A California Assembly committee last week rejected legislation that would have opened the door to dismantling the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The controversial bill, which proposed to split the nation's second largest school district into at least seven smaller systems, met overwhelming opposition in the Assembly Education Committee.

The legislation proposed the formation of a 32-member commission to produce a plan for breaking up, the, 640,000-student district. The plan would then have gone before local voters on the November 1994 ballot.

Supporters of the bill, many of whom live in the San Fernando Valley, argue that the existing district is too large and bureaucratic to respond to neighborhood needs.

But opponents expressed concern that a breakup could benefit more affluent areas at the expense of poorer, predominantly minority neighborhoods. Other influential opponents of the bill included the California Teachers Association and the local teachers' union, United Teachers of Los Angeles.

Supporters of the breakup said they are studying whether to bring a compromise proposal back to the Assembly committee. They also might pursue a drive to place the issue directly on the ballot.

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