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LAUSD budget proposal foresees up to 8,000 layoffs by next fall

School officials Tuesday unveiled a worst-case budget plan that could, if enacted, result in up to 8,000 layoffs by next fall. The tentative budget proposal, which responds to next year's projected deficit of $470 million, is an early salvo in a process that will play out over the next six months in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Teachers fired a return volley with an afternoon rally outside district headquarters that attracted more than 700. Participants said they opposed all cuts affecting teachers and classrooms.

The district had to approve a projected budget covering the next three years to comply with state law.

The district also would pursue revenue increases, including a parcel tax on property owners, said L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines. That tax, if approved by the school board and then by voters, would work out to $2 to $4 a week for property owners and raise about $150 million a year over a four- to six-year period.

-- Howard Blume

Comments () | Archives (65)

LAUSD just spend money on crap all the time and is not just the teachers being paid so much. Teachers are idiots. They are lazy and want all for free. They seem to be all the looser that could not make into damn acting or making it big. They spend money and think the money is not theirs, but complain the taxes are raised. I was in LAUSD and did not learn much more then I learner in 9 yrs or school in USSR. REALLY!

Illegal immigrants have always and will always be blamed for this country's woes. You say "Do not educate illegal immigrants and their children!" What about those children of illegal immigrants who serve in the U.S. military, what do you say to them and their families? Americans are a bunch of hypocrites!

Cuts to education are short-term remedies that create long-term issues. California is a leader is many industries because it invested in its education system, but that will change. The cuts to the secondary, CSU and UC systems will topple California.

I teach in LAUSD. The problem - for the most part - is not the teachers. I work with an incredibly dedicated group of people who work their butts off all year long, not just nine months. Each week I spend about 70 hours teaching, grading, and planning. I spend half the summer planning for the following year, advancing my pedagogy, and reflecting on the previous year. Among the many teachers I know at several different schools, I am not unique.

How can we fix this issue? Here are some ideas:

1. Allow schools to have more control over their funds. District and state policies dictate that most funds are cleared out at year's end or the money gets rescinded. Allow schools to carry over funds. Many schools would have a "rainy day" fund that could shield them from property tax fluctuations and state budget issues.

2. Break up LAUSD. It's too big to sustain itself. One figure I saw a couple of years ago noted that close to 30% of the per-pupil funding the district receives is used to support the district. We already have mini-districts in place. Cut the strings and cut the redundant governance.

3. I worked in management for years before I taught. The bottom line is that if you don't perform, you shouldn't have a job. Period. Of course, measuring teacher performance is tricky when you take into account the wide array of students in the district. I've had classes that were full of star students, but I've also had a classroom full of kids who saw no interest in school and hadn't for years. When a student enters a 10th grade English class at a 4th grade reading level, the chances of them meeting the standards are bleak, no matter who teaches them. But, there are those teachers who are just holding out for retirement. Search them out, fire them, and replace them with effective teachers. This isn't going to fix much, but it's a start. The good teachers at each school know who these folks are.

4. Pay teachers more. It sounds crazy, but you get what you pay for. The brightest and the best coming out of college should see teaching as a real option, but the salary scares them away. I can't make more money if I improve my sales or post greater dividends for shareholders. In business, if you pay someone less than what they are worth - or are worth - you pay the difference in other ways. I love teaching and I can't imagine doing anything else. However,

5. End social promotion in the middle schools. Kids know that they don't have to do a single thing and they will move on to high school. This ills the high schools with kids who are still operating at a fifth grade level.

I'd love to write more, but I've got a stack of AP essays to grade.

Let's do a little math...

Total LAUSD budget: $20 Billion
Total Students: 694,288

Total spent per student: $28,796 per student

LAUSD is more expensive than the most expensive private high school in Southern California. And for that we get a 33.6% drop out rate!

Did anyone forget to mention the number of kids entering the district is dropping like a stone in the last few years?


NO PARCEL TAX INCREASE! What additional benefit do I get from constantly being shaken down?!? I don't have kids. The schools are pushing out illiterate, surly, apathetic graduates. And let's face it, our schools are filled to the brim because of rampant unchecked illegal immigration---they can barely read, write or speak Spanish OR English...if they actually manage to graduate at all!

LA electorate, if you STOP falling for the de rigeur "Save The Teachers And The Babies And The Firefighters And The Police And the Nurses" campaign commercials that they drag out every few years, their thug unions will learn to live with what they have and actually examine where they can trim the fat! There are dedicated, hard-working employees in all of those professions, but don't kid yourselves that there is a LOT of "dead wood" that can be cleared away!

VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING, at every election! Do not hand these bureaucrats any more of our money to squander!

"I really enjoy reading the ignorant rants of ill-informed people. These people are un-American. They don't want to pay ANY taxes and use the excuse of "government waste and fraud." They SAY they want America to be leaders in military defense, education, R&D, manufacturing . . . . you name it. But they're not willing to give their fair share to make America strong."

This is one of the most intelligent posts I have seen so far this year. It takes money to run a business and it takes money to run a country. Taxes are the only way to pay for the services that so many take advantage of / don't realize where these services come from.

First, the lunch money going to the "illegal aliens" is federal money, not state money, and must be spent according to federal guidelines... the $450M shortfall has nothing to do with that money.

The $450M shortfall, however, does have to do with the way the district leadership has consistently mismanaged money through the creation and maintenance of a bloated bureaucracy that values the illusion of progress more than progress itself.

How does a military win a war? Pouring money into consultants and bureaucrats who devise spreadsheets and slogans? No... by pouring every resource possible into fortifying the front lines. LAUSD has consistently put the gear in the rear for too long... it's time to spend money at school sites and on classrooms, which means less bureaucrats, no multi-million-dollar headquarters building, and teachers that are better-trained, better-paid, and more numerous so that our children don't have to languish in classrooms of 45-50 kids...

Uh... just to interject here as I see many "Ahmerricann" posts... there are other America's and Americans, not just US or North Americans - there are Central Americans and South Americans and other America's so they are also AMERICAN.

This has nothing to do with being "Americans" or what one supposed greatest generations did or anything.

Its about a seriously broken LAUSD system that has incompetent, un-visionary, stupid upper-mobility bureaucrats that do not look at the spending thats done for their sake but look to affect others.

This "America" as some of you proudly pound your chests over has one priority - militarism. Not education, not an industry, the military IS the economy.

Los Angeles collects more property taxes then anywhere else in the country and the schools are terrible. With the amount of money they collect the schools should be lined in gold but they are horrible and dangerous. Can someone please audit them and let the taxpayers know who is stealing all the money and please start throwing the administrators in jail! They should fire all of LAUSD.

To the guy with the business degree and no job, I'm an LAUSD teacher and when I get my $80K a year w-2 I'll be think of you, sucks to be you punk!

I find the number of brash statements based on heresay startling. Those of you complaining about illegal immigrants probably do not really know any. Learning English is difficult, and most of us have immigrants somewhere in our family tree who faced the same obsticle. I'm glad that no one decided to stop teaching ESL when my great-grandmother arrived from Eastern Europe.

Those of you trashing LAUSD teachers after watching a 20/20 segment are jumping to conclusions with very little information or evidence. Charter schools definitely do have their good points, but there are serious drawbacks as well. REALITY: LAUSD is huge, and unlike charters they take all students. There are some bad teachers, but this number is largely overwhelmed by the number of GREAT teachers. I teach in LAUSD and have had undocumented students in AP courses with stronger work ethics than many others. My students come to school with a variety of challenges including abuse, neglect, language difficulties, learning disabilities, missing parents and countless more. These problems have causes that are numerous and complicated. The solution cannot be found by simply calling out blame without adequate evidence, analysis, and reflection.

The other type of response I enjoy reading are the parents whose children are "languishing" in LAUSD. These are the same ones who drop their kids off and expect them to return home geniuses but fail to make sure homework is completed or fail to attend parent-teacher conferences. Then they complain that their kids aren't little Einsteins.

Job reductions have already started. Some of my non-teaching LAUSD cronies are saying that some recent hires are no longer working full-time.

Remember a few years ago when everybody was making all all kinds of money in California?Well teachers still had to get by on their average paycheck. We had to go to parties and get advice about investing. We had to listen to all of the stories of lavish vacations. We had to watch your teenagers drive around town in their Beemeers. We did invest in our STRS accounts but that is not sexy topic at parties, it is safe and responsible. We took vacations around California, they stories just were not as exotic as yours. We drove our kids to school or God forbid put them on the bus. Now that your party is over we should take pay cuts and layoffs. You played the game and now that you do not like the results you want to change the rules and worst of all blame teachers for wanting nothing more than keeping a job with an average paycheck.

Remember a few years ago when everybody was making all all kinds of money in California?Well teachers still had to get by on their average paycheck. We had to go to parties and get advice about investing. We had to listen to all of the stories of lavish vacations. We had to watch your teenagers drive around town in their Beemeers. We did invest in our STRS accounts but that is not sexy topic at parties, it is safe and responsible. We took vacations around California, they stories just were not as exotic as yours. We drove our kids to school or God forbid put them on the bus. Now that your party is over we should take pay cuts and layoffs. You played the game and now that you do not like the results you want to change the rules and worst of all blame teachers for wanting nothing more than keeping a job with an average paycheck.

I completely agree with Loyld's comments that Educators are the biggest enemy to education, just as Doctors are the biggest enemy to health, and Dentists are the biggest enemy to healthy teeth. Spending more on education does make parents and students lazy! They need to educate themselves with zero dollars from taxpayers! I'm sure this survival of the fittest approach would drastically raise test scores. To up the ante we could the boil and eat the students who fail to perform. It's a modest proposal.


You are using the quantum leap example which is utilized by those who have no argument of their own. We're talking accountability. I paid $8000 property tax this year, in addition to close to $30,000 state and federal income tax. I know, boohoo, but the point is, how much is enough? I don't mind at all paying taxes. But does the middle class have to carry everyone on their backs.

No one in these posts advocates paying no tax at all. They are screaming for accountability and a lack of waste. Is that too much to ask? Also, if I may go out on a limb, I would guess that you don't pay a lot of taxes, and relish the chance to redistribute wealth. And if someone opposes you, they are "un-American." Nice try, but it doesn't pass the smell test.

I'm an LAUSD teacher for 10 years. I'm an excellent teacher and get high results. My students are 98% immigrant children. Teaching is the most difficult job I've ever had (I have 30 years of experience in business).
This year is especially bad because my class is overcrowded. I have special needs students mixed in with my mainstream ELD class. While I have 25 students, some teachers in my grade level have 16. I guess some people are more equal than others. Beaudry (the big district) should be closed down & its functions automated. All funding should come to the schools & classrooms.

Why is it that LAUSD district employees are throwing around numbers of employees to be laid off like 4,500, and then 8,000? I don't think they know what they are doing.
I think they are trying to scare the employees, especially the teachers.

Why is it that LAUSD district employees are throwing around numbers of employees to be laid off like 4,500, and then 8,000? I don't think they know what they are doing.
I think they are trying to scare the employees, especially the teachers.

It is important to remember these cuts would not just be teachers.

As and LAUSD teacher I believe if UTLA would agree to a 7% decrease and 2 furlough days and the other unions would also come to the table we could put this all behind us and get back to concentrating on our students.

I would like to note that breaking up the district into its mini districts would create more inequity in education.

There are too many people on the sidelines, on both sides, and even those that work to appear that they are solving the problem. Too many that are unwilling to roll up their sleeves and work, and resort to being only the critic. Perhaps they are too busy, that can be true, or perhaps it is the fear of failure, but I believe it all starts in the family.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt; "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

There is a simple solution to this problem. If California were to change the way it charges property taxes we would have a more consistent revenue source, one that is not easily affected by recessions. Sales and income taxes fluctuate during an economic downturn while property taxes remain relatively constant.

Many of the commentators here seem to believe that a child is somehow cheating the system by attending a welcoming school with small classes and eating a lunch he or she did not pay for. At the school I work at in South LA, over 95% of the students live below the poverty line. The vast majority of these students are kind people who ignore the myriad issues they face and come to class ready and willing to succeed. I am sure that many of those who commented today have never faced such hardships but almost all of you have one thing in common with my students; you received a free public education. I think it is time that you paid if forward.

Also, just a side note, how many days would some of you last in my classroom? I only have 200 students a day. The curriculum is United States history from its conception the start of World War One. We just finished writing an essay comparing some of America's most important political figures in which students developed a thesis statement and then supported that statement with details, evidence, and critical analysis. I know, I am wasting your tax money, they should just work at Burger King. Oh, wait, they are not hiring right now. I will see them at the unemployment office after I lose my job.

I wont' vote for another cent going to LAUSD. Not until they clean up their act and start spending the money on the kids again. I agree with the LAUSD teacher comment here. Unfortunately, it is only one of a few that I have ever read from a UTLA teacher who actually gets it. The schools are horrid. We constantly donate lots of money, in addition to the taxes we pay, and it's never enough. Our children, who are Honor students are suffering, and no, they aren't Honor students because of the schools. They are Honor students because of us, their parents, and the time we devote to educating them, keeping them on track, and helping them deal with daily, unchecked physical peer violence against the "targets of the day", often because "good students aren't gang bangers, and therefore should die." It's a huge investment - giving your entire evenings to helping your children learn, and cope with a deficient school system. It's a hundred times worse than it was for us when we were in LAUSD. It's a jungle that teaches that wrong prevails over right.

Incompetent teachers (we have another one this year) are protected beyond justice by UTLA. Some of these teachers are blatantly incompetent, some righteously abusive, and some just plain lazy, free-loaders. Who knows, maybe they've just thrown in the towels because the schools, students, and parental involvement have deteriorated so much? It doesn't change the fact that they're hurting our kids.

It's true that there are many excellent teachers, and many average teachers, and they do account for the majority. But, one bad apple is enough to spoil the entire school year, not just for the student, but for the parents as well. And why the majority of good teachers can't see that it would be to their great benefit to axe the bad apples is perplexing and appalling.

It's astounding that there is such an industry that tolerates this free-ride, life-long guaranteed employment, with no accountability, no consequences, plus the best life-long pension plan possible. The best alternative we have at this time is Private school because our kids will be in college by the time LA has enough Charters. In the interim, NOT ONE MORE CENT FOR LAUSD.

I work in LAUSD and have a few ideas on how to fix this:

1) Golden Handshake- offer those close to retirement a way out and quit paying their salary.

2)End Bussing- who cares about bussing anyway. Kids who live in one part of town should go to the school in that part of town. If the district does not do this, it shows how much faith they have in the district. This will save a large amount of money in gas, wear and tear on the buses, and insurance.

3) Break up LAUSD- like the Roman empire, the district has become too greedy and has grown too large (much like the city of LA). There should be 15 district made up of the area that LAUSD takes up. This way these schools will be more effective and can address the local needs of the LOCAL students and families. Why should a parent and teacher in Carson have to worry about kids from South Central coming to their school and causing problems in the area when the student does not live there. Kick them out!

4) End Social Promotion- the schools are failing because the district has taken away tools from the teachers. If the school was able to hold a child back for getting an F on a report card then the schools would be successful. Many parents take a lax stance on failing classes, and say "oh just do better." I am sorry your child failed because they are lazy, rude, and refused to do the work. Let the teachers tell the truth and tell it like it is.

I will agree with some people here that there are ineffective teachers. They should be fired, however by basing a salary on a test you are going along with a flawed system. The reason for this is that the test is flawed due to its numerous biases, and any measurement instrument is flawed in one way or another so come up with another route.

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