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Ramon Cortines gets emotional over LAUSD cuts

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines fought for composure twice this morning when discussing upcoming budget cuts.

The district must cut about $132 million from this year's budget before July because of reduced state funding due to the economic crisis and L.A. Unified's declining enrollment. The district has already chopped almost $560 million this year and has issued about 2,500 preliminary layoff notices, mainly to elementary school teachers, and virtually eliminated programs like summer school.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the cuts, which will mainly come from further program reductions, next Tuesday.

"I want you to know that some of the recommendations I have made ... go against my core beliefs and values," Cortines said as he appeared to tear up. 

He had to pause to regain his composure later in the meeting as well.

Union officials have vigorously protested the cuts and urged the district to use more federal stimulus money to save jobs and protect class size. Teachers union leaders held a demonstration several weeks ago to protest the budget and sat in the street in front of district headquarters, resulting in almost 40 union members being arrested.

A small splinter group of teachers has also been conducting a water-only fast in protest.

-- Jason Song at LAUSD headquarters

Comments () | Archives (11)

LAUSD convert to a charter school district and dissolve the unions that hamper academic progress for the district. LAUSD needs to focus on academic achievement not preserving jobs. Subcontract nonessential classroom services such as security, cafeteria, clerical and medical staff.

If we eliminate the unions from the LAUSD, we'll have much better teachers, receiving similar to higher pay and accountability for teachers and administrations.

Just like unions were a cancer to the auto companies, they continue to plague our state and municipal governments and will not allow us fix our finances because all they want is more money everyday.

Tomorrow at 3:04 pm my students will be gone. I will be terminated June 30th. Maybe I'll be able to substitute for the district come fall. I don't know how much my last paycheck will be July 5th. I really don't want to file for unemployment but need to pay rent. I wish it hadn't come to this. I came to LAUSD with my reservations and now am leaving because of the mess our state is in. Good luck fixing this. Thanks for nothing UTLA. Ms. RIF

LAUSD needs to let the teache's union run the school district. As in any large organization, those closest to the work know what's best. The union needs to be stronger.

This economy means one thing, folks... get used the new reality: No guaranteed employment, weakened teacher's union and competition among schools for a smaller student population.

LAUSD is spending BILLIONS in bond money on construction projects, including 7 BILLON just passed in measure Q.


The LAUSD construction project website claims all this money is needed to “accommodate explosive growth in our student population”.


Yet when it comes to laying off teachers, LAUSD then says it has declining enrollment…as if they weren’t increasing class sizes next year. Their own figures estimate an over 20% class size increase.

Then when it comes to over ONE HUNDRED MILLION in stimulus money, LAUSD says it will let individual school sites decide how to spend their share, but then it quietly forces them to spend most of the money on “data coaches” and other out-of-classroom positions and not teachers.


Everything that LAUSD does is deceptive and seems to be aimed at spending tons of money on anything but teachers in the classroom. UNACCEPTABLE!

It has been a sad day for me as a teacher, watching the last group of second graders go who benefited from the 20/1 class size reduction. This program started in 1996 and truely benefited at risk kids. The increase in class sizes and layoff of new teachers can only be the greatest crime committed against the children of Los Angeles, and the State. I am sure that next Monday will indeed be bittersweet as I watch my friend leave their home for the last time.

These budget cuts are devestating. The bulk of the layoffs will be elementary school teachers. This will mean that the children's foundational education is at risk. 20/1 helped us get to more children and give them individualized attention. Next year 24/1 the following year it is possible it could be 29/1. To me it's about the children. This is not good.

That's reality folks! Decrease in buget = Increase in class size and Layoffs. Other districts have it much worse than LAUSD. If you good progress in test scores and student performance, there would be no layoffs. Teaching is a part-time job!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't throw good money after bad. Obviously all the money in the world will not change the attitude of drop outs and their parents who don't care. An attitude adjustment is in place. impose a fee on each parent per child per semester and fine them if their kids fluff off and fail. Hold the kids back who don't do well until they can pass the grade, don't push them ahead. Go back to basics, reading, writing & math. I went to school with only reading programs and classes for special needs children. And guess what really kept us in line, the paddle. We should introduce that again. Kids who didn't do well were held back, not pushed ahead. All we did was study our basic subjects. No special programs, no ESL...foreign students picked up the language from total immersion, just like my parents did. Too much coddling, too much political correctness, not enough discipline, no more tenure, way too much wasted money. Overpaid teachers and a union after more money from the taxpayers to keep their cushy jobs. All the teacher I talk to know that the overcrowding comes from massive illegal immigrant children, no secret there. It is not politically correct to admit it, but we all know it's true.

It's time for parents of students to foot the bill for the shortfall, leave us homeowners/taxpayers out of it. We are already paying enough!!

Its sad that with the economy the way it is, one of the first casualties is education.

A couple students over at USC have been putting together a program to supplement the loss of educational opportunities.

Its pretty useful if your looking for some education for your children in the summer.



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