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

June 11, 2010 |  7:10 am

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.