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Ramon Cortines gets emotional over LAUSD cuts

June 18, 2009 |  3:20 pm

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines fought for composure twice this morning when discussing upcoming budget cuts.

The district must cut about $132 million from this year's budget before July because of reduced state funding due to the economic crisis and L.A. Unified's declining enrollment. The district has already chopped almost $560 million this year and has issued about 2,500 preliminary layoff notices, mainly to elementary school teachers, and virtually eliminated programs like summer school.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the cuts, which will mainly come from further program reductions, next Tuesday.

"I want you to know that some of the recommendations I have made ... go against my core beliefs and values," Cortines said as he appeared to tear up. 

He had to pause to regain his composure later in the meeting as well.

Union officials have vigorously protested the cuts and urged the district to use more federal stimulus money to save jobs and protect class size. Teachers union leaders held a demonstration several weeks ago to protest the budget and sat in the street in front of district headquarters, resulting in almost 40 union members being arrested.

A small splinter group of teachers has also been conducting a water-only fast in protest.

-- Jason Song at LAUSD headquarters