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L.A. school board to cut $730 million

March 31, 2009 |  9:59 am

The Los Angeles Board of Education today is scheduled to vote on measures to cut more than $730 million by increasing class sizes and laying off thousands of employees. Critics have questioned both the size and timing of the cuts. The budget plan takes into account some, but not all, of the federal dollars that are likely to be available through President Obama’s economic stimulus package.

Groups representing parents, employees and other interest groups are expected to pack the district headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District just west of downtown to oppose the budget plan.

For students and parents, the most noticeable effect of the proposed cuts would likely be increased class sizes. In the early elementary grades, class size would rise from 20 students to an average of 24. For 11th and 12th grades, the increase would result in classes averaging 43 students.

L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines insists that the cuts need to be approved so that schools have sufficient time to plan for next year. The new school year starts July 1 for about 100 year-round schools. Part of his proposal includes letting school sites determine how to use more of their more-limited resources.

-- Howard Blume