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LA Unified faces $557 million budget shortfall for 2012 and it may get worse

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L.A. Unified faces a $557 million budget shortfall for 2012, officials announced at a board meeting today. That's up from the previously estimated $543 million. LAUSD said it could lose more than 7,500 employees because of this.

Here are some quick numbers from the presentation:

  • The nation's second largest district faces a fifth year of consecutive deficits. Since 2008-9 total deficits amount to more than $2.8 billion.
  • In 1965, California ranked 5th in the nation for per student funding; today it ranks 46th in the nation in per student funding and 50th in student to teacher ratios. No other portion of the state's budget has been cut as much as K-12 education.
  • If Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative to raise taxes in November does not pass, then LAUSD will face another mid-year cut and its funding per pupil rate will be about $4,888 for 2012-13. Of this amount, the state would pay only $3,224 and give IOUs for the remainder.
  • LAUSD has already laid of 8,000 employees in the last five years. And Supt. John Deasy has reduced central bureaucracy to ensure money goes to instruction; local districts have been reduced from eight to four.
  • The district is trying to put a parcel tax before voters to raise up to $300 million for schools. But even if both the parcel tax and the governor's tax measure pass, L.A. Unifed will still have to make $250-300 million in cuts.

Superintendent John Deasy told school board members that factors beyond their control complicate the decision on what to cut.

"There are initiatives from not only the governor, but other entities on a November ballot, attempting to solve the budget for which you have to make a decision next week," said Deasy.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).

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