The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to oppose cuts eliminating L.A. Unified’s "Beyond the Bell" after school programs.
The resolution, introduced by City Council President Herb Wesson, is just a symbolic measure — but one that school board member Bennett Kayser hopes creates a domino effect. First, mobilizing parents, then children’s advocates and finally applying enough pressure on Superintendent John Deasy that he finds a way to cover the $7 million cost of restoring the programs at the start of the new school year on August 14.
The school board is expected to vote on its final budget for the next fiscal year on Thursday. If approved, 566 elementary and middle schools will lose after school programs that go from 3 to 6 p.m.
Board member Kayser said he plans on drafting an amendment to the budget directing the superintendent to find funds by drawing from what he calls “lower priority programs.”
"If we don't save these programs, we're basically dumping 50,000 kids on the street," Bennett said. He added that, while new textbooks and standardized tests serve good puposes, the top priority should be child safety. "There's little that supercedes [that]," he said.
If the services are not restored, it would be the first time since 1915 that the district failed to offer after school programs.