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It's gotten bad: Budget issues literally push one school official to her hands and knees

Before the pledge, she got down on her hands and knees in front of the horseshoe and began a prayer to God — asking for forgiveness and asking for all in the room to repent for their sins.

That's how Inglewood Unified School Board vice president Trina Williams started the district's first meeting of the year, reports my KPCC colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

The night apparently didn't get any less dramatic, as the board discussed the likelihood that it would run out of money in the next few months and be forced to declare bankruptcy. That would likely mean the state would strip the school board of its powers and take over the operations of the 12,000-student district.

Guzman-Lopez reported over KPCC's airwaves today:

"The district expects an $18 million deficit by the end of this fiscal year. The superintendent recommended taking out loans, freezing expenses and laying off employees. Inglewood schools have already dismissed 223 workers, mostly teachers, to cut the deficit. The teachers’ union president said a declaration of bankruptcy and a state takeover would stem the flow of red ink."

Such budget issues have hit many districts hard, especially after Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2012 budget that includes the possibility that K-12 education and community colleges could be hit with a $4.8 billion cut if tax increases he is trying to get on the November ballot aren't approved by voters.

LAUSD Supt. John Deasy told school board members Tuesday the district is facing a $543 million shortfall next year and will need to consider putting a parcel tax before voters in November to try and avoid more devastating cuts to the nation's second-largest school system. He said this could include possibly laying off thousands of employees, slashing entire school programs and losing months of school.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email or on Twitter (@LATams).