large, it actually would go a long way toward destroying that organization. Now the leadership is here, the team has been assembled and we can move forward.” The partnership will be rolled out in the 2008-09 school year, serving an estimated 30,000 students in two clusters that Villaraigosa will oversee. The five-year contract will be renewed only if the schools meet certain benchmarks. “It’s like a faucet,” Melanie Lundquist said. “If the plumbing goes haywire, the money doesn’t flow.” Richard Lundquist, owner of the Continental Development Corp., which owns more than 4 million square feet of commercial space in California, said education is increasingly important in a global economy. “As a biz owner, I have hundreds of tenants and I go out to lunch with them often, and what everybody says is they can’t find qualified people,” he said. “There are all sorts of high-paying jobs waiting for better-educated kids, and this region won’t prosper without this.” He also emphasized that he and his wife do not live within LAUSD boundaries, don’t vote in the district and that his company has no contracts pending within the district’s boundaries. The Lundquists’ donation pushes into high gear the mayor’s efforts to transform a group of low-performing schools. “It will provide a major boost because in the schools the partnership is engaged in, they are going to have responsibility for their budgets,” said Ray Cortines, a former LAUSD superintendent and Villaraigosa’s deputy mayor of education. “They have one pot of money – the district money – and this pot of money to supplement that.” Political experts said the mayor’s ability to attract the $50 million donation to the school district – with more likely to come – demonstrates the extent of his clout. And if he’s able to improve student performance – something that’s likely in working with smaller, more manageable clusters – it will give him even greater momentum in making a run for governor in two years. “It makes him a real political go-to in terms of a pretty decimated budget for the LAUSD to implement any real reforms,” said Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. [email protected] (818) 713-3722160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In the largest private donation ever made to Los Angeles Unified, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Wednesday a $50 million cash infusion to support two clusters of schools that he will eventually control. Real estate developer Richard Lundquist and his wife, Melanie, will give $5 million annually for 10 years to the nonprofit organization created by the mayor on the condition that the schools meet academic and safety benchmarks. Officials said money will be spent to train and support teachers and to create student and community programs and accountability systems, although details still have to be worked out. In addition, $4 million will fund Teach for America to place educators in Los Angeles Unified’s neediest schools. last_img read more

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first_imgST EUNAN’S U16s have been crowned county league title winners after their weekend win over Ardara.They defeated Ardara 2-15 to 0-05 in the county final.First half goals from Kevin Kealy and Sean McGettigan along with some beautiful scores from the brilliant Niall O’Donnell set up this victory.  GAA NEWS: ST EUNAN’S LIFT U16 COUNTY TITLE was last modified: November 4th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ArdaraSt EunansU16 county league finallast_img read more