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L.A. Unified scrambling to decode effect of budget deal

The state budget deal unleashed an epidemic of worry and head scratching among school officials statewide this morning. A spokeswoman for the nation’s second-largest school system said district number crunchers were still tracking down specifics.

“Right now, we just don’t know,” said Gayle Pollard-Terry of the Los Angeles Unified School District. “There are so few details.”

Calls from the media for this information have already come in to L.A. Unified from across the country and abroad.

Pollard-Terry said the school system of 688,000 students thought it had made sufficient — and painful — cuts to get through the next school year. But some conflicting media reports have put the size of the education reductions at levels that could require another round of tough budgeting decisions, she said. And getting a clear answer from officials in Sacramento has been difficult.

Budget actions in L.A. Unified have slashed about $1.29 billion starting with the 2008-09 school year, which ended June 30. On that date, the district laid off about 2,000 teachers; it has since been trying to determine which non-teachers to lay off and how many. The district's general fund, before the wave of cuts, was about $5.9 billion.

The district also is engaged in intense negotiations with its teachers union over compensation concessions that would, if successful, result in hiring back some laid-off teachers. District officials also have talked of placing a parcel tax on the ballot to fund ongoing operations. Until now, the district has asked voters only to approve school-construction bonds, which have to be reserved for building, repairing and upgrading school facilities.

The district’s budget plan, which includes many future reductions, was supposed to take the district through June 2012.

-- Howard Blume

Comments () | Archives (12)

God forbid you pare back any of the outrageous salaries, benefits, and pensions that the unfireable teachers are raking in no matter how badly they "perform."

I bet getting rid of some out of touch older-tenured teachers looks good right about now. Maybe it's time to take a serious look at how the school district hires and fires folks.

I don't understand how not only this state but the entire country cannot make education a priority. The US government bailed out all these banks, automobile companies, and one of the most important things so this country can provide a better future for our kids education was put in the back burner. That why this country is in the situation that it is in. Education is important but obviously for the governor, lawmakers, including Former President Bush and President Obama its not. We use to be number one in education and we rank number 18 out of 36 nations. South Korea is number one. How did a nation thats suppose to be rich and powerful make education no longer a priority? Being a teacher was suppose to be a honor now it's just a way to make a living.

We are going to feel the repercussion of all these cuts in education for DECADES. Where will we draw the line and say enough? I just can not understand how education and healthcare are taking such large hits and yet the prisons are not being impacted in this way. How about we let out non violent criminals and close our prisons not our schools. Goodness. I say all state government elected members give up their salaries until they can come up with something better. I also resent the smiling faces of them on the cover of the Times today. How dare they! Disgusting. I recommend none of them run for reelection.

My understanding is that tucked within the agreement is a provision permitting school districts to cut the school year by 5 days. The assumption is that this will help them cope with the additional budget cuts. Any sense whether LAUSD will be pursuing this option for next year?

LAUSD has some of the worst schools and the worst teachers. Maybe this will cause them to restructure how they run their schools.

For goodness sake, have you heard some of these LAUSD students speak. Their verbal skills are atrocious.

Nearly everyone in the private sector has been impacted by job losses, pay cuts and reduced benefits, not to mention significant losses in retirement accounts. It's only fair that city, county, state and school employees share in this pain.

what about verifying legal citizenship status of students and parents? What about firing some administrators?

Does anyone read the news? This State, not to mention this country are in a serous economical predicament. Everyone is looking out for number one, themselves, how sad. I agree that teachers should be held to a higher standard and that hey should be payed and retained according to their performance, just as at any other job. There was a time that just about every job had some kind of benefits, anyone remember profit sharing? its gone because the Execs are now keeping it all. Teachers benefits should continue. Just because there was a time when a civil servant was guarantee a job for life once, doesn't mean its right. There are so many useless cogs in this wheel called California it runs slow and inefficiently. But we the Voters have not helped. We vote for cleaner this or save that all the time. We never ask how is it going to be payed for. Its time to pay up. All those people who clamored for less government social services,less money for education, this is your time. Hopefully in a few years when the homeless move into your nice neighborhood and you call the cops or get robbed, you ask for more money (and pay higher taxes) for more cops. This will get worse, how much more is up in the air, lets all do our part. Sounds easy enough, I know it wont be. Unfortunately our self righteousness State can come out of this better and stronger.

Eventually, not necessarily immediately, but down the road, with the raised class sizes and lower salaries, LA will feel and see the difference. You'll get what you pay for.

"Outrageous salaries" "Cadillac Benefits" "Generous Pensions". Well if you are a bitter 50 year old who says, "Welcome to McDonald's may I take your order?"everyday , I can see how you might feel the need to believe these hackneyed cliches regarding teacher compensation.

Or more cynically, you could be a union busting corporate type who stands to benefit from the complete absense of a middle class in the L.A. basin (as scarce as one is already). Next you'll probably rant about over-paid cops, firemen, and port workers.

While I do not disagree that there are some teachers in every school district that do not "perform" to the level of excellence that their students deserve, I feel confident saying that they are the minority. I would hardly call the salaries and benefits received by hardworking and passionate teachers "outrageous," unless it is in reference to how underpaid we truly are for the huge task we undertake.


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