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L.A. school officials drop plan to lay off 1,900 teachers

April 13, 2009 |  2:06 pm

Los Angeles school officials will drop a proposal to lay off as many as 1,900 permanent teachers. The decision, announced moments ago, spares jobs, disruptions at school sites and an expensive legal challenge that could have cost the Los Angeles Unified School District millions of dollars.

Officials spared permanent teachers who work at elementary schools, many of which will still face class-size increases and a decrease in services as the nation’s second-largest school system seeks to cut $596 million from next year’s budget.

Today’s move is not a wholesale retreat from layoffs. More than 6,000 other employees still could be affected, including several thousand less-experienced teachers who have not yet worked long enough to achieve tenure protections.

One school still at risk of losing more than half its staff is John H. Liechty Middle School, west of downtown. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa led a discussion forum this morning with teachers and parents at the school, stressing the need for “shared sacrifice” and “creative solutions” to save jobs and preserve campus reform efforts.

Liechty is not one of the 10 schools where Villaraigosa is overseeing reform efforts, but the mayor’s schools, too, would be heavily affected by the current proposed cuts.

The school board is scheduled to take up the budget proposal Tuesday, but Supt. Ramon C. Cortines and school board president Monica Garcia insisted that they will continue to work to minimize the number of layoffs, even if the board approves them as a precaution.

-- Howard Blume