Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica-Malibu School District Plans to Overhaul ROP Program|
By Hector Gonzalez
ROP now offers 23 different “hands-on” courses ranging from automotive technology to business management to computer repair to film and video production.
“In some cases, some ROP programs like visual and performing arts will remain at their host schools, but their funding will shift from ROP to not being classified as ROP in the future,” said Pinsker.
At other school districts, Pinsker noted, ROP programs in recent years have moved away from “things like floristry” to more career-focused courses “where students can actually be able to have a career once the graduate or help them with their college planning.”
Locally, the goal would be to create a new ROP program that “would be more robust,” she added.
As part of the Westside’s “Silicon Beach,” Santa Monica had some 1,827 tech-related companies in 2014. Local technology and entertainment companies employed 26 percent of the City’s total workforce, according to a 2014 City economic statistics report.
Designing an ROP program that offers more classes that put students on paths to careers in those local tech firms makes sense, Pinsker said.
Much of the push to revamp the district’s ROP program comes from the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula for public school districts, which shifted funding sources around for certain types of educational programs, she said.
As part of the revamping, however, district officials are considering laying off “a few of our ROP teachers,” Pinsker said.
Although most ROP teachers would stay on the District payroll, some would be transitioned into other classes, while a few teachers who teach only a few ROP classes could receive layoff notices as early as March, she said.
“They may receive a pink slip” Pinsker said. “However, there is an effort being made to keep these staff members, if at all possible, as we transition to a more robust program.
“Also, there may be cases where certain credentials may be required that some of these staff members may not hold.”
Board members have slotted 45 minutes to discuss the program Thursday. They also will hear from district staff members, teachers, students and parents. No actions will be taken by the Board at Thursday’s meeting, said Pinsker.
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