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No Love Match for Court Upgrade

  With city officials still refusing to kick in any more money, the school district pushed ahead with plans Tuesday to improve the aging high-school tennis courts with an expensive upgrade for greater longevity. Both school and city officials presented competing versions of...

Scouts ‘Help the Kelp’ Fest

More than 300 Girl Scouts from 5 to 18 will descend on Laguna Beach for Kelp Fest on Saturday, April 26, in hopes of having fun in the sun while also earning a popular scout patch. Tara Coffey, 18, of Huntington Beach, created the new Girl Scout patch with multi-colored kelp...

Sea Star Die Off Remains a Mystery

After six weeks of investigation, scientists still have yet to pinpoint the underlying cause of a disease that is killing sea stars along the West Coast and wiping out Laguna Beach’s population. “It’s certainly into the tens of thousands and maybe in the millions,” said Pete...

Getting High Tech Up to Speed

The school district’s new tech director vouched for the necessity of spending $900,000 over the next year to get the district up to speed with the high-tech direction public education is rapidly taking. “Speed is our biggest issue,” Mike Morrison, who was hired in February as the...

Taking a Lesson in New Math Standards

Many students fall off the math train when the tracks switch between algebra and geometry.  If algebra doesn’t make sense, it’s hard to make the leap, much less go on to calculus, say experts in math education who spoke at a special school district board meeting Monday about new...

Schools Brace for Debt Shock

Next year, Laguna Beach’s public schools will be req­­­­­­­­­­­­uired to carry a $68.7 million debt from the state’s teacher-pension fund, an amount that has the potential to overwhelm the district’s $46 million budget and one school officials say they have no clue how to repay....

Special Ed Goes Common Core

In this class, acting out is encouraged. With its emphasis on less is more, the new Common Core state-mandated academic standards still require teachers to cover certain subjects, but at a less hectic pace. The focus is depth rather than breadth of subject to engender greater...

Price Spikes for Tennis Court Repairs

By Rita Robinson | LB Indy Unexpected costs to replace a wheelchair ramp will hike the estimated price to renovate the high school tennis courts to $1.8 million with another $35,100 approved by a disgruntled school district board Tuesday. The latest expense adds to project costs...

School Pay Will Post Online

By Rita Robinson | LB Indy In an effort to promote financial transparency, total wages of all employees of Laguna Beach’s public schools will be posted online by early May. State Controller John Chiang’s office sent out a letter last month requesting all public schools to submit...

Computer Smarts Put to First Test

By Rita Robinson | LB Indy Every fifth-grade student at El Morro Elementary School will fire up a personal computer on April 7 to take the first computer-based test of new state academic teaching standards known as the Common Core. No more paper, No. 2 pencils or best-guess...

Rooms Close, Displacing Homeless Back to the Street

One of Laguna Beach’s rare private refuges for local homeless people to find a permanent place to live was recently ordered closed by city officials, displacing five people back to the street and confounding homeless advocates. The five residents living at the row of rooms in a...

Schools Required to Survey Parents

A first-time, state-mandated survey of parents soliciting their input on the Laguna Beach school district’s plans and goals will arrive in inboxes on Friday, a district official said Wednesday. During Tuesday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Sherine Smith described the...

Sea Stars Dying in Tide Pools

At least 40 visible sea stars were alive and well in the Treasure Island tide pools in South Laguna at noon this past Saturday. But by 3 p.m., eight had disintegrated like wet bread. An epidemic, which has destroyed sea stars along the West Coast beginning last June, has reached...

School Principal Pursues Encore Career

Ron La Motte, Top of the World Elementary School’s long-time principal, will retire in June after 27 years in the district, though he’s not about to quit his profession. La Motte said he’s starting an “encore career” as director of the master’s program at Irvine’s Concordia...

New Tech Chief Hired

Also Schoolpower fundraising earns ‘A’ grades Drawing from applicants nationwide who went through several rounds of interviews before a district-wide panel, school board members unanimously approved hiring a new technology director Tuesday who is currently employed at Saddleback...