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So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Board to weigh spending proposals for LAUSD's $6.8 billion budget

Members of United Teachers of Los Angeles protest rising class sizes last year.
Members of United Teachers of Los Angeles protest rising class sizes last year. Clotee Alllochuku/Flickr

The Los Angeles Unified school board is facing competing budget priorities for next year. At its meeting Tuesday,  Superintendent John Deasy will make the case for his budget proposal, which has left labor leaders unsatisfied.

"What is conspicuously missing is any significant reduction in class sizes across the district," said United Teachers of Los Angeles spokeswoman Suzanne Spurgeon in a written statement.  "And, this proposed budget does not include any proposed salary increases for employees who have not had a raise in 7 years."

But time is running out for the board to weigh the union's concerns.  They have to approve a budget by the end of June.

Board member Steve Zimmer postponed a proposal to prioritize class size reduction by hiring back school staff who were laid off in recent years, and to give teachers a raise in the form of a 3.24 percent cost-of-living adjustment.  Zimmer could not be reached for comment.  His resolution has been postponed several times since it was first introduced in September.

District administrators said the proposed cost-of-living adjustment would cost the district $130 million.  There is extra money coming into the LAUSD because of California's growing fiscal health and Governor Jerry Brown's new Local Control Funding Formula.  L.A. Unified will receive an extra $330 million in funds next year; but that money is supposed to be spent to help students from low-income families, English language learners and foster youth. 

Deasy has proposed to hire 1,200 staffers — including teachers, librarians, tech support and other personnel — only a small portion of the 8,203 positions recommended as rehire's under Zimmer's resolution. Deasy's proposal would send new staff to the highest need schools first, and many schools won't get any new staffers at all.

It's unclear how much of Deasy's $6.8 billion budget will be spent on teacher salaries. Last year, $1.8 billion was allocated, but next year's allotment hasn't been broken down for the public. Some $2.86 billion or about 40 percent of the money in Deasy's proposed budget is not itemized. A district official told KPCC that at least part of that money will go toward funding teacher salaries. 

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