renaissance

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...

Church Opens Second Homeless Shelter

Without government aid, a group of determined human rights activists opened a second shelter for homeless people in Laguna Beach last week when it rained, taking in the overflow crowd turned away from the city’s at-capacity, year-round homeless shelter on Laguna Canyon Road....

Finding a Key to Unlock the Ivory Tower

Technical classes, traditionally geared for students uninterested in college, are taking a new direction lately.  College-bound students from Laguna Beach High School make up half of the enrollment in trade-school like courses offered by San Juan Capistrano’s South Coast Regional...

Teachers Receive 4% Pay Hike

Property taxes will pay for a 4% salary increase for teachers, counselors and department chiefs in the Laguna Beach Unified School District.  The district’s board unanimously approved the pay raise Tuesday, Jan. 28, without discussion. The pay hikes are retroactively effective as...

Homeruns Foul Out with Neighbors

As Stephen Crawford fetched something from the trunk of his car, a soaring baseball flew over the high school’s athletic field fence, heading straight for his house on St. Ann’s Drive and missing him by less than a yard before bouncing up his driveway. The high school baseball...

Replanted Kelp Forest Thrives Offshore

Diving 50 feet to the ocean floor off Laguna Beach’s coast was like landing on a desolate, evacuated planet.  There was no sign of life. Not even a lone, drifting kelp spore or a tenacious purple spiny sea urchin to devour it. “When we started, there was nothing there, nothing,”...