With deficits in the tens of millions of dollars, Los Angeles Unified School District board members signed off on a $6.3 billion budget Thursday that eliminates thousands of jobs and shaves as many as 10 days off the next school year. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 28, 2012.
With deficits in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Los Angeles Unified School District board members signed off on a $6.03 billion budget Thursday that eliminates thousands of jobs and shaves as many as 10 days off the next school year.
The board voted 6 to 1 to approve the budget that closes a $390 million deficit the district faced heading into the new school year; LAUSD has faced a cumulative $2.7 billion deficit since 2008-09, due in large part to reduced state funding, according to a statement released by the district Thursday night.
"The budget is dramatically tight," Superintendent of Education John Deasy told board members. "You can always advocate for additional things once the school year opens up."
Adult education programs will be hit with 3,200 layoffs and a new payment structure may require some older students to pay fees, which members anticipate will save about $84 million.
"I want to express the sadness of approving a budget that has less dollars and does the best we can to serve children well in a difficult time, but does not really honor the promise of what we have said we want for our children," board president Mónica García said in the statement.
The district renegotiated union contracts, resulting in shorter school years, and about 1,400 layoff notices will be issued to teachers and support staff. That figure is smaller than originally anticipated.
The statement cited district figures stating the agreements saved more than 6,200 jobs.
"We are basically good until election day," said Deasy, reflecting on the importance of a voter tax initiative backed by Gov. Jerry Brown that will be on the November ballot.
There was some positive news amid the cuts: class sizes will remain the same, librarian and nurse jobs will be spared, and arts and music programs will survive. Thirteen continuation schools slated for closure will now stay open.
After-school programs for the 50,000 children districtwide whose parents work later hours will continue to have a place to go, at least until November.