160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant But runaway benefits – the result of a board that’s addicted to union campaign cash and can’t say no at the bargaining table – are only part of the LAUSD’s problem. Other parts include anemic performance at the middle-school and high-school levels, an unquantified dropout rate that could be as high as 50 percent and a wasteful building program that lacks proper oversight or safeguards. All of which is compounded by a remote bureaucracy to which families have little access let alone control. Yes, the district has managed to make some improvements at the elementary-school level, but progress has been way too limited and slow to dampen public discontent. No wonder Richman is going ahead with his effort to break up the LAUSD into a dozen pieces. As long as the LAUSD bureaucracy continues to leave the people of L.A. feeling disconnected, powerless and frustrated, the people of L.A. are likely to latch on to any proposal that might bring them relief. WHEN announcing his proposal last week to break up the Los Angeles Unified School District, Assemblyman Keith Richman said, “The district bureaucracy is a behemoth and unresponsive and not accountable to parents or the community.” Then, right on cue, district officials went out and proved him right. Last Thursday, the LAUSD brass announced that the price tag for paying off the district’s unchecked benefits for its employees has doubled since just 18 months ago. Now, district number-crunchers predict, the figure is going to hit $10 billion. And, of course, the district has done little to sock away money for this eventuality. Money for spiraling benefit costs will necessarily have to come at the expense of everything from teachers to textbooks.