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

LAUSD board staff member on budget: 'It's ugly. Absolutely awful unless we get some help.'

John Deasy

Nick Ut/AP

John Deasy, head of the Los Angeles Unified School District

Superintendent John Deasy will unveil the proposed LAUSD budget at today's board meeting with a shortfall greater than expected at $570 million. There are proposed cuts to early education programs, the academic decathlon, science centers, band, and adult education, according to a board staff member who was informed of the proposals Monday.

"It's ugly. Absolutely awful unless we get some help," the board staff member said. "Everything that is good about education that keeps people in schools is going."

The board staff member stressed that the details of the budget may have changed since they were informed, as it is a work in progress.

The budget proposal will be voted on at next week's board meeting. Between now and then it is expected to change a number of times as the board members debate what is or is not a necessary cut.

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Good news? More students want to go to UC schools; Bad news? More will be turned away

California University Students Demonstrate Statewide For Increased Funding For Education

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Eleven UCLA students sit in a circle after in the intersection of Westwood and Wilshire boulevards as part of a protest of bank practices and rising fees at public universities before they were arrested by are arrested by Los Angeles Police Department on November 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The protest organized by ReFund California was one of several planned at universities around the state.

The University of California released its applications numbers for fall 2012 today. Maybe not the most exciting reading, but here are some interesting highlights:

Applications are up across the board from in-state, out-of-state and international students. Kate Jeffery, UC's interim director of undergraduate admissions, attributed this to a general trend across the nation of students "hedging their bets and not just applying to private institutions" any more.

In numbers:

  • UC saw a 56 percent increase in freshman applications from out-of-state and international students, which brought the applicant figures up from 21,095 to 33,001 for fall 2012. (Out-of-state applicants went from 12,759 to 19,128 and international applicants from 8,336 to 13,873.)
  • Apps from California residents were up 9.8 percent to 93,298. ("From the point of view of affordability, students affected by the economy may be considering UC instead of just a private education," Jeffery said.) Jeffery also said the increase might be because of the system's decision to drop the SAT II subject test requirement for applicants this year.
  • Overall, there was a record high of 160,939 students who applied to UC, up 13.2 percent from last year. UCLA specifically saw a 12.7 percent increase in apps, with freshmen apps specifically up by 19.1 percent.

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LAUSD budget shortfall: $543 million and thousands could be laid off

David McNew/Getty Images

A school bus drives by on Oct. 8, 2008 in Los Angeles.

John Deasy

Nick Ut/AP

John Deasy, head of the Los Angeles Unified School District


L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy painted a stark budget picture at today's first board meeting of the year — a $543 million budget shortfall for the next academic year, plus the possibility that thousands of employees could face layoffs, whole school programs could be cut, and months of school could be lost.

"Quite simply we've reached the point where there is not a single solitary thing in this budget that can and should be reduced," Deasy said. "I actually believe, at this point, that the rights of youth are completely imperiled, if not outright violated, by the continued cuts in public education in the state of California."

At Tuesday's board meeting, Deasy's presentation went from dark to depressing, as he outlined the possible scenarios the nation's second-largest district faces, depending on whether an initiative to raise taxes that the governor is trying to put on the November ballot is approved by voters.

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LAUSD examines plan to up student enrollment

An empty classroom

BES Photos/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

A typical classroom.

Superintendent John Deasy painted an ominous picture of the school district's budget for the coming year at Tuesday's LAUSD board meeting. The district is looking at a $543 million budget deficit for 2012-13. He raised the possibility of putting a parcel tax before voters on the November ballot to help raise revenue for schools. If Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed 2012 budget is approved and his initiative to temporarily increase taxes is passed by voters in November, the district would receive about $237 million in state funding, Deasy said. If not, K-12 education would be cut by $4.8 billion. Thousands of employees could face layoffs, entire programs could be cut, and months of school might be lost, Deasy told boardmembers.

The board unanimously approved a resolution (6-0, board member Bennett Kayser wasn't present) to examine expanding magnet school, dual immersion and IB program enrollment to remedy the district's declining enrollment numbers. The district also agreed look at expanding Gifted and Talented Education testing to all students, not just those whose parents or teachers ask. The resolution also asks the district to review the risks and benefits of allowing families the ability to choose multiple magnet schools (instead of just one) during the application process.

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California's community colleges change their priorities

California University Cuts

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, told lawmakers that budget cuts to the community colleges, have increased class size and made it more difficult for students to get into classes while appearing before a joint Legislative hearing at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Dec. 7, 2009.

At the California Community Colleges — the world's largest such system with 112 campuses serving about 2.6 million students — only about 54 percent of the students earn a certificate, a degree or transfer to a four-year institution.

That number drops further for students who are African-American (42 percent) or Latino (43 percent).

Here's another stat: Last year 137,000 students were flat-out turned away by the system. They couldn't even get into one course.

Well, no longer. Or that's what the system hopes.

The governing board of the Californa Community Colleges approved a set of reforms (22, to be exact) Monday that aims to streamline the path to student graduation, certification and transfers. Recommendations include prioritizing registration and fee-waivers for students who have declared these education goals.

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