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L.A. schools brace for more cuts after parcel tax fails

The defeat of a parcel tax proposed by the Los Angeles Unified School District means some difficult budget cuts are ahead.

To deal with a $640-million deficit, officials are cutting in half arts programs in elementary schools and eliminating library aides. Already crowded high school classrooms will get more tight. Anticipated layoffs will increase by hundreds.

Measure E sought a $100-per-parcel tax that would have provided $92.5 million annually for four years, easing at least some of the pain from next year's budget crisis.

In Tuesday's election, about 305,000 voters -- a 16% turnout -- cast ballots on the parcel tax. Achieving a two-thirds majority required about 204,000 "yes" votes.

To reach that threshold, the district hoped to rely on the parents of nearly 618,000 students.

In addition, the district has about 100,000 full- and part-time employees. And allied unions, including those representing district employees, account for over 100,000 voters living within L.A. Unified — and that's not including spouses, said Joshua Pechthalt, a vice president with United Teachers Los Angeles.

But a lackluster campaign with little advertising could not bring out the desired numbers. And although district officials knew this week's ballot might be tough, they could not forestall cuts if they waited until the more liberal electorate predicted for the November election.

Read more from Howard Blume on the parcel tax's defeat here. Blume analyzes the situation in the video above.

Comments () | Archives (18)

If the LAUSD employees and their families don't care enough to come out and vote, why should anyone else? LAUSD must earn the trust of voters, rather than demanding more, more, more.

Why not levy a district wide tax on parents of children who actually attend LA unified schools? That seems totally reasonable.

The LAUSD doesn't deserve more money, they haven't shown an ability to efficiently use the money they have. Fire some administrators, cut the red tape. The unions are doing their job, which is solely to benefit their members, but they're also inefficient. Pensions promised years ago were unrealistically high, people are living longer - work 25 years and we'll give you a pension for 35! Although a product of public education myself, I almost wish the system would collapse so we could start over with some sanity. It's not a lack of money, it's a lack of vision.

If the morons that run the school district would stop bussing student's to Arizona for the purpose of teaching student's that it is alright to break Federal laws you might have a little more money. No sympathy here for a bunch of losers!

When Cortines and LAUSD indicated they would place a parcel tax on the ballot I indicated in the L A Times that this measure had no chance. LAUSD is not going to increase my property taxes to pay Cortines and the other fat cats salaries. LAUSD needs new mgt.

I agree with VeniceNC in that there are still far too many administrators. Cut Beaudry, close all the satellite offices completely. Stop hiring outside contractors.

Postpone building some schools in areas where students have already gone back on traditional schedules. The district population is going down, not up, and we don't need to build schools only to give them away to charter schools.

Agree with Venice below. LAUSD == PLEASE don't view this outcome as lack of support by parents. View it as a wake up call that parents like me, traditionally public school supporters and funders, are tired of seeing waste and then watching our children be penalized. Middle schools with multiple PE coaches who barely do anything on the field (it is "recess"). A District with inefficient IT systems (it cheaper in the long run to implement the technology than have a billion staffers doing things manually). A downtown bloated with far too many staff because of a focus on centralized versus local school control. It is easier for principals to respond to local needs than HQ to respond to 618,000 students' needs. Show you can manage better what you have. You spend more per student than neighboring districts and provide less.

"To reach that threshold, the district hoped to rely on the parents of nearly 618,000 students."

With a vast number of the parents here illegally why would the district be relying on them? Was the district hoping the parents would break the law again and register to vote?

As a homeowner in this city who voted against this measure. I can personally say with satisfaction I can go to bed each night knowing these thieves at the LAUSD didn't get their hands on my money on this occasion. Between Tony Vilar, the DWP, and the other crooks who run this city, this is one small victory for the people of this city. We have become a third world entity in part thanks to the likes of the LAUSD.

This measure would have raised 92 million dollars over 4 years. LAUSD is in the red by 640 million just this year. Please stop trying to pick my pocket because of your mismanagement. Thank goodness for Howard Jarvis and Prop 13. Without him I would have lost my house to property tax increases by now. I have an idea lets make the illegal immigrant parents who pay no taxes to pony up $5000 for their kid's education. That should close the deficit.

how can you rely on parents of LAUSD students to go out and vote? majority take no responsibility for their children's academics and blame teachers for not teaching them. This shows how involved these parents are. 16%. pathetic

how can you rely on parents of LAUSD students to go out and vote? majority take no responsibility for their children's academics and blame teachers for not teaching them. This shows how involved these parents are. 16%. pathetic

People in California are sick and tired of the schools swallowing up all the money and getting nothing in return but kids who don't want to learn and could care less about graduating . The unions and corrupt city leaders are running our schools. The union does not represent the kids needs, it represents it's members. 40% of California's entire budget goes to schools and it's going down the drain. If they want to save the school system and save money....it is time to either stop educating children of illegals or charge them for the privilege of getting an education in this county. Maybe if illegals had to pay to send their kids to school then education might mean a lot more to the parents and their kids. It won't be long at this rate that California will be the 3rd world state of the US....it is almost there now.....sad.

the thinking in LAUSD and UTLA is so narrow, the barriers so thick, that reality, let alone imagination, cannot seep through. if every parent whose child failed to advance to the next grade, starting in middle school, were fined $100, the amount of income generated would immediately close the budget gap. if parents of students who vandalize schools were fined, actually forced to pay, the district would save about $20 million a year, which is what the district spends on just paint to cover tagging. if administrators were actually held accountable for the jobs they're assigned to perform, the district would be forced to downsize at least half that "work" force who are individually paid in the hundreds of thousands (at least twice what teachers make). if the district abandoned its own standardized testing every month, it would save hundreds of millions. but these are not issues that are open to discussion.

school choice, pilot schools, charters and parent accountability are off the table; not open to debate. LAUSD and UTLA will go to any length maintain the status quo. they will pile students into classrooms, get rid of teachers, get rid of programs, allow teachers to be the proverbial whipping boy for all the district's failures, all to ensure that substantial change is kept at bay. it's time to dismantle this district.

Reality check time. Candice, the majority on the LAUSD board are as pro-charter, pro school choice as you can get. The state board of education is made up almost entirely of charter school organizers. The state legislature and the state superintendent of schools are in the pocket of Green Dot and the other charters. If only the LAUSD board was half as anti-charter as you think they are that would be wonderful.

To the rest of you - the parcel tax should have failed but not for the anti-public school hysteria that you offered. The parcel tax falls heavily on homeowners and lets big refineries, downtown skyscrapers and other valuable commercial property get off paying, by their standards, almost nothing. Every parcel in the district, from the smallest house to the biggest factory, would have paid $100 under the proposal. That's because the authors of Prop 13 back in 1978 wrote it that way to protect their wealthy friends. They created the parcel tax as a loophole for raising taxes but they also said that the tax couldn't be based on the value of the property - it had to be the same for each parcel. When Californians finally wake up to the fact that Prop 13 is a grossly unfair law that appeals to the greedier instincts of most of us, then will taxation finally be just and not a charade that is designed to benefit wealthy corporations.

Here's a way to close the budget deficit...
-Fine parents who repeatedly fail to show up for parent conferences
-Require parents to purchase student school supplies and writing notebooks.
-Require school based community service for students with discipline problems (graffiti removal/landscaping/sanitation)
-Allow local control of vendor selection for school repairs, resulting in better/ faster bids for services.
-Require administrators to teach part of the school year to improve their knowledge of what students and teachers REALLY need (improves budgeting)

Ask TEACHERS for their feedback and include them in cost effective decision making!

Your emails all say cut Beaudry, cut the administration, but did you read the article. They aren't going to do that they are going to increase class size, cut library aides, cut counselors, cut teachers, they don't cut their own they cut the schools and who gets hurt, the hard working teachers and their students. Think about it for goodness sake. They will cut the schools to the bare bones before they cut their precious office staff.

94% tax on every dollar over 2 million. That would do it, and you wouldn't have to tax anyone else. We used a high tax rate -- anywhere from 70% to 94% -- on the rich from 1932 until 1982, when Ronald Reagan lowered the top tax rate down to 50% and then, in 1988, down to 32%. Those years were our glory years. We need 4 things to maintain a high standard of living for the working class:
1) A high top tax rate
2) High tariffs on imported goods
3) Strong unions
4) Strong progressive government, which includes robust regulation of every aspect of business, from the extraction of natural resources to the accounting practices. Strict enforcement of labor laws, environmental laws and workplace safety laws is how the American worker enjoyed a high standard of living and was the envy and the model for the entire world. Europe has now taken our model and created a better place to live than America.


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