“It’s heartbreaking, it’s unacceptable and it’s preventable.”
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho responded Thursday to this week’s tragic accident that took the life of a young mother who was walking her six-year-old daughter to school.
Ghadah Abduljabbar, 33, and her daughter were struck by the driver of a pickup truck as they walked in a crosswalk near Hancock Park School Tuesday morning. The 6-year-old girl was listed in critical condition.
Officials say the driver who hit them apparently suffered a medical emergency.
Carvalho said he’s pushing for more measures to make sure students get to the classroom safely.
Currently, there are only 500 crossing guards in the community and 200 of those positions are vacant, Carvalho said on KTLA 5 Morning News. He says even if all positions were filled, it’s still an insufficient amount for the 1400 education centers around Los Angeles.
The city and county are in charge of filling crossing guard positions. Just last week, Carvalho testified at City Hall requesting the vacant positions immediately be filled. The city council is taking steps to accelerate getting more crossing guards on the streets. Still, Carvalho says that’s not enough. He wants to see speed bumps, better signage near schools, flashing yellow lights and better enforcement.
Carvalho also discussed the historic tentative agreement between UTLA and LAUSD.
“It is precedent setting. It is historic in nature not only because of its value in terms of compensation… stability of work force, our ability to recruit, to incentivize and retain,” Carvalho said. “Is it fair for us to assume a teacher should be able to live in a community where they work? The answer is yes.”
The deal gives teachers a 21% raise over the course of three years, retroactively going back to 2022 and lasting through 2025. This means class sizes are expected to be reduced by two students per class over the course of two years.
The deal also invests in school nurses, teachers managing dual language services, and programs for students with disabilities.
“I know it will make a lot of superintendents across the country very nervous because they will now need to catch up,” Carvalho said about the deal.
A big question? How is the deal being paid for?
Carvalho says the district has been saving for this moment, refinancing debt, and eliminating 1,000 ‘out of school’ administrative jobs.
The deal also makes sure LAUSD families have access to summer school. The program offers free education, free meals and free transportation. Enrollment for the program lasts through June 5.