The Board of Education for the Los Angeles Unifies School District (LAUSD) has a new plan to help illegal alien students facing removal from the country: have the district’s lawyers volunteer time to help the students fight deportation.
Although the ostensible reason that the district offers is the well-being of its immigrant students, there may be another factor at work. Revenue limits entitlements, which provide California’s school districts with the majority of their funding, are based on a district’s base revenue limit multiplied by the number of students in the district.
As the Public Policy Institute of California wrote in March, 2010:
California’s 978 school districts receive the majority of their funding through a formula known as “revenue limits.” … Revenue limits were created in response to a lawsuit over inequities in funding per pupil based on the relative wealth of each school district. Under revenue limits each district has a base revenue limit, a dollar amount per pupil. A district’s revenue limit entitlement is its base revenue limit multiplied by the number of students attending its schools. The number of students is measured by the district’s average daily attendance (ADA) … Revenue limits represent the single largest source of revenue for California’s school districts.
The proposal suggesting the lawyers donate their time was offered by general counsel David Holmquist’s office; it would entail lawyers working with one student at a time for one to three hours a week. Ten lawyers from the district have expressed interest, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Board members Tamar Galatzan was the only member of the board to vote against the proposal, although L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines, who did not join the discussion, said he had his own problems with the proposal, as he thought that deportation was only one of several problems for the students.
Holmquist added that the lawyers would be bolstered by experts in deportation and district staff.
LAUSD claims that the number of unaccompanied minors processed by immigration authorities grew exponentially between 201 and 2014, rising from less than 8,000 to over 57,000, with over 95% emigrating from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. In 2014, roughly 3,000 of them found sponsors in L.A. County, and many of them now attend LAUSD. The Times reports that 4,920 unaccompanied youth have cases pending before local immigration courts, and almost two-thirds of them have no legal representation.