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L.A. Unified restores cut classroom days and rescinds teacher furloughs for this year

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The L.A. Unified school board voted Tuesday to restore five instructional days to the district's calendar and to rescind 10 unpaid days off teachers had agreed to earlier this year. These actions didn't  surprise observers. L.A. Unified and ever other district in the state avoided mid-year state funding cuts after last week’s ballot box victory of Proposition 30.

Prop. 30 hikes state sales and income taxes to raise about $6 billion in revenue for public education. Its failure would have triggered about the same amount in cuts to public schools in the middle of this school year. L.A. Unified, and many other school districts, had  approved cuts just in case.

“To say that people held their breath last week is an understatement,” L.A. Unified Superintendent Deasy said during Tuesday's school board meeting as he briefed administrators.

By restoring the instructional days, L.A. Unified returned its classroom calendar to the standard 180 days for the first time in five years of budget cutting. The district will also rescind 10 furlough days teachers had agreed to, and will talk to other, much smaller employee unions about rescinding their furlough days.

Deasy said he welcomes being able to “say to our employees, ‘you work a whole year, you get paid a full year’ and finally say to our students, ‘we need you in school a whole year.’”  L.A. Unified’s seven board members unanimously approved the superintendent's proposal without debate.

Proposition 30 won with 54% of the statewide vote. One-quarter of the measure’s 5.5 million "yes" votes came from L.A. County. Deasy said that turnout should not go unnoticed.

“I want to thank personally the voters of the state of California but in particular the voters of Los Angeles who really carried the measure for the state,” he said.

In spite of the win, Prop. 30 lost in a majority of California’s 58 counties - including Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego. Its large victory in all the Bay Area counties and L.A. County buoyed the measure to statewide victory.